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Cisco, Dell, and the Race to Make a Better World
June 18, 2018
To say we live in troubled times would be an understatement. It often feels like the politicians and executives who surround us are interested only in who can tell the biggest whopper while lining their own pockets and leaving their constituents and customers to pay the bills. I recently read that the real reason Jon Stewart stepped down from The Daily Show was that he was incredibly angry all the time.
Zuora at a Crossroads
June 18, 2018
Zuora's recent Subscribed user conference was a good first outing since the company's IPO, coming off some impressive first-quarter results. Year-over-year subscription revenues grew 39 percent and total revenue grew an amazing 60 percent, for example. As good as its present situation is, now that Zuora is a public company, it has to push down the gas pedal to feed the insatiable stock market.
Digitization of Paper-Based Processes
June 13, 2018
Decades after computers were supposed to end paper-based business, we're still at it, using documents to send and receive information and act as proxies in business processes. It's hard to say if paper consumption slowed thanks to digitization, because good historical use statistics are hard to find. However, it doesn't really matter, because business is drowning in paper -- and, more importantly, the expenses associated with it.
Nvidia May Be Lone Rider on Next Big Technology Wave: Robotics
June 11, 2018
Dell's most forward-looking people spoke about the future at Dell World a few weeks ago. One of the sessions I attended dovetailed with something that appears to be glaringly obvious -- to me, anyway -- which is that is that robots likely will be the next big technology wave. I then wandered around to find out what Dell was doing in robotics, and I couldn't find anything. Dell is not alone.
Reshaping the Software and Services Marketplace
June 11, 2018
In the old IT world, systems integration and consulting companies flourished, helping enterprises of all sizes across nearly every industry pull together a plethora of proprietary systems from a wide array of software and technology vendors. Despite the promises of the cloud, not much has changed. Yet, there are several important differences in today's IT services requirements that set them apart.
The CLOUD Act's Dramatic Impact on International Privacy Laws
June 7, 2018
Just when the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, was about to go into effect, the United States Congress created the CLOUD Act. Without any public hearings, review or public comment, Congress passed the legislation as part of the $1.3 trillion government spending bill. The CLOUD Act changed the privacy provisions that previously were in effect.
SAP Discovers CRM
June 6, 2018
SAP has unveiled a new attempt to consolidate a group of about a dozen front office apps into a fully integrated CRM suite -- next year. How do you say "lipstick on a pig" in a non-derogatory way? Look, CRM is over 20 years old now. For most of the early days, the vendors scrambled to integrate their apps into a coherent whole, supporting multiple customer-facing processes.
Avoiding Career Death by Twitter
June 4, 2018
The most popular show on ABC was canceled last week because the star of the show, Roseanne Barr -- known for saying and writing stuff that would get most of us fired -- did exactly what she was known for doing and got fired. ABC now looks like it is run by idiots because, really, who didn't see this coming? This outcome is one that could have been prevented relatively easily.
Oracle's Security Jag
June 2, 2018
Oracle has been on a security campaign ever since Larry Ellison openly began discussing the new "autonomous database" -- so called because it can manage itself, including self-patching and upgrading, without human effort. The hands-off database can eliminate human labor to keep it tuned and running, according to Oracle, greatly reducing the time between availability and implementation.
Qualcomm and Huawei: More Partners Than Rivals
May 31, 2018
Because both Qualcomm and Huawei are technology leaders in the wireless segment and have invested heavily in 5G, they often are pitted against one another in political, financial and industry discussions. However, the truth is that the two companies complement one another and work together more than they compete against each another, since they come from different ends of the wireless ecosystem.
Realistic 'Zero Trust' for Your Cybersecurity Program
May 29, 2018
If you're a cybersecurity practitioner, chances are good that you've heard the term "zero trust" over the past few months. If you attend trade shows, keep current with the trade media headlines, or network with peers and other security pros, you've probably at least heard the term. Depending on whom you're talking to, you'll get a different answer about what it is and why it might be useful.
HP: Reimagining the Future
May 28, 2018
I got a view of the future at HP's Innovation Center in Barcelona. The company has made some aggressive moves to blend its printing and imaging technologies to create products that will redefine our near-term future. HP also showcased capabilities that are something just short of magic. When you can transform what you can imagine into physical products, what else would you call it?
Rhino-Saving Tech Also Could Protect Kids and Borders
May 21, 2018
Cisco has reduced the poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa by a whopping 96 percent. This success comes at a time when kids appear to be increasingly at risk from rogue school shooters and the United States government seems deadlocked on gun control. The focus of Cisco's tech is on catching the poachers who kill around 1,000 endangered rhinos a year, rather than on taking away their guns.
Middle Office or No-Man's Land?
May 20, 2018
It was once common knowledge that Apttus was the next big acquisition target on Salesforce's radar, until Salesforce decided to acquire another CPQ vendor to augment its Sales Cloud. In the two-ish years since, Apttus has nicely pivoted, diversifying its partner base and justifying its existence with a new strategy and nomenclature around what it calls the "middle office."
Tech Career Checklist: Aggressive Diversity, Cold Cash
May 14, 2018
I've become convinced that too many of us don't prioritize our employment choices properly. What recently drew my attention to this was a conversation I had with Dell's CFO Tom Sweet at Dell Technology World. We were chatting about Dell's problem attracting employees. Because Dell is a private company, few employees get stock or stock options -- they get cash instead. It seems that has put Dell at a disadvantage when competing for top folks.
Oracle's Drive to Automate
May 13, 2018
Oracle -- or could we say "Autoracle"? -- has introduced more autonomous products, generally in keeping with what I see as a build-out of an information utility. The products include Autonomous Analytics, Autonomous Integrations, Autonomous Builder code generation and free premium service. The autonomous products broadly leverage a variety of analytics and machine learning tools.
AI May Be Secret Weapon to Retain Sales Talent
May 9, 2018
Much of the discussion around sales and artificial intelligence has been outwardly focused. It's exciting to think about using AI to examine leads, sift through data, and help deliver answers that allow salespeople to close more and bigger deals. However, the excitement over using AI to organize customer information overshadows another use of AI that could be equally lucrative.
Solving Tech's Diversity Problem
May 7, 2018
I recently attended Dell Technology World, which shone a light on one of Michael Dell's passions: addressing the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Some time back he asked the most powerful woman at Dell, CCO Karen Quintos, to spearhead an effort to fix the problem. One of the leading experts on the problem, Howard Ross of Cook Ross, indicated it was getting worse -- not better.
Platform Logic
May 1, 2018
For some time, it has been my impression that in the CRM market, all -- or at least most -- of the good ideas have been taken. It's been a long time since we've seen a new systemic approach to front-office business. It's even been a long time since we've seen a major innovation at the department level. CRM itself was a systemic innovation in the last decade of the last century.
Insurance and the Consumer IoT
April 30, 2018
Smart home and consumer IoT solutions promise significant opportunities for the insurance industry in terms of reducing costs, alleviating risks, deepening customer engagement, and creating new services and revenue streams. There are many barriers ahead to overcome, but given the tremendous upside, insurance companies have begun attacking these challenges with a multi-tiered strategy.
Could BlackBerry Displace Apple?
April 30, 2018
I spent a day with BlackBerry last week and it brought back memories of how Apple displaced the company around a decade ago. I, like a lot of folks, thought what Apple was attempting was impossible. However, after the fact, it didn't even look difficult. BlackBerry largely has completed its pivot to software and services, but a wave of new phones from its partners suggests new possibilities.
The Scaling Challenge
April 26, 2018
There is a meme making the rounds and I have no idea how old it is or its origins but I've heard it twice in the last week. It's easier to start a company than it is to scale one. You can't say it's a revolutionary thought, but for the last 20 years the emphasis has been decidedly on founding, so this is something of a departure. Startups don't grow to the moon on average.
Fighting Fake News and Forging Real Diplomacy
April 23, 2018
Two new initiatives -- a concerted effort by Apple and a massive educational effort called the "Pro-Truth Pledge" -- could help eliminate much of the fake news BS that is really messing up the U.S. at the moment. On another front, President Donald Trump's plan to meet with Kim Jong-un reminds me of a pivotal meeting between former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and then Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Closing the Enterprise Security Skills Gap
April 18, 2018
The security skills gap has become a topic of acute interest among practitioners responsible for building security teams for their organizations -- and keeping them running smoothly. It impacts everything from how they staff, how they cultivate and develop their workforces, and how they train, to the operational controls they put in place, and potentially numerous other things.
Zuora Takes It to the Big House
April 17, 2018
After nearly a decade of company building, Zuora last week went public, valuing itself on the open market at roughly US$2 billion after gaining 43 percent on its first day of trading. Those outlines don't reveal the importance of Zuora generally, and subscription billing systems in particular, to the rapid evolution of the subscription economy and CRM.
Swedish Sounds, Cool Phones, and Smart Switches
April 17, 2018
Not quite content with furnishing every other aspect of our homes, IKEA has continued its push into smart home territory with its first Bluetooth speaker. The Eneby comes in two sizes: 8 x 8 and 12 x 12 inches. You can use it as a portable speaker with up to 10 hours of battery life with the optional $20 battery, and there's a handle for added portability.
Facebook and Google Could Be Nationalized in 5-10 Years
April 16, 2018
After I considered Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Senate and House committee hearings last week, it became very clear to me -- and I expect many in Congress -- that social media companies need to be regulated. However, I think this is only a step in the path that governments -- and I do mean more than the U.S. -- will take to ensure their effectiveness and protect their people.
What Should We Expect From AI?
April 12, 2018
Fear mongering about killer robots and the recent deaths connected with Uber and Tesla autonomous vehicles have rekindled concerns about AI in the machines around us. We are well beyond answering Alan Turing's question, "can machines think?" There is now good reason to ask how we should think of AI, and what we should expect from it. There have been phenomenal advances in just the past few years.
Beyond CRM
April 10, 2018
We should start discussing what's beyond CRM. I chose the word "beyond" advisedly. CRM is far from dead or even in decline, so "after" would be incorrect. However, CRM already has changed so much that it may be time to rethink it. Also, many of the tangential technologies that have turbocharged CRM in the last few years, like social media, have drawn so much attention that some analysis is due.
Turning Social Media From a Problem Into a Solution
April 9, 2018
The shooting incident that took place last week at YouTube had less to do with guns than with the failure of the police to act on information in a timely way and the inability of social media to be anything but part of the problem. Google has been giving this issue little more than lip service, but I expect it has become motivated to do more, given that YouTube was the latest target.
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