Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Denizen – bring Bower BI to your network

April 18th, 2015

Microsoft recently announced the acquisition of Datazen, a startup that took the concept of business intelligence and tried to make it more user-friendly with sharp design.

“Datazen is a mobile-first company at the forefront of this wave, with enterprise customers around the globe using its technology,” writes Microsoft’s Kamal Hathi in a blog entry.

Microsoft will use it to beef up Power BI the first product Microsoft released after Satya Nadella took over as CEO, and it is one of the big examples of Nadalla’s vision to “reinvent” productivity.

The strategy is simple: Power BI is run from Microsoft’s data centers as a cloud application. Datazen is designed to be installed at a customer’s site, on their own servers or in their own data center, and to be accessed from any device, from smartphones to PCs. This way, Microsoft can offer both varieties while sacrificing neither, and all of Datazen’s current software and apps will remain available in their current form, according to a post on Datazen’s website. PowerBI and Datazen will integrate more and more tightly as time goes on.

Current Microsoft SQL Server customers can download Datazen for no additional cost right now.

From a design perspective, Datazen furthers Microsoft’s new commitment to acquiring well-designed and visually appealing applications that people enjoy using, as seen with recent app purchases Sunrise and Acompli (now renamed Outlook for iOS).

“Our ambitions went beyond a laundry list of product features; we wanted everyone to enjoy and look forward to using Datazen as a part of their daily routine.” writes Datazen CEO Miljan Braticevic in his blog entry.

Microsoft sees this as a tremendous growth area, and it quickly gaining the tools and the technology to lock this market down.

Read more:

What does 2015 hold in store for IT companies?

April 13th, 2015

Well the gloomy new is that Global IT spend is set to shrink by 1.3% in 2015: Gartner
The revised outlook is due largely to effects of the rising US dollar, it says.
Surprisingly perhaps its also predicted that Mobile software usage is about to plateau.
Meanwhile the mantra is cloud, mobility, social, predictive Big data analytics, wearable gadgets -(Apple phone) and the ‘Internet of things’.
We see a major shakeout of Dynamics Ax partners – the product has outgrown many. a broader deeper set of functionality and technologies results in more challenging projects, and the need for a different partner size and skill structure while meanwhile the cloud is changing revenue and cash flow cycles and sustainable business models.
We are happy to confirm that Synergy’s business focus and operations, is well suited to this new business paradigm and Microsoft Dynamics continues to be a year on year growing sector for us. A 100% local UAE team, and exceptional support, and mature consultants provides the platform.
If you are seeking partner for today, that consistently delivers, and will be there to support your future business growth then call us on 0097143365589.

Spartan – IE is dead long live ….

April 9th, 2015

Microsoft recently revealed that it’s officially ending Internet Explorer (IE) with the launch of Windows 10.
IE will be replaced by the streamlined new Project Spartan browser.
Many will not miss IE, and maybe sceptical that Project Spartan is anything more than IE with a new coat of paint.

However, the one thing Project Spartan really needs to capture market share has little to do with the browser itself: it just needs to be cross-platform.

Microsoft has already conceded the cross-platform war. Its recent strategy of offering OneNote, followed by the full Microsoft Office productivity suite, on iOS and Android mobile devices has been effective. Last week, it added its Office Lens app for iOS and Android to extend the ability to scan documents and whiteboards from a mobile device on rival platforms. It needs to adopt that same all-inclusive mindset with Project Spartan.

Project Spartan cannot be a Windows-only browser like IE. Microsoft needs to make Project Spartan for Mac OS X, Project Spartan for iOS, Project Spartan for Android–maybe even Project Spartan for Linux. Much of the value of a browser today lies in the ability to open a tab in the browser on your PC and pick up where you left off from your smartphone while you’re on the go.

People expect tabs, bookmarks, and even logins and passwords to be seamlessly synced.
People want a browser experience that remains consistent no matter on which device or platform they’re working.

IE once enjoyed a virtual monopoly of the browser market. Firefox and Chrome–and to a lesser extent Apple’s Safari–have eaten away at that dominance. IE still has more market share than all of those rivals combined, but its 90+% market share dwindled to just over 50%. Even that figure is debatable, because it depends on how you measure the browser market. There are metrics that suggest Chrome is more popular than IE.

Part of that is driven simply by the browser itself. Firefox and Chrome both have, dynamic ecosystems of extensions and plug-ins that enable the browser experience to be customized and to be more powerful than the off-the-shelf browser itself.

IE also has add-ons available, but they’ve never had the loyal following of Firefox and Chrome.

IE has had its share of security and performance issues. With IE, there has been a sustained campaign of negative marketing and media attention. An entire generation hates IE and refuses to use it, and they don’t even really know why. They just know that everyone says you should avoid IE.

Project Spartan can help Microsoft start fresh. It can reinvent the Microsoft browser as a more flexible and efficient browser experience. It can shed the negative stigma of the IE brand. It will all be for nothing, though, if Microsoft doesn’t also make Project Spartan available as a cross-platform browser that enables users to keep tabs and bookmarks synced and remain productive as they switch from Windows PC, to iPhone, to Android tablet.

It’s a multi-device, cross-platform world. Project Spartan needs to recognize that, or it’s DOA.

Windows Server Nano

April 9th, 2015

Microsoft’s flagship operating system operates quite differently from Linux—which looks to be be a problem as containers become the preferred way of computing in the cloud. Microsoft is reshaping Windows. Last year Microsoft announced that it would add Linux-like container technology to a future version of Windows. Now, the company has revealed that it’s also developing a super-slim version Windows Server Nano.
that will run what it describes as a new kind of container that provides an added level of security.

According to Microsoft spokesman Mike Schutz, the company is building a way of wrapping containers in its Hyper-V “virtualization” technology, so that they’re completely isolated from each other.

But the real news seems to be that Microsoft will offer a stripped-down operating system along the lines of CoreOS, a Linux operating system that’s particularly suited to running containers across a large number of computers. This kind of operating system represents the future of online services, which necessarily run on hundreds or even thousands of machines—or what industry marketers like to call the cloud.

Under new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft is revamping its technologies to suit the way the world is moving. Today’s Windows is such a large operating system that you need time to deploy it across many machines. In an age when you can so easily push Linux operating systems like CoreOS onto a vast array of computer servers, Windows is behind.

So its important that Windows Server Nano will offer containers to provides a way of encapsulating software so that developers and businesses can more efficiently move these containers from machine to machine, and also squeeze many of these onto the same machine, to take advantage of unused computing power.

The added security Microsoft provides with its “Hyper-V containers” is something that will appeal to only some organizations, such as government agencies that have extreme security requirements. Some agencies may need a way of tightly securing individual containers because they’re running alongside containers from other agencies. Regulations often require agencies to maintain complete software separation.

Many organizations now run containers atop public cloud computing services such as Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud and Microsoft Azure, and that means they end up sharing computers with each other – containers run atop virtual machines, which provide the needed security.

The Hyper-V containers don’t make much sense in this situation—a situation that represents the future. But Microsoft must also appeal to a wide range of businesses, including government agencies. It must serve a new audience without losing the old one.

Dynamics CRM 2015- Nucleus survey

April 4th, 2015

Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the most competitive software segments, .

The Value Matrix looks at the advances in usability and functionality by vendors in the three core pillars of CRM: sales, marketing, and customer service.

Significant investments in usability and incremental growth in functionality have driven positioning changes since the last Matrix. In the usability vs functionality quadrant Dynamics CRM continues to be positioned in the leadership quadrant.

The Nucleus research highlights several trends impacting decision making in the CRM space :
Partnerships and acquisitions, and further integrating acquisitions
- Continuing investments in usability
- The Internet of things (IOT). With beacons, geofencing, and other IOT technologies becoming accessible, the CRM use cases for IOT has moved beyond early adopters to real applications leveraging customer data.
- The marketing technologist. Multichannel marketing and cloud marketing applications have made an aptitude for technology an important career-building factor for marketers e.g in sectors like social listening
- The rise of apps. Early will differentiate their engagement strategies with customer-facing custom applications. The key with toolkits and frameworks that accelerate application development and product evolution
” Nucleus expects vendors wanting to maintain or improve their position in future editions of the Matrix will be
doing more to differentiate their apps approach so both internal teams and third-party developers will migrate toward their platform – and users and customers will follow. ”

“Microsoft Dynamics CRM has improved usability and functionality, and extended features also by acquisition, thus maintaining its strong position in the Matrix”. Microsoft’s focus on helping clients to deliver exceptional customer experiences, by leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft technologies with ERP and Office integration, and cloud and on-premise options continues to make it an attractive option for organizations. Microsoft is continuing to integrate the
capabilities in social listening, customer care, and marketing brought in by acquisition over the past few years.

The Microsoft technology stack is also extending and integrating across its enterprise solutions for example Power Bi, and Yammer . In January Gartner commented on current and future Lync telephony adoption and recommendations for enterprise IT planners for evaluating how to integrate Lync in initiatives. The report states, “Gartner expects Microsoft Lync, as a telephony solution, to continue its rapid adoption rate, earning Microsoft a coveted top-three position as a global telephony provider by 2016.”

Dynamics CRM 2015 on 16September 2014 , seeks to better bridge the gap between sales and marketing. New features
- a sales collaboration panel,
- a graphical e-mail editor,
- support for A/B testing,
- an interactive marketing calendar,
- support for product bundling and recommendations,
- an enhanced guided sales process,
- new mobile sales capabilities.
(Microsoft also added Italian as a sixth native language for social listening. )

Erp? What’s it all about – ask Synergy Software Systems. Dubai

February 18th, 2015

Although the term mrp was coined by Joe Orlicky back in the 1940s and ERP came along in the late 80s there are still many organizations that don’t truly understand the value of ERP.

While streamlining and automating your financial processes is a huge benefit, that is only one piece to a much larger puzzle.

Successful ERP solutions enable businesses to capture, manage and translate data into business insight from a wide range of activities.

An erp system is not just a typewriter- it makes the right data available in the right context for informed contextual decision making at all levels of the operation.

Both for key business tactical operational decisions, the Sales and Operation plan, the budgets, forecasts and strategies, the short and the long term, erp is the glue that aligns your business processes, plans delegates work, monitors and reports and notifies progress and helps to evaluate changes, threats and opportunities and to manage constraints and priorities

Erp can help create new levels of efficiency and reduce manual tasks through streamlining, and directed process automation, a and exception reporting and dashboards.. It can reduce errors with profiles, policies and templates, and provide more control with workflow processes, and analysis tools.

ERP provides a platform to re-engineer your business processes to fit with best practices, and adapt to changing technology and market demands and opportunities. Understand your real across and how you make profits-which customers and products. What if different scenarios.

Ultimately, ERP is a platform on which to design a better business. Organizations who don’t share this vision for ERP will struggle to reach a solid ROI.

ERP used to be reserved for large organizations, who could afford to take on such an expensive transformation. However, thanks to advances both in technology and infrastructure, and changes in licensing modules, and the emergence of cloud technology ERP solutions are accessible and affordable to businesses of any size through the cloud.

Organizations no longer have to invest half their earnings into hardware and IT staff, and can get up and running much quicker than ever before.

Be open to change

ERP is not about fitting your existing practices to a technology system. While that may apply in some aspects, the goal is really to improve your processes with a system that can enhance their accuracy, automate them, and integrate with your partners and suppliers.

While a budget usually can put a cap on ERP projects, don’t settle for less than what’s possible. There are many ways to utilize ERP when you understand what others have done and what is possible. Don’t buy a Ferrari and drive it in first gear and skimp on servicing and driver training. Don’t spend money on endless reports and customisations to suit every employee’s whim. Be prepared withy our report design, business processes and data – use self elearning resources, get involved early so you can do your own testing, and use consultants for where they can most add value without wasting their time.

Key factors

An ERP implementation can literally transform your business, but also carries a certain level of risk. Projects can fail to reach positive ROI if the following factors aren’t met:
◾Support from senior management
◾Planning: time, roles, scope, budget and process analysis
◾Consultation and support, both functional and technical
◾Go-live process: phased vs. big bang
◾Training, available resources, and user willingness to adopt. ◾Test! Test every aspect of the system with each of your users as much as possible before going live.

Find out why every Synergy project goes live on time to budget- in 23+ years no Synergy project has ever failed to go live and none has ever needed reimplementation.

Ask our customers. Find out why we were awarded highest customer satisfaction by Microsoft.

Synergy Software Systems at the MEA Partner Council February 2015

February 15th, 2015

Microsoft Middle East and Africa Partner Council meeting at Redmond.
Brief summary: The future is all about the Cloud, and Mobility, and Predictive Analytics, and cross platform applications, 24 x 7.

Spot our Executive Director, Jennifer Vaz representing – (hint: she is tall enough to stand at the back).

And here’s a closer look…

A rose alongside the two thorns: Tamer Elhamy, Regional Channel Sales Manager, Microsoft Gulf, and Abdul Salam Knio , Managing Partner, Information & Com Technology (ICT), Qatar.

Microsoft and Wix

February 15th, 2015

Over 57 million people worldwide choose Wix to create stunning web sites.

1. Choose a website template
2. Customize it the way you want
3. Publish online instantly offers a comprehensive web creation solution, including hundreds of designer-made templates, an intuitive drag-and-drop website editor, the ability to integrate business management applications through the Wix App Market, mobile and e-commerce capabilities, and much more.

Microsoft and Wix have partnered to bring simple website development to Office 365.
Customers will be able to select Wix as a web-hosting provider – or just use Wix to build a website to be hosted with Microsoft.

Wix fills a web development void that was created when Microsoft shut down the Public Website feature of SharePoint in December 2014. Microsoft didn’t feel the service got enough use to warrant continued investment and support. It seems there is enough demand, that Microsoft then felt it necessary to partner with a third-party to provide that service for Office 365 customers.

The Wix App Market contains a diverse array of elements to add to your website. There are apps for comments, events calendar, testimonials, social networks, live chat, maps, and more. You can however build a website for free,. Much of what Wix has to offer is ‘freemium’ – most of the tools in the Wix App Market offer both a free and a premium version. You can use the tool for free. Accessing the full power and features of the tool to make a website a business rather than just a slick looking page on the web will likely cost a few dollars and probably still require some outside help or self tuition to get these configured and functioning properly. Things like: setting up SSL encryption or building a functioning shopping cart generally take more than just a drag-and-drop.

Subscribers still using Microsoft to host a domain will be able to connect the domain to a new site built on Wix.

Power BI for Dynamics: Ax, and CRM – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

January 27th, 2015

Power BI is a cloud service that lets you share, collaborate and access your Excel reports anywhere on any device.
This toolset is regularly being updated with new features e.g.: – dashboards, new visualizations, support for popular software-as-a-service applications, a native iPad app and live “hybrid” connectivity to on-premise SQL Server Analysis Services tabular models.

Dynamics Ax provides in built cubes and Power BI for Power BI use- ( see our Dynamics Ax HR and Payroll Powwr BI demonstration.)

Power BI dashboards
Users can create personalized dashboards to monitor their most important data. A dashboard combines on-premises and cloud-born data in a single pane of glass, providing a consolidated view across the organization regardless of where the data lives.

Users can easily explore all their data using intuitive, natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. They can also explore data through detailed reports that target specific aspects of their business. Visuals from these reports can also be pinned to their dashboards for continuous monitoring. As part of this experience new visualizations have been added including combo charts, filled maps, gauges, tree maps, and funnel charts.

What is Power BI Q&A?
Use natural language queries to find answers in your own data.
With instantaneous natural language querying, Q&A interprets your question and immediately serves up the correct answer on the fly—in the form of an interactive chart or graph. And these visualizations change dynamically as you modify the question, creating a truly interactive experience with your data
Start with a question, and have fun traveling through your data refining or expanding your question, uncovering trust-worthy new information, zeroing in on details and zooming out for a broader view.
You’ll be delighted by the insights and discoveries you make.

Power BI Q&A presents your answers in the form of visualizations. As you type a question, Power BI Q&A picks the best visual to display your answer; and the visual changes dynamically as you modify the question.

The experience is truly interactive…and fast! Powered by an in-memory storage, response is almost instantaneous.

Connectivity to New Data Sources
• Exchange: Support for connecting to your Microsoft Exchange account and retrieving information about your Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks and Meeting Requests.
• Dynamics CRM Online: Power Query’s OData support to consume OData feeds from Dynamics CRM Online.

also Facebook, Salesforce, Sybase etc.

Connect live to on-premises Analysis Services models

With the new Power BI connector for SQL Server Analysis Services, customers can realize the benefits of a cloud-based BI solution without having to move their data to the cloud. Customers can now create a secure connection to an “on-premises” SQL Server Analysis Services server from Power BI in the cloud. When users view and explore dashboards and reports, Power BI will query the on-premise model using the user’s credentials.

With this hybrid solution, organizations can continue to retain, manage and secure their data on-premises, while securely enabling users to benefit from that data via Power BI.

Mobile Apps
A wave of native mobile apps for Power BI. These apps will allow users to access their Power BI dashboards and reports through immersive mobile experiences for iPad, iPhone, and Windows tablets. The first of these – the iPad app is available today and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, with other platforms following in the coming months. All Power BI mobile apps enable users to share insights and collaborate with colleagues so that they can take immediate action, from anywhere, anytime.

Power maps

Windows 10 -wow!

January 24th, 2015

Microsoft lifted the veil on its upcoming Windows 10 operating system. Microsoft: Windows 10 will be free for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users for 1 year after launch.
When the software is released later this year across desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Expect numerous changes:
- A modernized Start Menu, better multitasking with Task View, and UI improvements.
- Refreshed and more modern icons
- An Action Center provides instant access to common tasks like enabling or shutting off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other settings.
-Notifications are synced across devices, so if you dismiss something on a Windows 10 smartphone or tablet, then it won’t pop up again when you return to your PC.
- Microsoft has refreshed the appearance of settings menus everywhere with a much cleaner, easy-to-understand design.
– A new, Metro-style (and very sleek) Calendar app that’s consistent across PCs, tablets, and phones.
- Photos – weed out duplicates and “clutter” when you’re syncing photos from every device you own. Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage ismuch smarter about displaying a “simple view of all your photos.
- A new Photos app will automatically enhance and touch up photos, remove blemishes like red eye and ensure you end up with the right exposure.
- Windows 10 users can also expect new apps for: People, Maps, and Music.
- Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana provides powerful search and reminder capabilities to Windows 10. . Microsoft says “you’ll see Cortana as never before” In Windows 10, it will serve as the primary search tool for a massive audience of Windows users. Cortana ‘speaks’ with a natural, conversational flow.
- Belfiore launched into the first demonstration of Windows 10 on phones, showing off a new Messages app with Skype integration, a fully-adjustable keyboard, and other improvements.
- Microsoft has all-new, universal apps for Windows 10. First is Outlook, with the Word engine built in for comprehensive styling and extra formatting capabilities no matter from what device you’re checking email. Desktop users can also personalize Outlook with a background image of their choice
- Microsoft is working hard on a new web browser, referred to as Project Spartan. Highlighting something on a page is as simple as circling your finger around it — no Surface pen or stylus required. Using a mouse also works fine; click on any section of a website to type out a comment for sharing with co-workers or friends.
- A new Reading Mode puts articles in a layout that’s easier on your eyes
- Microsoft is also introducing a Reading List that syncs content across phones, tablets, and PCs for later. (Apple has had similar functionality in iOS and OS X for some time now- but what Apple doesn’t have in its browser is Cortana. Microsoft’s personal assistant is everywhere in Project Spartan. She’ll tell you the weather in the URL bar. Visit a restaurant’s website, and Cortana will provide a map, menu information, and contact details should you decide to head there for dinner.)

Power Bi Designer preview

January 22nd, 2015

The Power BI Designer is a new companion application for Power BI.

It is a standalone Windows Desktop application that can be downloaded from the Power BI site.

This application combines Power Query, Power Pivot Data Model and Power View into a seamless experience that will allow customers to build their Power BI elements in an offline fashion and then upload to the Power BI Service.

The Add-ins for Excel 2013 and later are still available and customers can continue to use that to model their data and build reports.

The Power BI Designer will be another option and allow customers with an older version of Office to be able to create reports.

New Ax 2012 R3 benchmarks demonstrate scalability and performance

January 22nd, 2015

New Benchmarks for Dynamics Ax with summary and detail documents for each benchmark.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Benchmark for Multiple Retail Workloads

- In 2014, Microsoft conducted a benchmark to measure the performance and scalability characteristics of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 retail solution in a simulated retail scenario.
- The benchmark showcases the ability of AX 2012 R2 to handle various specialized loads concurrently, without compromising performance and scalability on critical business processes.
- The benchmark includes many functional scenarios across different client and integration technologies, thereby providing a view of retail back-end scenarios.

The following scenarios were executed to complete the benchmark:
• Trickle feed of point of sale (POS) transactions from stores
• Posting trade agreements to stores
• Publishing product assortments to stores, including converting pre-actions to actions

End-of-day processing of POS transactions:
• Inventory reservations were made for the imported transactions.
• Imported POS transactions were consolidated and aggregated, and then transferred to statements in a peak-load situation.
• Statements were processed and transferred to sales orders, and financial updates were posted.

Please find the benchmark documents here:

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Financial Benchmark
In August 2014, Microsoft conducted a financial benchmark of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 to measure the application’s performance and scalability characteristics for core financial functionality.

Multiple different workloads were simulated:
• A set of financial transactions was run concurrently.
• A batch of 500 general ledger (GL) journals of 1,000 journal lines each was posted in a separate test.
• A set of management reporter reports and scenarios was executed.
• A year-end closing process was run in a separate test.
• A consolidation process was run in a separate test.

The benchmark was modeled for two financial periods, previous period and current period. It assumed a customer in a closing state for the previous period while entering regular business transactions in the current period.
For the closing process (for example, the summary trial balance), some transaction data was created in the previous period before the benchmark run.

The defined scenarios were run with 500 concurrent financial users who generated load on the Application Object Server (AOS) instances by using the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Benchmark SDK.

The overall benchmark result shows the capability of Microsoft Dynamics AX and Management Reporter to handle core financial scenarios with volume data while maintaining good performance measures.

Please find the benchmark documents here:

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Day in the Life Benchmark for Retail and Distribution
Microsoft conducted a 24-hour “day in the life” benchmark of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 to measure the application’s performance and scalability characteristics when running retail and distribution workloads.

The benchmark ran a variety of functional scenarios that use different client and integration technologies, thereby providing a broad view of enterprise resource planning (ERP) workload performance on AX 2012 R3.

• The initial benchmark run showcased the daytime and nighttime activities at a complex customer installation that has 2,000 stores, each with 10 point of sale (POS) devices

. The benchmark modeled :
stock movement to replenish stores,
- use of a web storefront built on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services,
acall center doing order entry,
- a mobile app that connected to Retail Server.
• The benchmark also simulated 3,000 concurrent users performing background tasks.
• Additional benchmark runs, increased the volume to 5,000 concurrent users and also increased the volume of POS transactions.

These scenarios generated load on an instance of Application Object Server (AOS). In this benchmark, some AOS instances are configured as multiple logical AOS instances in a cluster. Batch processes run simultaneously with online processes but on separate AOS instances.

AX 2012 R3 demonstrated the ability to scale up and scale out on the AOS tier, and on the database server.

AX 2012 R3 also showed the ability to handle a more complex business process flow smoothly. User experience measures were below 2 to 3 seconds for intensive posting operations, and line save operations averaged sub-second response times.

The benchmark results demonstrate the ability of AX 2012 R3 to concurrently handle more complex scenario flows with a very high volume, without compromising performance and scalability for critical business processes.

Please find the detailed documents here:

Windows 2003 end of support- ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai about special pricing for updates.

January 21st, 2015

End of support for Windows 2003 on 14th July, 2015 means no more updates, no more security patches. Don’t miss out on opportunities for success. Upgrade to Windows Server 2012/R2 today- ask us if you need help.

Save plenty with the HP ProLiant Servers and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Bundles. Valid in UAE, Saudi, Turkey, South Africa, Qatar, Kuwait, Nigeria and Kenya.

Cloud – Saas – 2015

January 12th, 2015 and Microsoft are locked in a battle to determine who will lead the cloud computing age. Corporate America is shifting from client-server computing, which began in the 1990s, to shared computing resources in the Internet cloud.

The cloud age is new but already Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have emerged as early leaders. Microsoft, dominated during the earlier PC-server computing cycle, and now aims to be a top player in cloud services. Amazon Web Services, part of e-commerce giant, is by far the leader in infrastructure-as-a-service. In IaaS, customers rent computers and data storage via the cloud

Accenture and Microsoft Corp. have expanded their long-standing alliance with the introduction of the Accenture Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure. The companies are co-funding and co-engineering this platform with new hybrid technologies and services to help enterprises to build and to manage enterprise-wide cloud infrastructure and applications.

Microsoft passed a milestone in its business overhaul for the cloud computing age. As 2015 starts, it has become the biggest seller of cloud services to business customers, vaulting past start-ups such as and outpacing IBM and Oracle. While cloud services account for less than 5 per cent of revenues, the milestone is a sign that the world’s biggest software company is finally making headway as it looks beyond the PC era. (Financial Times)

The big three – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google – have the infrastructure, range of offerings and financial clout to support highly-scalable, global public cloud services, and appear to be locked in a battle to the bottom on price that is unlikely to let up in the coming years.

A new IDC report estimates that in three years more than half of the money spent on software, servers and storage will be attributed to the cloud.

Cloud spending is projected to increase annually by 22.8 percent, nearly six times faster than the overall IT market, to reach $127 billion in 2018.

Analysis of cloud spending shows that 70 percent will be spent on SaaS, followed by infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) spending.

After what a company executive said has been a “breakthrough year” in 2014 for its cloud computing business IBM is building out its global computing network to focus on the enterprise cloud market. The company announced that it is adding cloud centers in 11 new locations. In a $1.2 billion investment, IBM has built cloud centers in Frankfurt, Mexico City and Tokyo. The other eight new locations come to IBM through a partnership with Equinix Inc., which operates data centers across the globe. This is also in part a response to laws requiring the local retention of data following revelations over U.S. government Web surveillance as well as increased corporate compliance rules.

IBM has pared down its previously lengthy cloud computing services contracts to a two-page document, replacing what the vendor described as a “complex contract that typically required long negotiations and reviews before a deal was signed.” On cloud contracts, IBM (IBM) apparently not only believes simpler is better but also that streamlining its legal agreements gives it a distinct competitive advantage over its cloud service rivals.

At an event in Boston, Oracle’s cloud head Shawn Price talked about the software giant’s 5-year journey to become a key cloud computing company. Shawn Price spent five months heading up software giant SAP’s cloud efforts until he left the company in an executive reshuffling, only to reappear in October as the lead executive for cloud computing rival Oracle. Two months later, the former CEO of SuccessFactors was a key figure at the company’s Cloud World event, giving a keynote address to promote Oracle’s aggressive efforts to expand its cloud computing capabilities, from optimizing its broad array of enterprise and data base applications for the cloud to reworking its sales teams to deal with the changing ways businesses are buying technology, and with having to sell both cloud-based and on-premises solutions.

Recently, cloud giant Amazon Web Services rebooted its EC2 following a Xen hypervisor issue and it affected many customers. “It is a fact that at the end of the day, whether you’re in a cloud, you’re in a data center or in a server cloud, that there’s hardware and there’s outages,” said Lisa Noon, client partner at Cloud Technology Partners Inc. Noon discussed the AWS reboot among other cloud news on the Cloud Computing Weekly podcast with host David Linthicum

Analysts report that private clouds will reach an 85 percent adoption rate in the coming years.

Security issues are the main factor limiting the further use of cloud computing services, research from Eurostat has found. In a survey conducted by the European Commission’s Eurostat statistics service, public cloud computing was reportedly used by 24% of large enterprises and 12% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU.

A look ahead to IT in 2015

December 20th, 2014

The Internet of Things, IoT, – a proliferation of sensors and cloud computing gives businesses access to unlimited amounts of data – he challenge in the coming year is to act on key insights, to improve customer service,to reduce time to market, to enable new innovation in product and services development, and to ultimately transform a business with new business models and revenue streams.

Rockwell Automation is a prime example of the transformative power of IoT – Rockwell is building new forms of intelligence to transform the petroleum supply chain by providing managed monitoring and support for its products across the globe. This includes cloud-based solutions that use software, sensors and devices to predict equipment failures along the vast oil and gas supply chain, track performance in real time, and help refine designs and processes to prevent failures in the future.

In 2014, big-name companies in nearly every industry fell victim to cyber-attacks, prompting FBI Director James Corney to say “There are two kinds of big companies in the United States. There are those who’ve been hacked…and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked.” A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute showed the average cost of cybercrime for U.S. retail stores more than doubled from 2013 to an annual average of $8.6 million per company in 2014, and greatly increased in the financial services, technology, and communications sector as well.

One of the big changes we’ll see is a migration to Europay MasterCard and Visa (EMV), a new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud. EMV is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. Coming in October 2015, merchants using non-EMV compliant devices that choose to accept transactions made with EMV-compliant cards assume liability for transactions that are found to be fraudulent. In 2015, we expect this compliance requirement to drive a massive move to modern card technology and modern points-of-sale devices. That translates to better security for banks, merchants and consumers. Ask us about TCPOS

Businesses will make use of big data services in the cloud and we can expect machine learning to grow exponentially across the retail, manufacturing and health care sectors driven by three factors: broader access to machine learning, massive computing power connecting systems and services, and the explosion of online data. These developments create opportunities for organizations to use machine learning for data-driven decisions. For CIOs, this means providing data liquidity: the ability to get data the firm wants into the shape it needs with minimal time, cost and risk. Many large firms have found their big data pilots shut down by compliance officers concerned about legal or regulatory violations. This is particularly an issue when creating new data combinations that include customer data.

On 21 January 2015 at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters an invitation-only sneak peak at some of the features of the company’s new Windows 10 operating system. The full release of the new OS is expected sometime in mid-2015. Microsoft has been dropping hints about what the new operating system will look and feel like. That experience will include the Cortana digital voice assistant featured on the latest Windows phones, according to a Wall Street Journal blog post.

Among the changes Windows 10 is expected to bring is a return of the Start Menu. The lack of that menu in Windows 8/8.1 alienated many users, in the enterprise environment. Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will feature an extended Start Menu with one-click access to most commonly used functions. It will also enable users to personalize the menu with their own choices of apps and Web sites.

Windows 10 will be targeted especially to business users. It will feature “enterprise-grade security, identity and information protection,” as well as “simplified management and deployment to help lower costs, including in-place upgrades from Windows 7 or 8 that are focused on making device wipe-and-reload scenarios obsolete,” according to Microsoft.

Other new features arriving with Windows 10 are: a multiple-desktop option, special features for users of two-in-one devices, a new Task view button, snap enhancements and a return to resizable windows.

There will be no Windows 9 in between 8/8.1 and 10.