Category Archives: Consulting

IBM augments Watson with new cognitive business consulting arm

WatsonEnterprise tech giant IBM has announced the creation of IBM Cognitive Business Solutions, a consulting practice designed to help businesses get into the cognitive computing game.

IBM continues to invest heavily in its Watson cognitive computing operation, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to better deal with unstructured data. This consulting business will have access to over 2,000 consultants across a wide range of industries.

“Our work with clients across many industries shows that cognitive computing is the path to the next great set of possibilities for business,” said Bridget van Kralingen, SVP of IBM Global Business Services.

“Clients know they are collecting and analyzing more data than ever before, but 80 percent of all the available data — images, voice, literature, chemical formulas, social expressions — remains out of reach for traditional computing systems. We’re scaling expertise to close that gap and help our clients become cognitive banks, retailers, automakers, insurers or healthcare providers.”

“Before long, we will look back and wonder how we made important decisions or discovered new opportunities without systematically learning from all available data,” said Stephen Pratt, global leader, IBM Cognitive Business Solutions. “Over the next decade, this transformation will be very personal for professionals as we embrace learning algorithms to enhance our capacity. For clients, cognitive systems will provide organizations that adopt these powerful tools outperform their peers.”

Speaking at a Gartner symposium IBM CEO indicated the cognitive business is a cornerstone of IBM’s overall strategy. IBM says it has already invested over a billion dollars on Watson and intends to train another 25,000 IBM consultants and practitioners on cognitive computing before the end of this year.

Accenture enhances its Cloud Platform

Business consulting firm Accenture had released an enhanced version of its Accenture Cloud Platform, designed to improve its ability to help with the governance and control of cloud applications.

Accenture Cloud Platform exists to help companies manage their cloud service portfolio in a flexible and scalable way. It covers both public and private cloud resources and integrates with technologies such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Accenture claims the latest tweaks reduce the time to implement new cloud solutions, improve the cost efficiency and optimization of IT, and enhance the governance and control of cloud management.

“Organizations of all sizes are increasingly adopting As-a-Service operating models as they look for greater operational agility, and doing so requires the right cloud management tools,” said Jack Sepple, MD of, Cloud and Security at Accenture.

“This release of the Accenture Cloud Platform improves organizational capabilities to manage cloud sprawl, reducing the time needed to deploy cloud resources while providing a greater ability to innovate and integrate new solutions into the cloud quicker than ever.”

Accenture is being quite proactive around the cloud these days, having acquired Cloud Sherpas last month to boost its cloud consulting offering, especially for companies looking to make their initial transition. The fact that this announcement coincides with Amazon’s AWS re:Invent event is probably not a coincidence.

Capgemini recruits Microsoft Azure in cloud service expansion push

CloudCapgemini has added Microsoft to its cloud services programme as it seeks to give a broader range of cloud services to more clients. Microsoft is the first in a number of vendors that CapGemini is seeking to add to its cloud service portfolio, it said.

Under the new Capgemini Cloud Choice with Microsoft scheme it will offer cloud advice, managed platforms and ‘applied integrated innovation’ services. Initiatives include OneShare, which speeds the testing and development of Microsoft Azure systems and offers to control costs through usage monitoring and resource scheduling.

A second mooted offering is SkySight, which is described as an ‘Azure-like’ private cloud which aims to help enterprises to speed up the installation of new applications. Capemini says it will help clients get value for money on managed services and fine-tune the configuration process.

A third scheme will create industry-focused IP offerings, such as a system tailored to the specific needs of the banking sector, based on the experiences of Capgemini’s own in house banking specialists. The domain expertise will be offered in all major industries, including pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and the health sector.

The cloud offering will cover all solutions encompassed within hybrid, public, hosted and private cloud services using Azure.

As part of the offering, Capgemini will align activities with independent software vendors and start-ups to create new ways of delivering integrated solutions. New ventures and start-ups will also benefit from the offering, Capgemini says, as partners will become a focal point for integrating new innovations into the Capgemini solutions portfolio.

The expansion comes after Capgemini subsidiary Sogeti reported that it managed to cut the costs of one client, Dutch postal service PostNL, by 20 per cent by migrating its IT services onto the cloud with Microsoft Azure.

“Capgemini helped us to define our roadmap to migrate more than 40 applications and now operates its Cloud Platform for us,” said Marcel Krom, CIO at PostNL. “We have reduced costs and gained flexibility in handling volume variances.”

iomart buys cloud consultancy for SystemsUp for £12.5

iomart is buying IT consultancy SystemsUp for an estimate £12.5m

iomart is buying IT consultancy SystemsUp for an estimate £12.5m

UK cloud service provider iomart announced it has entered into a deal to acquire IT consultancy SystemsUp, which specialises in designing and delivering cloud solutions, for up to £12.5m.

The deal will see iomart pay £9m in an initial cash consideration for the London-based consultancy with a contingent consideration of up to £3.5m depending on performance.

iomart said the move would broaden its cloud computing expertise. SystemsUp designs and delivers solutions made to run on Google, AWS and Microsoft public clouds among other platforms, and specialises in the public sector cloud strategies.

“The market for cloud computing is becoming incredibly complex and the demand for public cloud services is increasing at pace,” said Angus MacSween, chief executive of iomart. “With the acquisition of SystemsUp, iomart has broadened its ability to engage at a strategic level and act as a trusted advisor on cloud strategy to organisations wanting to create the right blend of cloud services, both public and private, to fit their requirements.”

While iomart offers its own cloud services the company seems to recognise the need to build up skills in a range of other platforms; the company said SystemsUp will remain an “impartial, agnostic, expert consultancy.”

Peter Burgess, managing director of SystemsUp said: “We have already built up a significant reputation and expertise in helping organisations use public cloud to drive down IT costs and improve efficiency. As part of iomart we can leverage their award winning managed services offerings to deepen and widen our toolset to deliver a broader set of cloud services, alongside continuing to deliver the strategic advice and deployment of complex large public and private sector cloud projects.”

The move comes six months after iomart’s last acquisition, when the company announced it had bought ServerSpace, a rival cloud service provider, for £4.25m.

PwC, Rosslyn partner on cloudy big data

PwC is teaming up with Rosslyn to help bring analytics-based insights to clients

PwC is teaming up with Rosslyn to help bring analytics-based insights to clients

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) announced a partnership with Rosslyn Analytics that will see the two firms jointly develop and offer cloud-based big data services to clients.

The two companies said they plan to use Rosslyn’s suite of cloud-enabled data technologies when advising clients on supply chain risk reduction, productivity optimisation and cost reduction, with PwC bringing its deep knowledge of different verticals to the table.

“For our clients, acquiring the knowledge most important to their operations, securing that information and using it optimally are critical – now more than ever before. We are delighted to be teaming up with Rosslyn to offer our joint knowledge and capabilities to clients – giving them one place to go, maximizing experience and assets from both organizations,” said Yann Bonduelle, PwC partner and head of data analytics.

“In our most recent survey of business leaders, 75 per cent of UK CEOs say that data and data analytics are proving valuable to them, whilst 79 per cent see data mining and analysis as one of the top digital technologies. This highlights how important it is to our clients to embrace the technology available to give them greater competitive advantage,” Bonduelle added.

Charles Clark, chief executive of Rosslyn Analytics, said: “Our collaboration is about helping clients to embrace their journey in analytics, and transform their organisations to thrive and maintain relevance in a rapidly changing world. An increasing number of companies, large and small, look to our data technologies to help them reduce costs and risks, and improve their revenue and productivity across their businesses.”

Like KPMG and others in the big four, PwC has struck several deals with cloud and data services providers in a bid to add more value to its client offerings. The company most recently struck a deal with Google that has seen it work closely with its clients to tailor Google Apps for Work to their specific business processes and needs, and help them optimise their operations.

Software AG migrates cloud portfolio to AWS

Software AG plans to deploy its software portfolio on the AWS platform and offer cloud migration services to enterprises

Software AG plans to deploy its software portfolio on the AWS platform and offer cloud migration services to enterprises

Software AG is moving forward with plans to offer cloud migration services to enterprise clients in a move that will see the company deploy its cloud software portfolio onto Amazon Web Services infrastructure.

The company said it has made a “strategic decision” to deploy its entire cloud portfolio on the AWS cloud over the course of 2015, with its Alfabet Cloud and ARIS Cloud suites already running on Amazon’s cloud platform.

t also plans to offer services that help enterprises determine whether and how to move to the cloud while considering ease of access, cost, regulatory, security and business processes transformation issues involved with such a move.

“Software AG is committed to increasing customer choice and ease of use wherever possible and transformation to the cloud is a significant step in this direction, delivering increased enterprise flexibility and adaptability”, said Wolfram Jost, chief technology officer at Software AG. “Not only does this help enterprises and government departments to design and implement individual cloud strategies and architectures, it does so from the cloud, delivering cost efficiencies from the start.”

The company said its focus for 2015 will be on “delivering strategic cloud adoption consulting services,” an area where a good number of boutique consultancies have emerged over the past few years.

Terry Wise, vice president of AWS also commented on the partnership: “Today, more than ever before, leading ISVs are looking for IT solutions that allow them to move quickly, reduce costs, and better serve their customers. Software AG is a leading example of an innovative software vendor going all in on AWS to leverage our secure, robust infrastructure platform, and expanding global footprint to build highly differentiated, value-added solutions for their customers.”

What skills do you need to succeed in IT contracting?

Making the move into IT contracting is a big step. Whether it is a making an initial move into the field either as a recent graduate, a career change or as the result of a move from permanent to self-employment drawn by the promise of greater financial reward and enhanced flexibility, there are a number of important issues that must be taken into consideration. Perhaps most importantly is ensuring that one has the skills required to be successful and continue to win new work in this increasingly competitive field.

Essential skills

In the current market, it is essential for any IT contractor to be able to demonstrate Cloud skills. These are some of the skills IT contractors will be expected to have.

  • Technical skills – at the very core of any IT contractor’s skill-set should be a fundamental understanding of Cloud technology
  • Project management technical knowledge alone is not enough; contractors must be aware of how it can be applied in a practical way in order to help an organization streamline its IT resources.
  • Data analysisdata is invariably one of the biggest assets of any organization and IT professionals must be able to provide advice on how that data can be most effectively managed through the application of Cloud technology.

Ongoing professional development

Continuing personal and professional development is essential in this field, perhaps more so than any other. IT is based on technology and the pace at which it is developing is truly dramatic. It is crucial therefore for IT professionals who wish to present themselves in the most impressive way to ensure they can talk with credibility about and demonstrate a sound knowledge of the latest innovations.

A dedication to, and passion for, ongoing training and education should therefore be a priority for anyone in this field. IT professionals should be aware of the most relevant qualifications according to their specialism and be able to demonstrate a dedication to achieving them. Professional institutions and trade bodies are among the best places to start researching this area, while enlisting specialist support with regard to  IT contractor services can help free up the time required to undertake such training.

Typical roles

Some of the most common IT contracting roles are project based and involve being employed by organizations for set periods of time in order to help manage the implementation of new IT technology or the evolution of existing systems. IT contractors require the ability to quickly grasp a client’s values and priorities, as well as technical expertise.

Such roles have a number of key advantages. The most common being the potential for more competitive financial rewards and the flexibility to manage one’s time and devote attention to the projects of greatest interest. The opportunity to enjoy these benefits is within the reach of most people and IT professionals in particular whose skills lend themselves so well to working in this way.

With all this in mind, applying time and effort to ensuring the necessary skills are gained and continually honed is absolutely essential to ensuring success as an IT contractor.

Effective Software Development – Best Practices

A software development company should always be on the lookout for methods to develop software in the most effective manner. This is because as the competition grows, a software service provider could fall behind in the race, if it does not stay updated with current trends, technologies and best practices. An effective software solutions firm is curious, inquisitive and pragmatic. It should have the willingness to learn and even unlearn different process flows, required to provide high quality services for its clients. It should also be able to choose the right tools, technologies, techniques and methods.

It is recommended that a developer should put into practice – a set of proven and effective guidelines to ensure project success. When carrying out project work, the first step is adopting a comprehensive but practical approach that will maximize chances of a successful end result.

System maintenance is a significant requirement. A software system undergoes various changes once it is delivered to a client, thus your programs should be flexible enough to inculcate the necessary changes required swiftly.

One of the hallmarks of a great IT workforce is that, it should be curious, inquisitive and pragmatic. Curiosity – for learning new technologies, an eagerness to grasp efficient techniques is paramount. Inquisitive refers to investigating and questioning every insight that the team comes across, during various stages of a software development cycle. Pragmatism involves choosing the best fit technologies, tools, techniques and methods.

Every company has its own phases of development. The typical phases of developing software includes analysis of software needs, design, identification of the software required, programming, detailed specs of the exact requirements, testing and maintenance. Developers should keep in mind that this kind of development is nothing like producing cars. When a car is ready, the one who buys it does not go back to the manufacturer and ask to add another wheel or to put engine somewhere else. Building expensive projects is not the same as simple web app building with two pages. Hardware has a specification that one has to code against.

For any project done by the company, it is necessary to have in place and practice a set of proven and effective guidelines to ascertain the success of the work and delivery of expected results. The in-house manager has a vital role in making certain that each phase of the project, is executed, as planned. The project manager has the responsibility to consider the possible risks that is involved and ways to resolve or avoid them as well as establishing and maintaining momentum all throughout the project. Although the life cycle could have a lot of versions, each version carries its own advantages and disadvantages, and all of them have the same steps needed to be more effective. It undergoes a feasibility check before being given the go-ahead. If this proceeds, a proper plan is prepared, along with budget estimates for all the development stages. After the project’s feasibility is tested, system requirements are gathered. Business analysts do a complete analysis and study of business requirements of a company and the trends in the market. Starting from interface to data design, every program is discussed to keep the software in a high level design. The requirement analysis and design phase is considered the most vital part of the SDLC. Any flaw during this phase could prove very costly for further life cycle stages.

The code generation and implementation phase in software building involves the code translation of a well-thought design. Programs desired are built using a conventional programming language and with the aid of programming tools such as Interpreters, Compilers and Debuggers. The code is generated with the use of different high level programming languages that include Pascal, C++, C, Java and more. Besides the requirement analysis, testing is another important stage of SDLC that will decide the functionality and effectiveness of the product. This stage reveals errors and bugs of the system. System testing includes integrating testing to check if the interfaces between modules are in proper working condition. Software system maintenance is an unavoidable need. This development must be flexible in order to inculcate the changes needed with time and the changing business requirements.


 Software development is a highly qualitative and business critical aspect of any project that business enterprises handle. There are various stages through a development cycle that design, test and validate the effectiveness of a software application in business processes. This article is published by Tatvasoft, a leading software development firm in the UK that specializes in designing variety of software and web applications for a wide variety of clients.

SharePoint MVPs Offer Consulting in Exchange for Typhoon Haiyan Aid

On November 8, 2013, the deadliest typhoon ever recorded in history devastated the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan was stronger than hurricanes Katrina and Sandy combined. It has been estimated that at least 10,000 people have been killed.

Dux Raymond Sy, VP of Customer Strategy and Solutions, AvePoint Public Sector, has organized an initiative that allows people to trade a donation to a charity of their choice for a one hour SharePoint consulting session with one of a variety of reknown SharePoint MVPs and leading experts.

For every $99 donation, the donator can have a one hour session ($99 = 1 hour; $198 = 2 hours; etc.)

The list of participating experts and MVPs includes Dux, Benjamin Niaulin, Naomi MoneyPenny, Jason Himmelstein, Mark Kashman, and nearly 70 others. Within these one hour sessions, donators can gain mentoring, coaching, training, trouble shooting, etc.

FinancialForce, Bluewolf Partner For Apps+Consulting, the cloud applications company, and Bluewolf, the global business consulting firm “born in the cloud,” today announced a strategic global partnership. Together, Bluewolf and will help companies access and improve visibility into data that speeds bookings-to-billing cycles and enriches customer engagement.

Bluewolf and will provide cloud-based applications and services to joint customers that eliminate the borders between the front and back office, and consolidate information across disparate customer relationship management (CRM), back office and supply chain applications. This will allow companies to organize as teams around their customers, instead of internal departmental structures.

“Rather than invest in the maintenance of rigid, on-premises systems, the cloud frees us to focus on customizations and innovations that meet customer needs and create a first-mover advantage in the market,” said Jonathan Adlerstein, CIO of Plymouth Rock Energy. “Working with Bluewolf and, we have integrated our sales, customer care, marketing and billing information in the cloud, enabling employees at every level to own any customer interaction.”

Two areas of focus for the Bluewolf and partnership will be media billing and general accounting processes.

“Billing reconciliation is a problem for online media companies as most back office systems used to manage ad billing are unequipped to handle changes in orders and invoices. This can result in long billing cycles, unacceptable Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) and in some cases, lost revenues,” said Jeremy Roche, president and CEO of “’sMedia and Accounting offerings coupled with Bluewolf’s expertise in the industry will make us the go-to team for customers seeking a proven end-to-end solution.”

As partners, and Bluewolf will provide customized and scalable cloud-based billing solutions that reduce the time it takes organizations to send invoices, resulting in a faster turnaround on receivables.