Category Archives: Enterprise IT

How to turn the cloud into a competitive advantage with a scorecard approach to migration

Closeup on eyeglasses with focused and blurred landscape view.We have seen enterprise cloud evolve a lot in recent years, going from specific workloads running in the cloud to businesses looking at a cloud-first approach for many applications and processes. This rise was also reflected in the Verizon State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2016 report, which found that 84% of enterprises have seen their use of cloud increase in the past year, with 87% of these now using cloud for at least one mission-critical workload. Furthermore, 69% of businesses say that cloud has enabled them to significantly reengineer one or more business processes, giving a clear sign of the fundamental impact that cloud is having on the way we do business.

These findings give a clear sign that whilst companies will continue to leverage the cloud for niche applications, enterprises are now looking to put more business-centric applications in the cloud. This approach requires designing cloud-based applications that specifically fit each workload — taking into account geography, security, networking, service management expectations and the ability to quickly deploy the solution to meet rapidly changing business requirements. As a result, a core focus for 2016 will be the creation of individual cloud spaces that correspond to the individual needs of a given workload.

The key to cloud is collaboration

This focused alignment has led to the role of enterprise IT evolving to that of a cloud broker that must collaborate with lines of business to ensure overall success of the organisation. By using an actionable, scorecard approach for aligning cloud solutions with the needs of each workload, enterprises can make more informed assessments on how best to support applications in the cloud.

Three practical steps are as follows:

  1. Consult the Business and Assess User Requirements: IT professionals should build a relationship with their organisation’s lines of business to accurately identify critical application requirements to create the right cloud solution. Some questions to ask include:
  • What are all the barriers for successful application migration?
  • What is the importance of the application’s availability and what is the cost of downtime?
  • What regulations does the application and data need to comply with?
  • How often will IT need to upgrade the application to maintain competitive advantage?
  1. Score Applications and Build a Risk Profile: The careful assessment of technical requirements of applications can mean the difference between a successful cloud migration and a failed one. A checklist to guide IT departments away from major pitfalls is important. Such as:
  • Determine the load on the network
  • Factor in time to prepare the application
  • Carefully consider the costs of moving

In addition to assessing the technical requirements, IT professionals must evaluate the applications’ risk profile. Using data discovery tools to look at the data flow is instrumental to detecting breaches and mitigating any impact.

  1. Match Requirements to the Right Cloud Service Model: Choosing the best cloud model for enterprise IT requires a thorough comprehension of technical specifications and workload requirements. The following are key considerations to help IT directors partner with their business unit colleagues to define enterprise needs and determine the right cloud model.
  • Does the application’s risk profile allow it to run on shared infrastructure?
  • What proportion of the application and its data are currently based on your premises, and how much is based with a provider?
  • How much of the management of the cloud can you take on?

Cloud is empowering IT professionals to gain a greater role in effectively impacting business results. Working in the right cloud environment allows for operational efficiency, increased performance, stringent security measures and robust network connectivity.

What’s on the horizon for cloud?

In the coming months and years, we will see an increased focus on the fundamental technology elements that enable the Internet of Things – cloud network and security. Networking and cloud computing are at the heart of IoT, comprising half of the key ingredients that make IoT possible. (Security and infrastructure are the other two.) This is not surprising considering IoT needs reliable, flexible network connections (both wireless and wireline) to move all the collected data and information from devices back to a central processing hub, without the need for human intervention. Similarly, cloud computing provides the flexibility, scale and security to host applications and store data.

Going forward, success will not be measured by merely moving to the cloud. Success will be measured by combining favourable financials and user impact with enhanced collaboration and information sharing across a business’ entire ecosystem. Those IT departments that embrace the cloud through the creation and implementation of a comprehensive strategy — that includes strong and measurable metrics and a strong focus on managing business outcomes — will be the ones we talk about as pioneers in the years to come.

Written by Gavan Egan, Managing Director of Cloud Services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Solarwinds acquires LogicNow to form new MSP business unit

Expansion1SolarWinds has completed the acquisition of LogicNow, which it plans to merge with the N-able business unit to create SolarWinds MSP. The new company will now serve 18,000 managed service providers worldwide, managing more than five million end-points and one million mailboxes.

For LogicNow’s General Manager Alistair Forbes combining his company’s expertise with capabilities of SolarWinds was an opportunity to take the business to the next level.

“This acquisition is the culmination of a journey which we’ve been on for the last 12 years,” said Forbes. “We saw the opportunity to combine with SolarWinds and the N-able division, and really shift gears into the next phase of our business. Since N-able was acquired by SolarWinds we’ve really seen them become a much more prominent player in the market.

“If you have a look at opportunity SolarWinds gave N-able, we see this as the best way we can accelerate the growth of the LogicNow business and take it to the next level.”

What is worth noting is that the growth of LogicNow has not hit a glass ceiling, Forbes highlighted the business has grown 40% over the last twelve months, however the association with SolarWinds can open up new doors for the team. While LogicNow is in itself a respected brand in the industry, SolarWinds has made its name as a specialist for enterprise scale organizations. By leaning on the SolarWinds brand, Forbes believes opportunities will be created which would have been significantly harder by taking the organic route.

The SolarWinds MSP business will now focus on a number of areas including remote monitoring and management, security including anti-malware, multi-vendor patch management and web access control, backup and disaster recovery, data analytics and risk and vulnerability assessment, amongst other areas.

First and foremost, the new brand will focus on understanding the technology, expertise and assets which are now available, to both business units. “The immediate focus of the business will be to take the combined assets and see what we can create,” said Forbes. “There will be some areas of overlap and also a few redundancies, but nothing massive. This acquisition is all about putting two and two together to make something bigger.”

For the moment, the LogicNow and SolarWinds N-able brands will continue, though this will be phased out over time. Internally, both units are working to shift the culture from the separate businesses to the SolarWinds MSP mentality, though it is thought the restructuring and integration process will be a relatively simple one. For the most part, there is little overlap, and although certain functions will require redundancies, there are only a couple of offices which would be deemed to clash. Boulder, Colorado is one of those offices, and there will be a requirement to merge into one physical location, though the headcount reduction will be minimized overall, Forbes claims.

82% of C-suite say public cloud is the way forward

Silhouette Businessman Holding PuzzleResearch from HyTrust claims 82% of C-suite execs are to increase the number of workloads their organization hosts on public cloud, reports

The transition to a cloud-based mentality and business model has given rise to arguably one of the most influential brands in the world; AWS. That is not to say Amazon as a brand wasn’t influential before the rise of the cloud; more the concept of the cloud made Amazon a major player in the Enterprise IT world.

In April, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky delivered the quarterly earnings call which outlined the team’s belief the AWS business unit would break through the $10 billion barrier. While this number does only represent roughly 10% of the company’s annual revenues, it demonstrates the progress of the cloud industry on the whole.

But the cloud is still seen as a proposition which is mainly utilized by the technologically advanced organizations, so what’s holding it back? The first answer for most would be security, but this might not be the case.

A recent survey from HyTrust highlighted while there may still be concerns for decision makers in trusting the cloud, this is certainly not holding these organizations back from investing. 42% of C-suite executives (CEO, CFO, CIO etc.) say critical server workloads have already been virtualized in their environments; for IT systems administrators and engineers, that number is 65%.

Data and security breaches are still top of the list of concerns when considering such a move, but the survey also highlighted 74% of respondents are planning to move (new or additional) workloads to a public cloud in 2016. This statistic is also weighted more towards the boardroom, as executives would appear to be more bullish in their cloud ambitions than other levels within the business. 82% of C-suite executives who were surveyed believe they will migrate additional workloads to the public cloud in 2016, compared to 66% at director level and 73% at administrator or engineer level.

For most, the C-suite would generally be perceived as the more risk adverse individuals within the business, having been exposed to the stakeholders and media alike when something does go wrong, however the statistics may demonstrate a more general acceptance of cloud computing throughout the business. Security has always been a concern of organizations since the beginning of the cloud revolution, though it would appear decision makers are now okay with accepting 100% secure is impossible and the new objectives should be to remain as secure as possible, consistently.

In terms of the top players within the industry, there are few surprises as to what brand decision makers are leaning towards during 2016. The only difference from many previous reports is the inclusion of VMware vCloud Air, which made an appearance in second accounting for 24% of the respondents, pushing Google Cloud out of the top three. Microsoft Azure was top of the list representing 32% of the vote, whereas the widely recognized market leader AWS sits in third, bringing in 22%.

Salesforce ventures into e-Commerce with $2.8bn acquisition

Salesforce 1Salesforce has taken another step towards the e-Commerce market after announcing it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Demandware for $2.8 billion.

Demandware provides a cloud-based e-commerce platform and related services for retailers and brands worldwide, going public during 2012 after raising $88 million in its initial public offering of $16 a share. Salesforce has announced it will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Demandware for $75 per share, with the deal set to complete by July 31, 2016, the end of Salesforce’s second quarter.

As with the Marketing Cloud proposition, Salesforce is seemingly happy to pay healthily above share value to break into new markets when it cannot develop the capabilities organically. The company acquired ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in 2013, this was previously Salesforce’s largest acquisition, which built the foundation of the Marketing Cloud proposition.

“Demandware is an amazing company—the global cloud leader in the multi-billion dollar digital commerce market,” said Marc Benioff, CEO at Salesforce. “With Demandware, Salesforce will be well positioned to deliver the future of commerce as part of our Customer Success Platform and create yet another billion dollar cloud.”

The idea of ‘omnichannel’ business would generally not be considered new to the industry, though this is one of the first major steps Salesforce has made in diversifying its core business offering. The company is widely recognised as a leader in the CRM space, though the Demandware acquisition offers a number of upselling opportunities for its current customer base (those who are using Marketing Cloud and its CRM offering), who may well favour having their CRM and e-Commerce platform from the same vendor.

Demandware currently works with a number of brands around the world including Design Within Reach, Lands’ End, L’Oreal and Marks & Spencer, to deliver customized experiences for customers across web, mobile, social and in the store. The acquisition is expected to increase Salesforce’s revenues by approximately $100 million to $120 million through the remainder of the financial year.

Microsoft launches VC to drive inorganic growth

Microsoft To Layoff 18,000Microsoft has announced the launch of Microsoft Ventures, a new capitalist venture arm to engage start-ups and entrepreneurs in areas which the business does not currently operate.

Speaking on the official Microsoft blog, Nagraj Kashyap Corporate VP for the ventures business, highlighted the launch was in line with objectives to identify start-ups which can inspire the next technology evolution, as opposed to supporting the current portfolio and business objectives.

“In Microsoft’s history of engaging with and supporting start-ups, we’ve done a lot of investing, but not a lot of early stage,” said Kashyap. “Because we would often invest alongside commercial deals, we were not a part of the early industry conversations on disruptive technology trends. With a formalized venture fund, Microsoft now has a seat at the table.”

Technology acquisition has become an intense game in recent months, as a host of tech giants have built new business units to identify potential acquisitions. While this might not be considered an unusual business activity, the trends of innovation through acquisition as opposed to organic growth have seemingly becoming more prominent. Earlier this month, HP announced the launch of its own VC business unit, which could be perceived as a means for the business to diversify its portfolio, entering new markets. These new markets could lead to direct competition with HPE.

Microsoft has a history of creating initiatives to aide and invest in start-ups, having launched the Microsoft Accelerator program, which provides tools, technology and consulting, though this unit will aim to sit between the Accelerator and the function which oversees major acquisitions. Initially the team will have a presence in San Francisco New York City and Tel Aviv, and will also look to expand to additional countries in the future.

“Given that the move to the cloud remains the single largest priority for the industry, identifying the bleeding-edge companies who complement and leverage the transition to the cloud is key to our investment thesis,” said Kashyap.

“Companies developing product and services that complement Azure infrastructure, building new business SaaS applications, promoting more personal computing by enriching the Windows and HoloLens ecosystems, new disruptive enterprise, consumer productivity, and communication products around Office 365 are interesting areas from an investment perspective.”

Aside from technologies which can aide the company’s core capabilities, the team will also be responsible for investigating disruptions in more horizontal axis. Security and machine learning were two areas which were identified by Kashyap on the blog. “Our view is outward into the market — we focus on the inorganic growth of Microsoft, looking at where we can provide a step function, versus incremental progress.”

Netsuite localizes services in Asian markets

The globe close up, Asia pastNetsuite has continued efforts to localize services worldwide, announcing a number of new partnerships at CXO Summit in Singapore, as well as new product launches.

The company launched NetSuite OneWorld for companies based in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as multinationals specifically doing business across Asia. The NetSuite OneWorld solution provides companies with multi-subsidiary management and global financial capabilities to run business operations in the region in a two tier model. Netsuite suite can be implemented in the cloud at subsidiary level, while maintaining legacy, on-premise systems at the company’s headquarters. The offering is also localised to meet the business, regulatory and tax compliance needs of regional businesses.

“Our long history in Southeast Asia and the dynamic business environment that has emerged in recent years, make expansion in the region a strategic imperative in NetSuite’s next phase of international growth,” said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson. “Our announcements today demonstrate the success we’ve seen already and our deep level of commitment moving forward.”

Having launched its presence in Singapore in 2005, the company has made healthy gains in recent years, boasting a client list of 212 enterprises and subsidiaries in the city state alone. The new partnerships and product offerings appear to demonstrate Netsuite’s intentions in the region. Netsuite recently reported healthy growth over the course of the last 12 months, Q1 revenues were reported at $216.6 million, up 31% year-over-year, and since that point, Nelson has seemingly indicated the Asia market as a priority.

According to the South China Morning Post, Netsuite will be aiming to establish a number of data centres in the region, with Hong Kong and Singapore noted as possible locations. Netsuite’s tendency in entering new regions has been to open up multiple locations as a fail-safe, which could be seen during the company’s expansion in Europe last year. The company opened data centres in Dublin and Amsterdam within a short period of time during the expansion efforts.

While Hong Kong and Singapore represent healthy opportunities for the company to drive revenues, Netsuite has outlined China as a long-term target, with a Hong Kong platform offering a solid gateway due to its trade and political ties. “Businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore are already reaping the rewards of open trade and global expansion,” said Zakir Ahmed, GM of NetSuite Asia. “NetSuite OneWorld is giving these businesses the flexibility and agility to fully capitalise on the current cycle of growth.”

In terms of local partnerships, the announcement detailed new collaborations with 3PL Total Technology, a cloud warehouse management solutions company,, CuriousRubik, a previous Netsuite partner, and Doji Media, a company which helps local customers expand their remit to international markets.

DT keeps data out of US reach with new mobility platform

UnternehmerinA Deutsche Telekom subsidiary has announced a new cloud-based Enterprise Mobility Management offering called Hosted MDM Basic, which has been built on MobileIron’s Cloud platform.

The offering will be hosted in Deutsche Telekom data centres located in Germany, using MobileIron’s platform, will create a Data Trustee proposition, which complies with German data protection rules, generally considered to be the strictest throughout the EU. The Data Trustee model was coined during the Microsoft’s dispute with the US government over access of data held by the company in its Dublin data centre.

Deutsche Telekom acted as a ‘trustee’ of the data, meaning employees could not access the data without consent from the Telco. The arrangement aims to put the data of Microsoft’s European customers outside the reach of the US government and its intelligence agencies.

The on-going discussion surrounding data transmission, access and residency has been a challenging area, following the European Court of Justice’s decision to dismiss the Safe Harbour agreement. The subsequent proposition, US-EU Privacy Shield, has also been dismissed by a number of individuals throughout the EU, as it apparently still does not offer the required levels of security and assurance. The Data Trustee model is seemingly a means for companies taking data protection into their own hands, as they do not appear to be willing to wait for assurances from the US.

“Mobile technology gives us the ability to get data and act on it more quickly so organizations that are serious about using mobile technologies can dramatically increase their velocity,” said Barry Mainz, CEO at MobileIron. “Our integration with Telekom Deutschland combines MobileIron’s industry-leading mobile security platform with Telekom Deutschland’s data trustee capabilities.”

The company claims the offering provides simplified security and control of Android, iOS and Windows devices, but also manages mobile apps, content, and devices, automatically enforce policies, and retire mobile devices when they are lost or when an employee leaves the company.

Santander implements Blockchain in international payments app

Santander Apple PaySantander has claimed it is now the first UK bank to use Blockchain technologies transfer live international payments between £10 and £10,000 24 hours a day.

The implementation is currently being rolled out as a staff pilot, though the team have not announced when it will be available for customers to use. Blockchain technologies are beginning to gain more traction in the cloud world, as it can enable faster and more accurate transfer of data and value.

“The need for finance has evolved from providing a physical Pound in your pocket or card in your purse, where you pay at a till, to being seamlessly integrated into a new, always on, connected lifestyle,” said Sigga Sigurdardottir, Head of Customer and Innovation at Santander.

“At Santander we work hard to ensure our banking is simple, personal and fair and believe new Blockchain technology will play a transformational role in the way we achieve our goals and better serve our customers, adding value by creating more choice and convenience.”

The new app connects to Apple Pay, where users can confirm payments using Touch ID. The Blockchain technology underpinning the app is provided by Ripple, which has been the recipient of investment through Santander Innoventures, the company’s global corporate venture capital fund, focused on early stage FinTech investments.

“As an early adopter and pioneer in the banking industry, Santander is the first bank in the world to transfer real funds externally. In doing so, they are creating a new, exemplary standard of service,” said Chris Larsen, CEO at Ripple.

Dell targets SMBs in China with launch of new company

Location China. Green pin on the map.Dell has prioritized growing its presence within the Chinese market targeting SMBs and public sector organizations, according to China Daily.

Speaking at the China Big Data Industry Summit in Guiyang, Dell CEO Michael Dell announced the launch of a new company, alongside its local partner, to gain traction within the lucrative market. Guizhou YottaCloud Technology will now act as a means for Dell to access the local market, prioritizing small and medium-sized enterprises and local governments in the first instance.

“China will play an increasingly important role in the big data era and the United States-based tech giant will speed up efforts to develop new products for the market,” said Dell at the conference.

Dell is one of a number of organizations who have prioritized local partnerships in the Chinese market, as locals tend to favour Chinese businesses and technologies over foreign counterparts, quoting security as the main driver. The country itself is a big draw for Dell as a business, representing its second largest market worldwide, only behind the US. The company also highlighted in September it plans to invest $125 billion in the Chinese market over the next five years, with cloud computing being the focal point.

Last year Dell launched it’s ‘In China for China’ strategy, which not only included the above investments, but also a drive from its Venture Capital arm in China to encourage entrepreneurialism, expanding its R&D function in the country, as well as establishing an artificial intelligence and advanced computing joint-lab, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The AI research will focus on the areas of cognitive function simulation, deep learning and brain computer simulation.

“The Internet is the new engine for China’s future economic growth and has unlimited potential,” said Dell in September. “Being an innovative and efficient technology company, Dell will embrace the principle of ‘In China, for China’ and closely integrate Dell China strategies with national policies in order to support Chinese technological innovation, economic development and industrial transformation.”

Citrix and Microsoft team up to tackle enterprise mobility

Silhouette Businessman Holding PuzzleCitrix has expanded its partnership with Microsoft as the team aim to capitalize on flexible working and enterprise mobility trends.

Speaking at Citrix Synergy in Las Vegas, CEO Kirill Tatarinov outlined objectives to meet the needs of the modern workforce with application and desktop virtualisation in the cloud, network delivery and enterprise mobility management. Citrix has selected Azure as the preferred and strategic cloud for its future roadmap and the team will work to develop new integrations between Citrix XenMobile, NetScaler and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, to improve efficiency and data security.

“Companies of all sizes across all industries around the world have an amazing opportunity to embrace digital transformation and empower their people to work productively from anywhere at any time,” said Kirill Tatarinov, CEO of Citrix. “Our customers are asking Citrix and Microsoft to work closer together to help them fully leverage innovations like Windows 10, Office 365 and Azure. This enhanced partnership ensures we can be more agile in responding to our customers’ needs and help them accelerate the move to digital business.”

As part of the partnership, the team will aim to accelerate the deployment of Windows 10 Enterprise within their customer’s organisations. Citrix customers can use AppDNA to aid migration to Windows10 by providing application lifecycle management tools to discover and resolve application compatibility issues, the team claims.

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Citrix NetScaler will integrate with EMS to provide virtual private network capabilities for more secure, identity-based access to on-premises applications on Microsoft Intune-managed devices. Citrix will also offer customers who have purchased Windows Software Assurance on a per-user basis the option to host their Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business images on Azure through its XenDesktop VDI solution, which the team claim is a first in the industry.

“Our relationship with Citrix has always been founded on the commitment to making our mutual customers successful by empowering their people to be more productive,” said Scott Guthrie, EVP of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft. “By selecting Azure as its preferred and strategic cloud, Citrix is helping companies mobilise their workforces to succeed in today’s highly competitive, disruptive and global business environment.”