Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Technology Advice Report: 2014 Business Intelligence Buying Trends

Technology Advice Report: 2014 Business Intelligence Buying Trends

Technology Advice Report: 2014 Business Intelligence Buying Trends

For nearly every business, the concept of business intelligence is nothing new. Ambitious organizations have been searching for any type of data-driven advantage for some time now – perhaps for as long as they’ve existed. However, the historical use of competitive intelligence pales in comparison to the complex and powerful technologies now sweeping the business world.

Such business intelligence software is being touted as the next must-have technology. But while BI technologies like data analytics and predictive modeling can offer extraordinary business insight, many companies are still in the early stages of adoption due to uncertainty about a number of specifics of the technology. “Data confusion” is a term that’s been used – albeit in sparingly — to describe many potential BI buyer’s comprehension of their product options; though once the buyer market matures, large gains are expected to be made in terms of adoption.

To help alleviate data confusion and provide a more focused view of what BI buyers are looking for, we analyzed data from the past six months of user submissions to our SmartAdvisor – our interactive software recommendation tool – as well as from phone conversations we’ve had with over 1,000 IT professionals in the past 12 months.

Some of our key findings:

  • 61 percent of IT professionals are in the research phase for a business intelligence system
  • The biggest concern for IT professionals with business intelligence systems is monitoring and managing them
  • A majority of potential buyers have an expected user base of anywhere from 50 to less than 10 for their BI software
  • Real time analysis is the most sought after feature in business intelligence software, followed closely by a graphical user interface
  • The most common goal for a business intelligence project was to forecast sales numbers

The Buying Market is Very Distributed

None of the industries in our SmartAdvisor made up more than 10 percent of the overall group. The highest placed industries computers and technology and advertising/media/publishing both accounted for 9 percent. That computers and technology rank highly should be no surprise, since this industry most likely features the required talent to operate advanced data analytics software.

Advertising/Media/Publishing represents a more interesting discovery as this industry is surely looking to dig into data about customer behavior and use the subsequent insights to better target their communications.

The secondary group of industries features automotive, banking/financial/accounting, and healthcare. Of these, healthcare’s high ranking deserves the most examination. While the adoption of information technology in this industry has been rapid over the last decade, implementing business intelligence technologies represents a different dimension.

It seems that healthcare is quickly reaching a point where basic infrastructure technologies like electronic medical records systems are generating enough data that the application of advanced analysis would yield promising insights. Through BI technologies, healthcare will be able to manage entire populations of patients much more effectively. So instead of relying on anecdotal recommendations or suggestions, healthcare providers will now be able to examine treatment patterns across an entire community, identifying casual relationships that may have been unnoticeable through less sophisticated measurements.

The Number of Expected Users Has a Great Range

Over 50 percent of potential buyers expect to have a user base for their BI software of 50 or less. These data could support the idea that SMBs are eager to leverage the data they’re producing to gain a competitive edge, or it could indicate that more types of users are looking to include BI software in their suite of business applications.

As visualization tools become more user friendly, business analysts and other employees with non-IT expertise are beginning to use BI solutions in their departments. This range could also represent a large market with significant variance in BI project sizes.

Forecasting is the Most Common Goal

When asked what they hoped to accomplish with business intelligence software, the majority of buyers said they wanted to forecast sales or marketing numbers. By using business intelligence to more accurately predict incoming revenue or the success of a marketing campaign, companies are hoping to make smarter choices in the present based on predictions of the future. Such predictive analytics can break down a business’s marketing numbers by region or population as well as by purchase period.

bi-buying-trends-graph

This type of information can be invaluable in a number of use cases, including gaining an accurate understanding of where the business’s finances will stand in the not too distant future.

Comparatively, analyzing social media data was the second most pursued application with 19 percent. The need to analyze social media had had a substantial impact on business intelligence technology, as analyzing this type of unstructured data requires the use of natural language processing, otherwise known as text analytics. Social media also represents a revenue neutral medium which provides a significant amount of data for businesses to analyze. Using text analytics to measure the sentiment of their customers, BI buyers could gain a new understanding of how their brand is viewed, not to mention identify new opportunities for improvement.

Real Time Analysis, Graphical User-Interface, and Data Warehousing are the Most Common Features

It was a close run race for the most requested BI feature, but real time analysis edged graphic user interface by a single percentage point. When combined with data warehousing, these three functions make up more than 60 percent of the features that BI buyers are looking for.

The focus on real-time analysis reflects the rising use of in-memory technology. By analyzing events as they happen, without the need to transform the data and load it into a data warehouse, real-time analysis can provide users actionable intelligence that they can apply to make immediate decisions. Investment banks, for instance, transmit stock information within seconds, which allows analysts to react with speed and precision to changes in the market.

A more common practice may be monitoring the behavior of website visitors. Should a visitor surf to a page where a purchase is possible, real-time analytics can inform a business user, who can then make the visitor an offer that could increase their chances of making a purchase.

Over 60 Percent of Respondents are in the Research Phase

In an additional survey of over 1,000 IT professionals, we found that 61 percent are in the research phase for a big data system. While the terms big data system and business intelligence software substantially overlap, it’s worth noting the difference.

Only 14 percent of respondents were in either the implementation or post-implementation phase. Choosing and implementing a BI tool isn’t simple, regardless of the size of the organization, so it makes sound business sense to take the added time to weigh and consider the appropriate options. Start-ups may be more willing to choose a solution faster, but even SMBs may be moving slower with this vertical due to the inherent complexity of the technology, not to mention the human capital considerations of who will oversee and operate the software.

Conclusions

Gartner has reported single digit growth in the BI vertical for 2013, but expects a significant rise in purchasing activity by 2017. With the vast majority of buyers seemingly still in the research phase regarding their next business intelligence tool, the industry holds great promise but will likely mature slowly.

By Zack Watson / TechnologyAdvice.com

Concurrent, Inc. And Elasticsearch, Inc. Team Up To Accelerate Data Application Deployment

Concurrent, Inc. And Elasticsearch, Inc. Team Up To Accelerate Data Application Deployment

Concurrent, Inc. And Elasticsearch, Inc. Team Up To Accelerate Data Application Deployment

Enterprises Can Now Use Cascading and Elasticsearch to Accelerate Time to Market for Data Products That Require Reliable and Scalable Data Processing and Powerful Search and Analytics Capabilities

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and LOS ALTOS, CA–(Marketwired – Jul 31, 2014) – Concurrent, Inc., the leader in data application infrastructure, and Elasticsearch, Inc., provider of an end-to-end real-time search and analytics stack, today announced a partnership to accelerate the time to market for Hadoop-based enterprise data applications.

Concurrent

Enterprises seeking to make the most out of their Big Data can now easily build applications with Cascading that read and write directly to Elasticsearch, a search and analytics engine that makes data available for search and analysis in a matter of seconds. Once data is in Elasticsearch, users can also take advantage of Kibana, Elasticsearch’s data visualization tool, to generate pie charts, bar graphs, scatter plots and histograms that allow them to easily explore and extract insights from their data.

This robust, ready-made integration is designed for enterprises that need to leverage the power of Elasticsearch with Cascading ETL and data processing workflows on Hadoop. Users can process their data at scale with Cascading, while benefiting from the power of Elasticsearch for near real-time, actionable search and analysis. The end result gives enterprises a robust end-to-end data application they can build quickly, which leverages Cascading for simplified and reliable data processing and Elasticsearch for powerful search and analytics capabilities.

As enterprises continue to heavily invest in the building of data-centric applications to connect business strategy to data, they need a reliable and repeatable way to consistently deliver data products to customers. With more than 175,000 downloads a month, Cascading is the enterprise development framework of choice and has become the de-facto standard for building data-centric applications. With a proven framework and support for various computation fabrics, Cascading enables enterprises to leverage existing skillsets, investments and systems to deliver on the promise of Big Data.

Download the open source extension at http://www.elasticsearch.org/overview/hadoop.

Supporting Quotes

As a Big Data developer, author, engineer and cloud architect, I’m committed to using, knowing and writing about the best technologies that benefit businesses and customers. As a user of both Elasticsearch and Cascading, I’m excited to see this partnership take place and see the great technologies that will integrate and emerge from this collaboration.

– Antonios Chalkiopoulos, author of “Programming MapReduce with Scalding”

We’re on a mission to make massive amounts of data usable for businesses everywhere, so it’s no surprise that we’re teaming up with Concurrent, a company that’s leading the way in Big Data application infrastructure for the enterprise. Now, when developers use Cascading to build Hadoop-based applications, they can easily utilize Elasticsearch to instantly query and analyze their data, allowing them to provide a fast and robust search experience, as well as gain valuable insights.”

– Shay Banon, co-founder and CTO, Elasticsearch, Inc.

We continue to set the industry standard for building data applications. Bringing the power of Elasticsearch for fast, distributed, data search and analytics together with Cascading reflects our common goal — faster time to value in the deployment of data-centric applications. This is a feature our customers have been asking for, and we expect tremendous response from the community.”

– Chris Wensel, founder and CTO, Concurrent, Inc.

Elasticsearch is on a mission to make massive amounts of data usable for businesses everywhere by delivering the world’s most advanced search and analytics engine. With a laser focus on achieving the best user experience imaginable, the Elasticsearch ELK stack — comprised of Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana — has become one of the most popular and rapidly growing open source solutions in the market. Used by thousands of enterprises in virtually every industry today, Elasticsearch, Inc. provides production support, development support and training for the full ELK stack.

Elasticsearch, Inc. was founded in 2012 by the people behind the Elasticsearch and Apache Lucene open source projects. Since its initial release, Elasticsearch has more than 10 million cumulative downloads. Elasticsearch, Inc. is backed by Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures and NEA, with headquarters in Amsterdam and Los Altos, California, and offices around the world.

About Concurrent, Inc.

Concurrent, Inc. is the leader in data application infrastructure, delivering products that help enterprises create, deploy, run and manage data applications at scale. The company’s flagship enterprise solution, Driven, was designed to accelerate the development and management of enterprise data applications. Concurrent is the team behind Cascading, the most widely deployed technology for data applications with more than 175,000 user downloads a month. Used by thousands of businesses including eBay, Etsy, The Climate Corp and Twitter, Cascading is the de facto standard in open source application infrastructure technology. Concurrent is headquartered in San Francisco and online at http://concurrentinc.com.

Latest Netskope Report: Security Nightmare For IT Departments

Latest Netskope Report: Security Nightmare For IT Departments

Latest Netskope Report: Security Nightmare For IT Departments

Netskope have today released the findings of their quarterly ‘Cloud Report’. The report, which complies the foremost trends on cloud app adoption and usage, discovered the emergence of several new trends. Chief among them was the ever-increasing number of apps that enable some kind of sharing and the security concerns which accompany them.

Sharing has traditionally been considered as something primarily done through cloud storage apps (where for every one upload there are three shares), however, the report notes that one out of every five apps in used on Netskope’s cloud app analytics platform (the ‘Netskope Active Platform’) now has sharing enabled. Additionally, forty nine of the fifty five app categories which the company track had sharing features.

The report found that top ten (non-storage) most frequently used apps for sharing were, in decreasing order, Facebook, Salesforce, Yammer, LinkedIn, Workday, Evernote, Zoho, QuickBooks, Trello and Concur. Sharing of this nature is a security nightmare for IT departments – although they are the ones who are responsible for protecting businesses against online threats, they often lack any useful insight into which apps are running in their environments, which of those apps allow sharing, and whether their data is being uploaded through those apps…

IT-Security-Report

 

The varying context and content of sharing means it can either be a very risky or very benign procedure. At the bottom end of the scale is something as simple as sharing a photograph, whereas at the more worrying end of the scale is company executives accidentally sharing confidential information, accountants giving an organisation’s financial details to media outlets or other company ‘insiders’ providing non-public data to unauthorised personnel.

Netskope CEO Sanjay Beri commented on this growth of sharing upon the release of the report, “There’s been a considerable increase in usage of apps that include sharing functionality – many of which are unsanctioned”. Adding, “this goes beyond traditional cloud storage apps; more and more, employees are sharing sensitive data through these apps and introducing new security and compliance challenges to enterprises. The good news here is that IT is increasingly aware of this phenomenon and taking steps to effectively monitor all apps being used in the network to neutralize these issues”.

Elsewhere, the report also found that enterprises are continuing to adopt cloud apps at a growing rate – the average number in use per business grew to 508 in this quarter, up from 461 last quarter. Despite the positive growth news, a more worrying fact to come to light was that a vast number of the apps in use were not enterprise ready (88.4 percent), and these apps accounted for 73.6 percent of total app usage. It’s something we looked at in detail at the start of June and it seems little has changed – in fact, both figures are up on last quarter.

Finally, it was noted that the most frequent cloud app activities that constituted policy violations were logins, downloads, edits, views and creating. Apps falling in the categories of CRM, HR, finance and storage the most regular offenders – though it was noted that what could constitute a policy violation could vary between categories.

What do you think about Netskope’s report? Let us know in the comments below.

By Daniel Price

Cloud Infographic: Cloud And Mobile Data

Cloud Infographic: Cloud And Mobile Data

Cloud Infographic: Cloud And Mobile Data

The Cloud and Mobile data are two very important topics that more and more businesses are paying closer attention to.  We have included an infographic courtesy of Vouchercloud which provides some interesting statistics and insight into mobile commerce and consumer behavior. Some of the area covered are: Cloud and Mobile data, Mobile Commerce and Mobile in Retail

Mobile-Consumer

Saving Money With The Cloud

Saving Money With The Cloud

Saving Money With The Cloud

Companies and governments save a lot of money using the cloud. Small businesses cut their costs with 3rd party services, while enterprises and governments often opt for hybrid solutions, outsourcing their storage only partially and using public cloud for a fraction of their computing requirements, for example, hosting the main website.

On the whole, governments and businesses approach the adoption of cloud computing on their own, idiosyncratic terms, which serves the point: there are considerable differences between the needs and wants of each sector.

The government

Governments adopt cloud technologies pragmatically and slowly. The principles, however, remain the same for public and private sectors alike. Cloud computing is used to cut costs and to focus on services, rather than the technology to provide them. The use of the cloud for sharing Curiosity’s photos was a notable exception. Government organizations have been pioneers in making Big Data stand up to its name, with the US Department of Defense taking bids for 4 exabytes of storage back in 2013.

Starting with email optimization, a secure cloud system for the State of California and numerous others, the last few years have indeed seen rapid growth in government adoption of cloud services. Governments are, however, slow to adopt cloud technologies due to perceived security issues, lack of standardization and limping collaboration. We might well have to wait for a few years until governments start taking bolder strides towards moving their apps and data to the cloud.

BusinessesCloud_Econ

It’s suggested–by a study covering 7 businesses with revenues from $50m to $550m–that cloud computing can save about 15% in IT costs. Small and medium-sized businesses benefit greatly from the scalability, the reduced labor expenses and the sheer quickness of deploying something new on a readily available infrastructure. The private sector is more active in adopting the cloud, but its needs are no match to those of military technology and nationwide data.

(Image Source: http://www.computereconomics.com/article.cfm?id=1932)

Businesses with apps that have huge load spikes benefit from the cloud as computing power is readily available and can be switched off at any moment. However, even businesses with a static workload benefit in some other way. When IT staff has the resources to deploy three apps instead of one, good things happen. Failure becomes less of a drag as you didn’t buy 12 state-of-the-art servers just to launch an app, and development costs decrease dramatically.

Skeptics, on the other hand, lament businesses diving into the cloud without prior research. As there are hidden costs associated with cloud computing, it might be sensible to… to do what?

Some suggest waiting for the services to become more cost-efficient. The massive price drops seen in Q2 just might propel more entrepreneurs into taking action. Others suggest waiting for extras that facilitate porting legacy software, a concern Microsoft seem to be acutely aware of, as is made evident by the amount of stuff Azure is equipped with.

This, however, stands true: as with all major decisions, it’s wise to do a metric ton of research, concentrating first and foremost on ROI, before committing to skip the cloud.

What do you think? What are the main benefits, in terms of costs or otherwise, of the cloud? How did your migration work out?

By Lauris Veips

The Litmus Test For Internet Of Things

The Litmus Test For Internet Of Things

The Litmus Test For Internet Of Things

A Swiss customer of ours recently harnessed the power of machine-to-machine communications by hooking up one of its customers – the largest Brewery in Switzerland – with intelligent beer tanks. Patrons no longer have to worry about running dry of their favorite brew, as the kegs now automatically order a refill once at the peril of running empty.

Meanwhile, I also spent some time going through Cisco System’s vision on Internet of Things (IoT). Although I may be cutting a few corners here, the gist of the matter is that by 2020 or so, pretty much everything that can be connected will be. The only limitation is our imagination.

But is it really so?

Although intelligent beer tanks do sound imaginative for a layman like me, that may not not hold true for someone who has been responsible for the associated logistics. If you were running a chain of bars, the downside of being left with empty tanks is very real. So although the solution in itself was creative for sure, the underlying problem that the technology solves is very concrete. I bet they even made a business case.

A common phenomena in the technology industry is that even if something is technically possible, there are no guarantees that the concept would ever be adopted by users. Developing new technology concepts tends to be costly, and most things we use in our daily life do not really produce that much value. With this in mind, even if you furnish something that creates only little value with a chip and hook it to the cloud, it is by no means certain there will be any meaningful utility even if imagination was at play.

Rather than winging it on imagination, I have come to realize that there is a simple litmus test for identifying the feasibility of various IoT concepts. It goes like this:

Does my IoT concept provide machine-aided anticipation?

In the beer tank example, the answer would most definitely be an unequivocal yes. The intelligent beer tank is not only capable of anticipating the risk of running empty, but autonomously saves the day by ordering a refill. Some variation of this same theme would also seem to apply to most of the 10 Cool Companies That are Monetizing Internet Of Things published in CloudTweaks on July 21 st 2014.

Posing this question to test imaginative concepts is important because it reveals how much utility the application is likely to create. Technologies that improve our lives in some concrete way are usually the ones that resonate with the buying public.

The future for IoT is certainly bright, as long we get past the ”anything is possible” hubris. Instead, we must focus on applications that produce concrete value. Where there is value, there is a way.

By Juha Holkkola

juha-holkkola

Juha Holkkola is managing director of Nixu Software Oy Ltd, the cloud application deployment company, an affiliate of Nixu. He joined Nixu in early 2000 and has since held various business and sales management positions. Before Nixu, Juha worked for Nokia Networks and financial services company Danske Bank in marketing and treasury positions.

Cloud Infographic: The Cost Of A Data Breach

Cloud Infographic: The Cost Of A Data Breach

Cloud Infographic: The Cost Of A Data Breach

Cloud security is an area that we have covered more than any other on CloudTweaks over the past several years. From Security ToolsDowntime to Privacy issues we have found a way to cover them in some capacity.  Here is an excellent cloud security related infographic produced and provided by the group at Netspoke called Cloud Multiplier Effect.

Netskope-data-breach

Atlantic.Net Launches First International Data Center In Toronto, Canada

Atlantic.Net Launches First International Data Center In Toronto, Canada

Cloud Hosting Provider Continues Expansion with a Third State-of-the-Art Facility

ORLANDO, FL – July 29, 2014 –Atlantic.Net, a high-powered SSD cloud VPS hosting solutions provider, announced today the opening of their first international data center, located in Toronto, Canada. To assist in the expansion, a second center also launched in Dallas, Texas. These state of the art data centers offer integrated colocation for telecommunication companies headquartered around the world, affording customers access to domestic, around the clock support from the United States, and now, Canada.

border-cloud

The Toronto center is fully equipped with high-speed fiber connections and upstream connections to Tier-1 bandwidth providers, making for an unadulterated first step into international territory. The center is carrier-neutral, allowing customers to receive prioritized delivery, as well as providing an exceptional network and superior upkeep to Atlantic.Net’s large roster of Canadian customers, and international users alike. The building is operated by Cogeco, a billion dollar data center operator, which allows Atlantic.Net to employ natural resources, making the international data center an energy efficient and green facility.

As these centers attest, Atlantic.Net is expanding their reach for customers who want a secure, reliable data center with a native backing. “We chose Toronto and Dallas because both locations ensure that our customers have a domestic location to provide the highest-quality support,” explained Marty Puranik, Founder, President and CEO of Atlantic.Net.

In conjunction with the international center, the Dallas center is positioned in the heart of Dallas for stateside support for the international center. It is located at the Univision Tower, 2323 Bryan Street and boasts 4500 (kW) utility power capacity with 1450 (kW) UPS power capacity and 3890 (kW) generator power capacity. There is also an N-N+1 UPS redundancy and, N+1 cooling redundancy – all operated by Digital Realty Trust, a multi-billion dollar data center operator.

Atlantic.Net will continue to focus on international expansion to better service their global consumers. Now, the company currently has three open facilities, with plans to continue expansion to hot spots of the cloud ecosystem in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific countries. 

About Atlantic.Net

Atlantic.Net is a web hosting provider specializing in offering cloud server hosting, HIPAA compliant and hybrid hosting, private virtualization, and VPS hosting in the cloud. With a range of certifications and a SSAE 16 (SOC 1) TYPE II (Formerly SAS 70) audited data center that the company owns and operates, the company is also known for its reliability, as dictated by its 100 percent uptime service-level agreement (SLA). For more information, please visit www.atlantic.net.

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