Category Archives: Cloud Computing

How To Use Big Data And Analytics To Help Consumers

How To Use Big Data And Analytics To Help Consumers

Big Data Analytics

Businesses are under increasing pressure to develop data-driven solutions. The competitive advantage gained by a successful strategy can be immense. It can create new opportunities and help businesses to react to different scenarios or sudden changes in the market. But innovation and resilience are not easily achieved, and organizations always face difficult decisions about what data to collect and how to leverage insights effectively.

Even today, companies are still unsure about how to use the data they collect, with differences between C-suite executives reflecting wider organizational divisions. But, by looking at organizations that use data and analytics to identify and help consumers successfully, a few useable insights emerge.

Think Big, Start Small

The scale and technical challenges involved in big data and analytics projects can be a problem, especially when paired with lofty expectations and the high fixed costs involved in research and development. These barriers can make it difficult for small companies to keep pace with larger ones who have bigger budgets and access to the latest technology.


One way that small and big companies alike can exploit the disruptive potential of big data analytics is by starting small, with a clear focus on a single area and application. By increasing – and demonstrating – the value of big data and analytics in one area, such as customer support and relationship management (CRM), before moving on to the other applications, you can build expertise and understanding, with the benefits filtering down to other parts of the organization bit by bit.

Invest in Talent

Lack of talent is one of the main obstacles faced by small and medium-sized businesses looking to implement big data and analytics strategies. Many struggle to find people with the high-level skills necessary to conceive and run a big data and analytics project. With technical expertise a prerequisite for success, it’s no surprise that organizations with the largest budgets tend to attract much of the best talent. Online giants like Amazon, whose recommendation engine is a standout example of the potential of big data, or new peer-to-peer companies like Uber with sophisticated data-driven models and large pots of venture capital, find it easier to innovate and stay ahead.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Smaller B2C companies need to ensure they overcome the skills shortage by adopting a variety of carefully targeted measures. Here the importance of arranging external or internal technical training for existing staff, and creating a data-driven culture in which analytics informs understanding of customer demand, should be underlined. This may mean turning to consultants or contract employees, at least in the short term, to build internal resources through the transfer of knowledge and expertise.

Overcome Security Challenges

Any commercial strategy that involves the collection and analysis of data is going to raise security concerns. The capacity to capture and analyze customer data is one thing, the technical expertise to keep this information secure is another. In an environment where any breach or loss of data can leave a business’s reputation irrevocably damaged, there is pressing need to invest in data encryption and information security, and for any security strategy to have broad support across the organization.


Trust and privacy concerns may persist, however. For these to be addressed, businesses need to adopt a raft of measures designed to establish and build trust. On the one hand, these will involve outward-looking measures to do with communication and transparency; but, on the other, these must be based on solid internal processes, including – but not confined to – the implementation of compliance mechanisms, codes of conduct and company values.

The Potential of Big Data and Analytics

Having outlined what it can take to make big data work, and suggested the challenges that must be overcome, we are left asking: ‘Is it worth it?’ A concrete example can help to illustrate the potential for big data to generate increased revenues and improved customer experience. Supply shortages, poor on-time delivery and inaccurate sales forecasts are significant problems for technology manufacturers, leading to bottlenecking and, ultimately, higher prices. By using big data and analytics to improve the sophistication and accuracy of sales forecasts, manufactures can ensure their products are consistently available and on-time, and at prices that are genuinely competitive.

By George Foot

Automation – Are We At Risk?

Automation – Are We At Risk?

Future Automation 

The automation of society is happening. Those who have read Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano know that it depicts a dystopia in which the economic system has made material abundance plentiful, but deprives the masses of meaningful labor. He shows us a future where all work is menial and unsatisfying, and where only a small number that achieves higher education is admitted to the elite and its work. This was in 1952.

mosheToday, researchers Frey and Osborne predicted in 2013 that 47% of US jobs were susceptible to automation by 2050. According to Moshe Vardi, Professor of Computer Science, Rice University, machines could take 50% of jobs in the next 30 years.

The automation revolution is occurring at revolutionary speeds, however, the impact on our society is being felt with mass unemployment and psychological aimlessness.

The automation revolution is upon us, though it will not happen without radical changes in the social conventions surrounding labor. As the machines eat up more jobs, the dystopia is real, as we fear the mass unemployment and psychological aimlessness. Our reaction will be to stall the third industrial revolution. We can look back on futurists like Vonnegut, and develop a sense of knowing of what is to come.

The Last Job on Earth

Alice shows us a dim future in which the automation revolution takes every last job we have. The dystopian society had become real, however there is no need to fear this sort of outcome. There are many solutions and outcomes that are real today, and show us a positive outlook for a bright future.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

One idea is to de-link work from wages. You can see this taking place on any business flight or Starbucks coffee shop. Everywhere you look there are men and women hunched over laptops and tablets, they are working under trees in the park, on buses, in front of the television. It’s a futuristic factory, they flip from work to emails, and nobody sets a timer. The new work strategy is to work to targets or goals, not time.

In order to properly de-link work from our wages, we would still need a standard of income. A combination of a universal basic income, paid out of taxation, and an aggressive reduction of the working day will unleash the automation revolution at jet speeds. As usual, Europe is ahead of the curve with Sweden cutting the workday to 6 hours, while Finland has already begun experimenting with a basic citizen’s income.

The ideas are similar to the ideas presented to us in Robert Heinlein’s For Us, the Living, where he depicts an automation revolution that results in an economic system known as the “Heritage Check,” which was supplanted by taxation. The shift was made possible by huge advances in technology and production capacity as machines continued to free up our time. It seems that again, science fiction has closely predicted our current state of ideas, and the automation revolution that is upon us.

Don’t Fear Automation

The news may be more unsettling that with current economic news. The fear in the headlines reads louder than the truth. According to reports millions of jobs are at high risk for automation. This isn’t just for blue-collar workers; computers are now taking over tasks performed by professional workers, raising fears of massive unemployment. As the cost of technology reduces or the price of human labor increases, the pace of job automation is likely to accelerate.


Those job areas where the tasks are manual or repetitive are more vulnerable than those that are in the creative, technical fields, or where strong interpersonal skills are required. At the same time, many new jobs are created that are directly due to automation that requires an individual to control. Technology has created far more jobs than it has destroyed and these new jobs are better paying and tend to be safer from the risk of future automation.

“As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of ‘do it yourself.’” Marshall McLuhan

By Tina Rose

How Is CISA Really Going To Affect Cybersecurity?

How Is CISA Really Going To Affect Cybersecurity?

CISA Cybersecurity

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it was only a matter of time before the U.S. government came up with a new federal law concerning cybersecurity, since the last one, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was defeated in the Senate in 2013. Last year was “the year of the breach”, which resulted in many cyber-attacks leading to the passing of a new federal law – the Cybersecurity Information and Sharing Act.

This law is said to greatly improve cybersecurity in the United States, but it actually faces a lot of opponents due to its vagueness. It is definitely going to affect cybersecurity, but in what way? Read on to find out what this bill represents and how it actually affects cybersecurity in the U.S.

What Exactly Is CISA

CISA, or the Cybersecurity Information and Sharing Act, is a U.S. federal law that is meant to improve cybersecurity in the United States by allowing technology and manufacturing companies to share information about cybersecurity threats with the U.S. government. It is a way for every company to share “cyber threat indicators” with government agencies and the Department of Homeland Security, in an attempt to fight hackers and prevent damage before it’s too late.

The collected data can be shared with any of the U.S. government agencies, including the NSA, the FBI, the CIA and many others. This bill protects companies from Freedom of Information Act requests by protecting them from any liability lawsuits for the harm done to their customers, due to the sharing of their private information, as long as they follow government guidelines.


What Do the “Cyber Threat Indicators” Include?

According to CISA, “cyber threat indicators” represent any information that is necessary for identifying threats and they include the following: the consequences of a cyber-attack, “malicious resonance”, that is, any spy software that can steal your passwords, network activity that shows security vulnerabilities, codes that can bypass your security measures, as well as “malicious cyber command and control” that can point to the source of the cyber-attack.

All of these indicators are pretty useful for fighting hackers and they show potential ways for improving cybersecurity. Another thing that this bill indicates is that companies can share any other information related to cybersecurity threats, unless it is not legal to share that information due to other laws. That is the vague and tricky part that makes everyone wonder whether this shared information will be misused.

Will CISA Leave Room for Privacy?

Apparently, the U.S. citizens can all say goodbye to privacy. That is the main reason why CISA has so many opponents, among which are some of the major technology companies, such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Wikipedia and many others. The greatest opponents include private companies that don’t engage in any nefarious activities and have literally no reason to be introspected and to provide the government with their customers’ private information.


CISA definitely leaves no room for privacy and, most importantly, it does very little to protect Americans from cyber-attacks. Instead, it greatly focuses on sharing Internet traffic and private information. Americans want real protection from hackers and cyber-attacks and all they got was a bill that threatens their privacy.

What concerns many people is the impact CISA may have internationally. The bill does not state that, of course, as it is designed only for the United States, but due to the fact that much of the world’s data flows through the U.S., American laws affect a much larger number of people than just those inside their borders. After all, the Internet is global.

That means that U.S. laws may not only apply to their citizens and that fact leaves the whole world in fear of their private information online, since CISA may give permissions for people who are not protected by U.S. laws. More importantly, this bill leaves many companies outside the U.S. very concerned about the privacy of their customers who happen to reside inside U.S. borders.

In a nutshell, the Cybersecurity Information and Sharing Act does not do much to improve cybersecurity, as it clearly should. Instead, it seems to be an effective way for the U.S. government to keep tabs on its citizens by having access to every private piece of information about them. Whether that changes eventually or not, only the future will tell.

By Pavle Dinic

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Future Realities

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Future Realities


By Chris Mirra,

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Aria Systems Raises $50 Million Investment Round

Aria Systems Raises $50 Million Investment Round

Cloud Billing Provider Attracting Strong Interest

Though the market showed some instability in the fourth quarter, investors remain bullish with regards to the continued growth of the cloud billing and recurring revenue market.

An Incyte Group report suggests that almost half of all US businesses currently have or are considering implementing recurring revenue offerings which, unlike traditional business models built around upfront fees or one-time transactions, focus on smaller, continual, subscription-based trades. This morning, top ranked cloud billing company Aria Systems announced a significant investment round in endeavors to accelerate the worldwide enterprise billing space to its expected 2020 mark of $14.8 billion.

Aria Systems Raises $50 Million Investment

Based in San Francisco, Aria Systems helps enterprises increase their recurring revenue through their cloud-based billing and monetization engine. Funding has already been secured from existing investors Bain Capital Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, InterWest Partners, and Tom DibbleVenrock, and this new, fifth, major funding round adds investors including Rembrandt Venture Partners, Madison Bay Capital Partners, and Hercules Technology Growth Capital. Additional strategic investment has been provided by VMware. Says Tom Dibble, Aria Systems President and CEO, “This new investment round validates the huge market need for strategic monetization solutions. It also attests our tremendous success helping enterprises like Atlassian, Roku, and Zipcar go beyond billing to maximize recurring revenue streams and embrace innovative business models.” With a total of $50 million in new capital raised, it’s clear that investors recognize the accelerating global enterprise adoption of recurring revenue models. New enterprise customers include Atlassian,, Falck, LogMeIn, Sungard AS and Zipcar, and global expansion deals include Audi, Experian, Netgear, Philips Healthcare and Roku.

Ranging the Verticals

Providing success across a range of verticals including entertainment, tech, automotive, telecommunications, medical, and a variety of IoT feats, Aria streamlines the recurring revenue operations process, providing cross-functional teams the opportunity to more quickly take a larger assortment of offerings to market. Says Josh Crowe, CTO of availability and managed IT services provider Sungard AS, “Aria’s monetization platform allows us to reduce our time to market for new services without requiring significant additional development. With Aria, we can quickly leverage an expanded product catalog globally to ensure our customers can select the exact plan that meets their pricing and billing needs.”

From Strength to Strength

Forrester Research names Aria a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Subscription Billing Platforms, Q4 2015, and says Andrew Dailey, Managing Director of MGI Research, “With this latest infusion backed by an impressive investment roster, Aria is poised to be the category breakout in worldwide agile billing, whose total addressable market is expected to reach $14.8 billion by 2020. Satisfaction among Aria customers is high, and the company has progressively fortified its solutions to effectively and affordably scale within global enterprises across an array of industries.”

As new funding intensifies Aria’s sales, marketing, and development, the company strives to surpass 2015 successes which include an expanded partner ecosystem, a record number of “go lives”, an annual bookings increase of 145%, and an industry-leading 97% enterprise retention rate across Global 2000 enterprise customers. Says Cara Goodwin, Director of Purchases and Subscription at global SaaS leader LogMeIn, “Aria has proven it can handle the scale we need, and its dynamic product catalog provided a great way to support a wide variety of models, from high-volume transactional products to sophisticated and customized enterprise products.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Exciting Possibilities With 3D Printing Innovation

Exciting Possibilities With 3D Printing Innovation

3D Printing Innovation

An early vision of man’s interaction with machines beyond the internet of things.

Since the dawn of time, humans have manipulated the physical world around them into tools which they use to make life easier. In today’s world, the primary tool for most people is the computer and the staggering number and variety of tasks that it can accomplish. Yet, the way we interact with this tool has remained essentially the same – via a keyboard or a mouse and, more recently, a touch screen.

Sean Follmer, an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and has been intrigued by this conundrum for a number of years. Speaking at a recent TED talk, he explains that “my belief is that we must need new types of interfaces that can capture these rich abilities that we have and that can physically adapt to us and allow us to interact in new ways.”

As the Internet of Things moves ever closer to a reality, some visionary scientists are seeing a world beyond when devices are connected and into a more fluid, adaptive spatial environment.

Follmer recently earned a PhD from MIT for his work in human-computer interaction that has given birth to an extraordinary technology called inFORM. What is inFORM? It’s an interface that can come off the computer screen and that you can manipulate physically. Whether it’s a 3D application, or digital clay which you can sculpt into a brand new shape, the elements on the surface rise up and are manipulated via actual, physical touch. “The idea is that for each individual application, the physical form can be matched to the application,” he says, “and I believe this represents a new way that we can interact with information, by making it physical.

Exciting Possibilities

New applications of this technology are being dreamed up all the time. Whether it’s in the arena of urban planning around traffic planning or spatial density, or tools for blind people, even new musical instruments, there are a wealth of possibilities that are becoming evident with inFORM.

One of the most astonishing demonstrations during Follmer’s TED Talk was the ability to render a person or an object remotely. Popular Mechanics magazine explains how “for this, the tangible media team decided to use a standard Xbox Kinect, a sensor typically used for motion-intensive gaming, to capture a person’s movement. A mounted projector also displays color.”


(Image Source: MIT/Popular Mechanics)

The ultimate effect of this is like seeing a person reach through a digital screen and manipulate objects on a table in another space. “Or you can have an object that’s linked between two places, so as I move a ball on one side, the ball moves on the other as well”, said Fowler at the TED Cern conference.

Over the next five years, many of the devices that we buy will be internet enabled and connected in ways that attempt to make our lives easier. But it is becoming easier to predict a time when devices themselves are obsolete, and the environment that we build and live in, takes on an intelligent and fluid dynamism that is likely to transform the globe in ways we are only beginning to imagine.

By Jeremy Daniel

Increase Productivity With Instant Collaboration

Increase Productivity With Instant Collaboration

Instant Collaboration

Interactive, real-time collaboration tools help both local and global organizations perform better and more efficiently, and support business development and growth. With the increased performance and productivity these solutions bring, a range of mobile and desktop applications are now available, and it’s no wonder shrewd businesses are taking advantage of these tools. Though adoption of collaboration platforms has been slow as compared to that of social tools, the IDC believes the market will hit $3.5 billion by 2019 – an annual growth rate of 19%. Industry leaders are honing their tools and platforms to maximize customer satisfaction and business expansion, so ensuring you’re getting the most from your chosen provider is a must.

Enriching Communication

The backbone of any collaboration tool, enhanced communication processes allow team members to discuss particular projects or narrow their focus to multi-member tasks.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Instant communication via chat, voice and video is a must, as well as the tools to share files and communicate project updates. The best tools provide the facilities to keep track of a range of details within a project while keeping relevant team members adequately informed of progress every step of the way.

A Functional Continuum

Treating projects as a continuum rather than a static task, collaboration platforms track all communication and organize pertinent information, providing access only to those involved. Relying only on emailing and meetings often leads to misunderstandings or delays and increases the stress level for the entire team.

A quality collaboration platform, however, ensures team members always stay in the loop while keeping the annoying interruptions away, thus providing agility and flexibility to the users and increasing productivity.

Developing Efficiency


Collaboration tools decrease the number of meetings required, freeing users up to work toward project goals instead of merely discussing them. With the constant connection and up-to-date knowledge provided, collaboration software allows for a suitable level of transparency ensuring that necessary meetings are efficient and that time isn’t wasted bringing people up to speed. Faster decision-making, time saving, and adroit teamwork promise increased productivity.


Of course, to be truly effective, the collaboration platform you choose needs to offer extensive availability and accessibility. Choosing between a web-based or desktop app comes down to the needs of the team as well as their personal comfort levels with different platforms. While web-based platforms offer mobility and instant updating, many users prefer the seamless environment of a desktop app.

With the array of business tools we’re all trying to keep track of, not to mention the social networks we have a hard time escaping from, a unified collaboration platform helps alleviate the anxiety of constantly trying to stay informed while improving focus. Better still, a user-friendly and personable collaboration tool promises a superior user experience thus ensuring motivated and effective teamwork. Take Hubgets, for example. Hubgets is a cloud service that centralizes information and facilitates collaboration between teams through secure and private chat, voice and video communication. Designed to create and sustain a collaborative work environment, Hubgets enables teams to connect in real-time and work with minimal disruption.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Robo Advisors Are Becoming A Big Hit With Wealthy Investors

Robo Advisors Are Becoming A Big Hit With Wealthy Investors

Robo Advisors Are Becoming A Big Hit 

Robo advisors are on the rise and they are winning in the investment management industry. When they made their appearance on the market, they were thought to be the thing that will most definitely steal the market from financial advisors and investors, which was true to a certain extent. It turns out that they actually benefit both traditional financial advisors and investors, and we will explore those benefits.

However, the general public awareness about robo advisors is still not that good, but it is growing at an incredible pace. It is assumed that they are going to change the world of investment and financial advising, and the way we perceive the market completely.

They have become quite a hit with wealthy investors, but are they here to stay? While the answer to this question is still unknown and it still remains to be seen what will happen with these investment platforms, so let’s look at what all the fuss is about.

What Are Robo Advisors?


Robo advisors are online platforms that use algorithms based on the modern portfolio theory to provide financial advice online and manage portfolios. They represent a brand new way of investing and they also offer asset allocation and goal setting for those who are just starting out. These automated investment services are an amazing investment tool for the market, and the greatest thing about them is their price.

They charge less than half the fees of a traditional financial advisor, which adds up to at least one per cent of the assets that are under management. Another great thing about robo advisors is that, apart from using modern technology, they also use traditional methods, such as the aforementioned modern portfolio theory, exchange traded funds, risk tolerance and many more.

Do They Really Benefit Financial Advisors and Investors?

The fact is that robo advisors don’t benefit each and every financial advisor and investor on the market. This is due to the fact that not all of them are good at their jobs. This is actually a good thing for the overall market, since only the most affluent advisors and investors will remain active and able to tackle finances with the help of robo advisors.

This is extremely important, because of the fact that customers want to speak to an actual person when they need financial advice, while they also want top-notch technology to protect their assets. That is the main reason behind the importance of robo advisors and their growing popularity.

Since only the best financial advisors and investors will remain on the market, they will be able to focus more on increasing their productivity and becoming more effective at completing all their tasks, which is definitely a great benefit for both them and the people they do business with.

The Popularity of Robo Advisors among Wealthy Investors

With their low price, more and more wealthy investors are beginning to try out robo advisors, resulting in a grand money-making business. Investors with pretty large portfolios are putting their money into the “hands” of these automated services, and the numbers just keep going up. Last year, assets in automated portfolios increased by 210 per cent, which really says a lot about the success of robo advisors.


This huge success will most certainly make traditional financial advisors want to work harder on become better and smarter, thus becoming great assets for the overall market. Likewise, banks will start using robo advisors to complement their sales and aid their employees, thus helping their customers in a much more efficient way.

The race for success is coming. The rise of robo advisors and their improvement will lead to the improvement of every financial advisor and investor out there. Traditional brokerages, for instance, are under a lot of pressure because of the cost of their services, since robo advisors charge much less.

They are going into survival mode, which will certainly result in them lowering the cost of the services they offer, that is, if they wish to stay in the money-making business. They will also most certainly have to implement robo advisors in their investment management process.

Jay Welker, the president of Wells Fargo’s private bank said: “We think of robo as serving multi-generational families”, which is absolutely true. Robo advisors show real promise and they are becoming more and more popular, not only among millennials and small investors, but also among wealthy investors. Robo advisors are the future of the world of investments, and they are becoming the next big thing on the market.

By Pavle Dinic

CloudTweaks Comics
The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks!

The Conflict Of Net Neutrality And DDoS-Attacks! So we are all cheering as the FCC last week made the right choice in upholding the principle of net neutrality! For the general public it is a given that an ISP should be allowed to charge for bandwidth and Internet access but never to block or somehow…

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

A New Era for Cyber Crime Last September, the website of a well-known security journalist was hit by a massive DDoS attack. The site’s host stated it was the largest attack of that type they had ever seen. Rather than originating at an identifiable location, the attack seemed to come from everywhere, and it seemed…

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

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Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

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The DDoS Attack That Shook The World

The DDoS Attack That Shook The World

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Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

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What You Need To Know About Choosing A Cloud Service Provider

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Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

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Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Three Reasons Cloud Adoption Can Close The Federal Government’s Tech Gap

Federal Government Cloud Adoption No one has ever accused the U.S. government of being technologically savvy. Aging software, systems and processes, internal politics, restricted budgets and a cultural resistance to change have set the federal sector years behind its private sector counterparts. Data and information security concerns have also been a major contributing factor inhibiting the…

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

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The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

Lavabit, Edward Snowden and the Legal Battle For Privacy

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Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

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Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

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