Category Archives: Technology

Cloud is Killing Your BYOD Rollout, But Why?

Cloud is Killing Your BYOD Rollout, But Why?

The BYOD Rollout

CIOs are stuck between a rock and a hard place as demand for cloud applications and flexible mobile device programs have become the norm for most organizations. How do regulated industries such as finance and healthcare navigate these dangerous waters? Cloud and mobile are inseparable trends – cloud apps are built to enable access from any device and most have a mobile application component. With the traditional approach to BYOD security (mobile device management and mobile access management) IT can’t control data flows or wrap cloud apps on unmanaged devices.


IT no longer owns or manages the apps, the devices, or the underlying network infrastructures, yet is still responsible for securing sensitive corporate data. A new approach is needed, a data-centric approach to security built for this new way of doing business. Data-centric security enables enterprises to adopt the cloud apps that their business needs, securing corporate data anywhere it goes—from cloud to device. This article will discuss some of the challenges organizations face in securing BYOD and the cloud and the importance of data-centric security for controlling data flow to the device.

MDM is not working due to privacy concerns

According to a cloud-based analysis of real-world traffic data from 113,000 organizations and more than 20 industry verticals, cloud application adoption across all industries increased more than 71 percent in 2015. Cloud adoption in regulated industries experienced stronger-than-anticipated growth, up from 15 percent in 2014 to 39 percent in 2015.

Based on two surveys examining 2,242 end users and mobile security administrators, a little more than a third (36 percent) of enterprises use MDM solutions. Only nine percent have deployed MAM. For some, the solution has been to gamble with their security. 28 percent of organizations are doing nothing to protect corporate data on mobile devices. 57 percent of employees, and 38 percent of IT professionals are choosing not to participate in their company’s BYOD program because they don’t want their employer’s IT department to have visibility into their personal data and applications.

How a data centric approach provides security as data travels from cloud to device

Data centric BYOD security solutions work entirely in the cloud – with no agents or software installed on the end-user’s device. By proxying traffic between BYOD devices and corporate apps, these solutions are able to embed security into the data itself, eliminating device and operating system dependencies and alleviating employee privacy concerns.

CloudTweaks Comic #100

In a cloud app context, these solutions apply controls in three main areas:

  • At Access—Data centric BYOD solutions allows you to quickly define group and location-based access control and data leakage prevention policies, putting you in control of who, what, where, and when employees access cloud apps from any device. For example, you might want to provide full access to Office 365 from corporate-owned devices, but email only (no OneDrive file sync) from employee-owned devices.
  • On the Device— Secure mobile data without installing MDM software on mobile devices or tracking employees’ personal information. These agentless solutions enforce security policies like PIN code and encryption, and if a device is lost or stolen or an employee leaves the company, you can selectively wipe corporate data. Unlike MDM/MAM, data-centric mobile security has no OS dependencies and works across cloud apps, such as Office 365 and on-premises apps like Exchange.
  • In the Cloud— Many employees will share corporate files to their personal accounts in order to access data from personal devices. Data-centric solutions provide visibility and control over external sharing to control this unexpected form of BYOD access.

What data centric means for regulated industries

Data-centric security allows regulated industries to adopt BYOD and the public cloud without running afoul of compliance mandates. It provides policy-based controls for risky activities like external sharing and BYOD download and sync, ensuring that regulated data doesn’t unnecessarily make its way outside the company. Detailed transaction logging possible with data centric solutions provide detailed visibility and audit trails across all cloud applications, so that audits and investigations are a breeze.

Moreover, independent professionals, such as healthcare workers with multiple hospital affiliations are able to participate in BYOD, even if they don’t want IT to manage their device. Data on lost and stolen mobile devices is protected via OS-level encryption, PIN requirements and remote wipe capabilities.


Organizations are rapidly migrating to cloud applications and must securely enable BYOD access to these apps. Traditional BYOD security methods (MDM/MAM) haven’t been able to adapt to the unique challenges of cloud applications. Data-centric solutions represent the path forward for BYOD in the enterprise, future-proofed for the move to the cloud.


Rich CampagnaBy Rich Campagna, VP Product, Bitglass

Rich drives product management at Bitglass. Prior to becoming an integral team member at Bitglass in April 2013, he was senior director of product management at F5 Networks, responsible for access security. Rich gained valuable experience in product management and sales engineering at Juniper Networks and at Sprint before working at F5.

Turning Up Cloud Security Before It’s Too Late

Turning Up Cloud Security Before It’s Too Late

Securing The Cloud

By the end of 2015 the cloud computing industry reached an all time high of $120 billion dollars. This has been supported by a number of facts including rapid elasticity of clouds. They can be expanded, redefined and reallocated within a matter of minutes upon business requirements. Cloud computing has changed the dimensions of data storage and access. 21st century is the era of smart devices and cloud storage has given each and every person the chance to store and access data including Visa and MasterCard details from cloud storage.

Not All Is Peachy In Cloudland

The cloud industry is still in its nascent phase and it faces myriads of challenges every day. As a result many people are lead to believe that the sudden boom of the cloud industry is nothing but the sign of a pending doom. Today we are here to investigate the facts which may help us realize why that might just be a certain possibility.


  • A third party is taking care of important business data

This is a cause for concern for the millions of companies out there. This is very different from the in-house IT services that most companies are used to. The off-premise storage system requires a third party provider who does everything from managing security to synchronizing data. So technically this may cause a deep sense of insecurity among the business owners and IT experts who understand that employing a cloud computing service is nothing but abrogating their own responsibilities to give someone else complete access to sensitive information that keeps their companies alive.

  • Complete chances of violation of privacy

The threats of NSA intrusion and FBI leaks are not just conspiracies anymore. With the FBI employing “concerned third parties” to hack FB profiles and Apple devices, the threat of violation of privacy on a cloud storage platform is very real. As a result many companies are extremely apprehensive about employing cloud services. Security breaches from adversaries has always been a real threat when it comes to cloud storage, but with the intrusion from the governments the IT experts have one more thing to worry about in addition to the security of their company data. So in essence, the threats almost remain the same, it sources of the threats have evolved over time.

  • There is no scale for safety standards

There is no one proven method that makes cloud storage safe. Excessive customization of services has made cloud industry extremely susceptible to violation of confidentiality. So a simple question like, “how safe is cloud storage today?” cannot be answered with simple statistics. The multifaceted nature of the service providers has complicated the very definition of “safe”. In fact there are various levels of safety which can be achieved within a cloud storage system. A number of methods can be employed to protect the sensitive information against breaching attacks. But none of these methods make cloud storage a 100 percent safe.

  • Legal liability concerning cloud industry

One would think employing a third party service to take care of their data storage matters would take one responsibility off their hands. They are not wrong, but they would be foolish enough not to be prepared for the risks associated with cloud storage. Security breaches may be the nightmare of a company’s IT department, but that is nothing compared to the lawsuits which follow. More importantly, these lawsuits are notorious for financial hassles involved and it is almost impossible to win one against your cloud service provider. Since most of these cloud storage services protect themselves by renouncing all responsibilities to keep their user files accessible.

  • What if you lose internet access?

Many leading companies including Amazon and eBay have faced this problem when they have been locked out of their own servers and data due to the sheer lack of connectivity. If you decide to store all your company data in one place you and your staff will be left twiddling your thumbs during a similar situation. This can lead to a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars, hundreds of clients and in super-unlucky situations, obliteration of an entire company’s wealth. This is further exacerbated by the lack of experienced customer support who can guide you through a quagmire of data loss, server shutdowns and loss of sales.

A brief afterword

In conclusion, although cloud computing seems like the in thing at the moment, that does not mean it is here to stay. A company should only opt for cloud storage services if the pros of the service outweigh the cons. For any business the smart thing to do is to be prepared for all the risks before shifting to cloud storage. Technologies and their derivatives are transient, so it will be of no surprise if the cloud industry annihilates itself in case it fails to seal its loopholes.

By Mauricio Prinzlau

The Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Systems

The Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Systems

Cloud-Based Phone Systems

Although today’s businesses rely on a host of modern technology, the century-old telephone call is as essential as ever. Of course, businesses today aren’t relying on simple analog voice calls for effective interaction with partners, suppliers, colleagues, and customers, but instead combine the communication tools of mobile, email, texting, video conferencing, social media, and more. Already addressing various business needs such as collaboration and remote working through its flexibility and scalability, the cloud offers numerous benefits for telecommunication; RingCentral is one provider exploiting these advances to deliver a complete cloud communications system.


Progressive Businesses Use Advanced Solutions

Our highly competitive and fast-paced business environment means only the top performing organizations survive and prosper, and taking advantage of the finest tools technology offers is a significant part of this success. With broadband so widely available via fixed or mobile connections, we’re seeing companies utilizing talent around the world and interacting with customers across the continents. Technological advances promise greater tractability at reduced costs, and the somewhat recent advent of the cloud with its many varied tools is allowing companies to cut out superfluous features, tighten configurations, and effortlessly make use of global resources. Moreover, modern businesses which rely heavily on business software, covering areas which include human resource management, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and more, are moving these systems into the cloud.

The Integration of Business Communication

Though the cost-savings and benefits of efficiency and productivity are tremendous, most forms of communication have not been integrated into these cloud-based applications. Many communication modes still require users to manually log and store information in isolated systems, and methods of integration with business applications have tended to the complicated and expensive. However, with enterprise-class cloud communication systems, companies are quickly taking advantage of the benefits of application and communication integration.


Cloud communication systems make it easy for colleagues to communicate cross-country and globally no matter the distance between their physical offices and provide the tools of direct transfers and direct extension dialing that teammates who share a physical office have always benefited from. Furthermore, cloud communication systems offer the flexibility that allows employees to change location as necessary and have their calls follow them. They also continue to have access to other company communication features such as voicemail, fax and conferencing, thus ensuring continuous interaction and seamless workflow.

Cloud PBX Benefits

Some of the many benefits of cloud-based phone systems such as that provided by RingCentral include:

  • One corporate telephone number for customers and partners to contact company employees.
  • Reduced or eliminated expenses of installation, upgrading and maintenance of PBX hardware and software at different sites.
  • Simplified phone line management with the elimination of trunk lines, PRIs, and bonded T1s.
  • Streamlined direct transfers and direct extension dialing between business locations.
  • Reduced costs and convolutions of managing Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) across telco networks or other business exchange line connectivity.
  • Eradicates the need for trained staff at each business site, use of third-party support services, or IT staff chasing telephony problems from one location to another.
  • Simplifies the setup of business in new areas, office moves, and user relocation, addition, or changing.
  • Improves group productivity through the enhanced collaboration tools of audio and video conferencing, web meetings, chat, and SMS.
  • Assists in the integration of the very ‘human’ interaction of communication with business applications and IT systems.

The First Open, Self-Service Cloud Communication Platform


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Already providing guided implementation, extensive online resources, personal connections, and all-inclusive innovative upgrades, RingCentral has opened their platform to developers, partners and customers for the first self-service, open platform allowing businesses to “integrate robust communications capabilities into key enterprise applications.” Supporting businesses of all sizes, the RingCentral Connect Platform offers cloud PBX with rich collaboration features such as screen sharing and video conferencing and additionally integrates with other cloud applications. And now with the extensive SDK, developers can incorporate these capabilities into custom applications.

As adoption of cloud-based business applications escalates, so too does the need for integrated business communication solutions. Flourishing organizations are now making use cloud PBX, collaboration solutions, and customizable communication tools, and RingCentral’s SaaS platform is one of the industry-leading suites essential for top performing businesses.

This article has been sponsored by RingCentral, provider of state-of-the-art cloud infrastructure.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Is The Fintech Industry The Next Tech Bubble?

Is The Fintech Industry The Next Tech Bubble?

The Fintech Industry

Banks offered a wide variety of services such as payments, money transfers, wealth management, selling insurance, etc. over the years. While banks have expanded the number of services they offer, their core still remains credit and interest.

Many experts believe that since banks offered such a wide multitude of services, they have lost their focus and have over extended themselves. This is why many Fintech startups started in the last decade are starting to give banks a run for their money. Most of these fintech startups specialize in one particular field and focus on customer experience and convenience.

For instance, PayPal started offering online payments as a service for merchants when checks were becoming irrelevant for e-commerce transactions. This immediately made PayPal a household name and the company was able to gain significant market shares in a sector that was gravely neglected by banks.

DealSunny, a company that specializes in special offers and coupons, devised a neat infographic exposing some of the facts about the amazingly fast growing Fintech industry. This infographic should help you make sense of the current climate in the Fintech sector. Here are a few points we got from the infographic (see the full infographic below):

Fin tech

1. As of the end of 2015, there were 1362 fintech companies spread across 54 countries in the world. While most of them are startups, the industry as a whole has received a staggering $25.8 billion in funding from investors. That is an average of $44 million per company.

2. Fintech experts say that Israel, United States and the United Kingdom offer the best ecosystems for fintech startups with knowledgeable and willing investors, friendly government regulations and government incentives for the industry. Specifically, most fintech startups are clustered around Tel Aviv in Israel, London in the United Kingdom and Silicon Valley, Los Angeles & Boston in the United States.

3. While many countries provide a good ecosystem for fintech startups, no country can match the United Kingdom, Singapore and Luxembourg. These countries invite the fintech startups with a red carpet giving them many incentives to launch and operate their business in their country. The United Kingdom offers many perks such as tax holidays and a £860 million fund from the National Cyber Security Programme for deserving cyber security companies. Singapore and Luxembourg have launched many initiatives for financing and incentivizing fintech startups in their country.

4. The initiatives undertaken by the governments have paid off and London in the UK, Singapore and Tel Aviv are among the frontrunners in the fintech industry. The Nordic countries are expected to lead a lot of development in this field in the future. The most famous cities for fintech companies in these countries are Oslo, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki.

5. While the success of Fintech in our increasingly interconnected world is a no-brainer, there are some other important reasons for the exponential growth of the industry. Many people are switching from banks to Fintech companies because these services are said to be easier to setup, offer attractive pricing options and provide a better online experience compared to conventional companies. Also, many people claim to have switched because of the better quality of service offered by Fintech alternatives along with their more innovative solutions.

6. While fintech companies are located in over 50 countries around the world, a large chunk of the $49.7 billion that was invested internationally has been grabbed by companies in the United States and the United Kingdom. $31.6 billion out of all the investments in the industry has gone to the fintech companies in the US alone, while UK received a mere $5.4 billion. Other countries that have received more than a billion in funding are China and India. All the fintech companies in the European Union combined have received $4.4 billion in funding.

While it is true that many of the popular financial technology companies have stolen market shares from traditional banks, many experts are of the opinion that these companies are a necessary evil for banks. Banks are usually huge and have a monopolistic position in the markets that they operate in. This gives them few incentives and a lot of difficulties when it comes to implementing new technologies for their operations. Fintech firms have now forced banks into offering better services to their customers by way of new technologies, making the world better for all of us.

By Robert Hendriks

Newton’s First Law and Cloud

Newton’s First Law and Cloud

Scaling the Mountain

You’re kidding me, the server went down? What are we supposed to do about launching the new website? We promised our partners that we would go live this weekend. I’ll admit its forty new pages but it’s just a website. How long before it all gets fixed?

I’ll bet you have been to this movie. Seemingly simple stuff in information technology seems suddenly like scaling a mountain. Either solutions are single threaded and dependent on one set of hardware, or you wait months while additional hardware is purchased, delivered, deployed and tested. You just want to bang your head against the wall. What goes on with those IT guys?

The answer lies within a common human tendency – inertia. Newton defined the physical effect in his first law of motion and it applies equally well to peoples’ behavior. Just to paraphrase: “Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.” website story proves a good example. Why didn’t the company host the website in the cloud with an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud provider? It’s inexpensive and easy; in fact, many providers provide tools that facilitate deploying websites on their platform. That platform effectively does not go down when features such as automatic backup, fail over and auto-scaling are deployed.

We all experience inertia in our everyday life. Switching to a new way of doing things – say moving from a Windows computer to a Mac is hard. It takes time and effort. You have got to learn the new way and then practice with it to become facile and productive. Only if the benefits are clearly and rapidly felt do we do it.

Let’s dig deeper into some research on organizational inertia and the resistance to adopting new IT solutions like cloud. There are some important lessons we can extract. These apply to both IaaS and Software as a Service (SaaS).

It turns out that there are at least five dimensions that contribute to “inertia”.

  • Cognitive Inertia – We will continue with our existing way even though we know it is not the best, most effective or efficient way of doing things.
  • Behavioral Inertia – We will continue with our existing way simply because it is what we have always done. It’s part of our routine. We have done so regularly in the past.
  • Socio-Cognitive Inertia – We will continue with our existing way because strategic changes are difficult to implement in our organization. We have a culture of strong norms and values making change difficult. The requirements to switch are unexpected and coming too fast.
  • Economic Inertia – We will continue with our existing way because lots of effort has gone into its optimization. We have invested a lot of time to learn it and there is so much financial effort involved in switching.
  • Political Inertia – We will continue with our existing way because our users, customers and/or vendors do not use cloud. They are happy with the old way and our most important business partners insist upon it.

An interesting list, don’t you think? Here are a couple of observations to further your thinking.

Notice how in a number of the above the concept of switching costs emerges. But, wait a minute you say – I thought the big attraction to cloud was that it had low barriers to use. You sat down at your screen and just order it up. You could even use your credit card. No long evaluations, purchasing processes, etc. All true, but there are hidden switching costs. In IaaS, you need to understand the manifold performance and capabilities of the services and features of at least one cloud service provider. If you use more than one the challenge is multiplied. All this takes time and effort and perhaps even expertise that your folks do not have.

In SaaS, you will need to do some integration into your other legacy systems. Despite SaaS providers’ claims, their offerings are not just plug and play unless you want a bunch of siloed systems that don’t talk to each other. Again, this takes time and effort, which inhibits adoption.

Another theme that weaves through these different Inertias is the Innovator’s Dilemma. The very things that have made you successful inhibit you adopting a new path because you cannot see the benefits or consequences. Even your users and customers contribute by signaling that they are quite happy with the status quo – at least, until a competitor brings something better to their table.

Inertia in the IT department is often symptomatic of a more overall “stickiness” of the old ways of doing things across the organization. In today’s market place the pace of change is withering, new entrants often using the latest technology – like cloud – make a mockery of so called competitive advantages. The infamous “creative destruction” of capitalism is moving at a historic pace. The average life expectancy of most firms continue to diminish.

Adopting cloud is only in a small way a technical issue. Do you hear echoes of Newton’s First Law in your organization? What’s your plan? Better think about it and perhaps get some help.

By John Pientka

John is part of the CloudTweaks influencer and thought leadership program. You will now be able to read many of John’s new and syndicated articles here.

Developers: Are You Ready For An App Apocalypse?  

Developers: Are You Ready For An App Apocalypse?  

Are Chatbots About to Take Over?

Many companies are moving away from app development towards a very different technology, leading some experts to predict that an “app apocalypse” is just around the corner. Today, chatbots are all the rage. Facebook introduced chatbots to Messenger recently, Microsoft launched a Bot Framework (with support for Facebook Messenger) and other communication apps such as Slack and Telegram have been experimenting with bots for some time. There’s even a dedicated app store for bots, Botlist, which launched last month.

The app market may be predicted to be worth $101 billion by 2020, but consumers are no longer downloading a multitude of apps, and instead may prefer to interact with their mobile devices through a single Conversation User Interface (CUI).

The exact form of the CUI is still unknown but chatbots are a likely candidate. These bots act as a conduit for users to interact across platforms and access information to complete tasks through a conversation. For example, instead of having to close Facebook Messenger to open the Uber app and get a lift, you would simply message Uber from Messenger to ask for a ride.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Why are bots suddenly so popular?

It seems we have reached an app saturation point. Research reveals that users are happy with the apps they already have, with half of all time spent on smartphone apps occurring on an individual’s single most used application. This means that users are less likely to download new apps, and more likely to enjoy bots within the apps they are already using.

Bots can reach users on the platforms they already interact with on a regular basis, such as SMS, email or chat apps. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even referred to bots as the “next application” at the company’s BUILD conference in March. There are bot incarnations popping up everywhere. A recent example is the Assist chatbot, which allows users to access a host of local services (for example, sending flowers or finding a hotel room) from chat platforms including Facebook Messenger, Kik, Slack or Telegram. The user just tells Assist what he/she wants and the chatbot does the rest.

Should mobile developers switch their focus from apps to bots? Opinion is still split with some seeing bots as the future for mobile tech and others preferring to play a long game. Either way, it seems safe to assume that apps, bots and other technologies will coexist in the mobile development space for some time, presenting developers with plenty of opportunities.

By Gemma Church

The Growing Mobile App Industry and Financial Sector

The Growing Mobile App Industry and Financial Sector

Mobile Apps and the Financial Sector

While the mobile revolution has introduced sweeping changes and disrupted industries big and small around the world, the financial sector has not kept pace, frequently hamstrung by regulatory concerns that which have left many users frustrated at the lack of transformation. While retail banking has made up a lot of lost ground, it is the investment banking sector where change is needed most.

Yet today, there is an acknowledgement amongst most capital markets and investment banking firms (CMIB) that there is no viable future for them that does not embrace the power of mobile. “Those firms which can deliver the benefit of more information, more quickly and in a way which is more actionable, are sure to exert a magnetic pull on both clients and high-performing potential employees.” You can review the mobile investment banking whitepaper here.

In many cases, the impetus to change is being driven by clients, who would simply prefer that the data they require is served to their mobile devices with the same level of security as any other platform.

Faced with the pressure to satisfy their clients and attract the best employees, banks need to deliver successful mobile solutions. They can’t afford to deliver an unsatisfactory app, or an app which doesn’t get the uptake. They need a right-first-time strategy for mobile — one that is totally optimized to the power and functionality of the device, as well as to heightened client expectations.”

Mobile Banking Boom

By 2019, it’s projected that over 2 billion people will use mobile banking, and that customers expect to be able to track, trade and spend from within their mobile devices.


Yet there are inherent risks in delivering a mobile solution that doesn’t live up to the expectations of users. It’s not only the threat of losing clients which is a consequence of a poor (or non-existent) mobile strategy. High-functioning employees are also attracted to firms which are seen to be cutting-edge and moving with the times. Fundamentally, banks need to understand the needs of their clients and employees, deliver appropriate solutions and work to a timeframe that recognizes that ‘now is the time’ for mobile.

Once the financial sector embraces the challenge of delivering data to mobile devices, then it faces some complex choices around how best to deliver that data. Should they embrace mobile websites built using HTML 5, or should they focus on native apps which are appealing for end users but are difficult to update and improve over time? These questions need to be asked and answered, yet most evidence seems to indicate that a native app is a superior solution for the industry, provided the right partners are employed for the work.

management-david-309x185Banks and financial institutions need to think very deeply about who they choose to work with. David Pinches, a CMO writing on the blog of UK software consultancy, Scott Logic, explains that “if you work in a heavily regulated, and therefore particularly complex industry, such as financial services for example, it may be worth narrowing your search to find a specialist firm with a strong track record of success in your area.”

Of course, too much data can overwhelm a mobile device. In order to exploit the inherent strengths of mobile devices, CMIB institutions should focus their resources on mobile charting as an effective way of conveying useful information to end users.

There are many ways to achieve strong data visualizations on mobile, but success boils down to five key factors: The charts and visualizations should be fast, familiar, meaningful, interactive and animated. And that requires a strong open-minded technology partner. “A consultancy that is technology agnostic is more likely to help you choose the right solution to meet the objectives of your individual project,” writes Pinches, “and therefore the needs of your users.”

While the drive to deliver financial information onto mobile is firmly under way, reminds us that it’s not enough to build attractive apps, ultimately they need to deliver meaningful, timely and actionable information for the users.

Key Fintech Trends and Outlook:

  • Investing has changed. Today, decisions are made on mobile – anywhere, anytime
  • [Corporate banking] is on the cusp of a far-reaching digital shakeout. Business clients are not only open to transacting and liaising with relationship managers over digital platforms but also the majority are willing to switch—and even pay a premium—to work with banks capable of delivering the type of integrated, omnichannel service they’ve grown accustomed to in other spheres.” – Boston Consulting Group 2
  • Unfortunately, investment banks have been hampered by regulatory, technical and financial challenges – compounded by the sector’s traditional reliance on the BlackBerry
  • Data is only as good as the insight you can gain from it. So how can these vast amounts of data be employed, and served up in a way that offers real and instant meaning?
  • According to Google, 91 per cent of smartphone users will abandon an app they find slow, or that doesn’t provide what they want. 40 per cent of them are less likely to come back to the site or the app; 28 per cent are less likely to buy from that brand in the future; and 29 per cent will immediately abandon the app for a competitor site or app
  • With the use of advanced data visualization tools, finance leaders are now able to translate broad and deep sets of data into easily digested, actionable intelligence for the entire company” – Tech Target
  • Key to data visualization is charts; a well-designed chart can instantly represent information in a way that arrays of data simply can’t. Even a simple column takes time to decipher, while we can rapidly interpret a chart. We’re better at understanding shapes and colors than we are at words and numbers.
  • Investment banks need access to specialists who understand how to make charting deliver both style and substance.
  • Mobile apps are the future, and native mobile apps are the future for CMIB institutions, not least because of the intuitive features and charting features they offer.
  • Employees, managers, intermediaries and partners can all exploit the advantages of mobile, making better decisions because the bank’s data can tell them more.

By Jeremy Daniel

Connecting Cars To The Cloud

The Cloud Connection

Cars are becoming more and more connected. There are many YouTube videos of people seizing control of a car remotely and forcing it to operate in unexpected ways. But overall the reality of connection is good. As machines extend human functions we are better off.

That said, I was thinking about automation and cars yesterday. First because I am teaching my sons how to drive (they are also taking drivers education, but I am doing the initial driving lessons with them). When I learned to drive (let’s just say 3 years ago) I learned on a manual transmission Volkswagen Beetle. A car that didn’t have power steering, anti-lock brakes or for that matter climate controlled temperature systems. In the winter you rolled the window up and hoped the tiny bit of warm air escaping from the heater would raise the temperature to just above freezing. In the summer you rolled the windows down, and turned the music up. The FM radio wasn’t included in the package, so you only had AM radio to enjoy.


(Image Source:

Automation, including lane protection and speed controls are incredible tools. The power that it gives the driver is simply amazing. I do, a tiny bit, however wish I could teach my sons in a car that wasn’t fully automated. There are things you need a person for in order to understand the impact.

That got me thinking about the impact of automated systems going forward. Not from a science fiction perspective where people forget how to fix things and engineers take over the world. Rather from the separation of essential skills and automation.

What are the essential skills people need in the automated world?

The easy ones are the so-called soft skills. Communication skills we all need to have to be effective in our interactions. But what skills do we need overall in that automated age beyond the easy answer? Early in my career we used to talk about technical people that were an inch wide and a mile deep. They were focused on building solutions that were an inch wide but needed that depth to be effective. We talked about software architects as being a mile wide and an inch deep. We needed both in order for the system to operate within the IT environment but also be effective for the users. Now, in a world where automation makes everyone a mile wide, what skills beyond are we going to need?


Let’s go back for a moment to the connected car to answer this question. First off, connected cars have evolved. I remember the days of the device (GPS) having a speaker, and you added that to your car. Or a device that plugged into your cassette deck or audio in on your car to play cellular conversations through the car speakers. That evolved into the integrated systems that we have today. Understanding how those systems came to be is an important skill. Understanding the path to a solution is as important as understanding where the solution is now. Understanding how you got to where you are, is skill one.

If we consider the connected car the second skills is understanding or clarifying the why of the solution. For example car phones exploded in many states because it became illegal to hold your cellular phone while driving. So there are legal reasons you have a specific solution. Hands free phones were a legal requirement. Connected cars of tomorrow (or possibly the actual cellular device) won’t allow you to text and drive. Many cars now can read you your texts and allow you to reply via voice. Siri can do that as well as Cortana and Google can. The asking the right questions to get to why will (are) critical skills in the connected world.

The Automated World

Skills for the connected (automated world) understand the path to the solution. Understand why the solution was implemented. It seems so easy when you lay them out like that. The reality is much harder. The answer to the first question is an integration of what and how. What we did, how we did it to solve the problem documented and available. The second why, is usually the easier question to ask but skill remains elusive if you don’t fully understand what was done and how it was done. To bring this full circle I wonder if my sons (and for that matter all the young drivers now) will fully understand how to operate the vehicle they are driving.  Anti-lock brakes reduce the risk of braking while driving. Connected cellular phones make it safer to drive and talk to people. Integration of car and cell phone make it safer on the roads.

But what happens when the system fails?


(Image Source: OlgaLis / Shutterstock)

When the system fails is when knowing what was built, how it was built and why it was built becomes a critical skill. Perhaps a parking lot button for teaching young drivers so I can turn off the automation in a safe place and teach my sons how to drive manually. There is something about understanding the motion point of a car. The balance of acceleration and releasing the clutch to engage the gears slowly. Of course there is also something about my car warning me when there is someone in the lane I want to turn into. There is something more, when it won’t let me turn into the lane because the car is in my blind spot.

So manual button for empty parking lots only!

By Scott Andersen

CloudTweaks Comics
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