Showing posts with label Cloud Computing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloud Computing. Show all posts

June 11, 2017

The Cloud Pays Off

So for those of you who thought the cloud only pays if your a consumer of technology who is looking for scalability and flexible pricing models, think again. 

Bloomberg has an interesting article on how Adobe is growing their revenue by billions switching their apps to to the cloud. 

Instead of customers paying a one time purchase price for Creative Suite or Acrobat, now customers must pay for Creative Cloud or Document Cloud subscription fees that may sound small in the beginning, but really add up over time. 

And more than that, Adobe doesn't have to worry about wowing customers with the next upgrade in order to get them to make another purchase, because as long as their products are competitive, the customers will keep paying their subscriptions fees money month after money month.

What's better than making a sale to a customer?  Selling to them in a cloud subscription model that keeps paying and paying and paying. 

No wonder it's better to have your head and technology in the cloud--it's a true rainmaker! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 20, 2016

What Beauties

What beauties these purple flowers are?

Tall on the thin green stem. 

And then ballooning and budding out into these futuristic spherical lattice-shaped flowers. 

Almost like soft clouds that we can reach out and touch (and touch too hard, and the flowers just fall off into the breeze).

But think again with technical imagery and these can be an advanced interconnected living neural network that with "big data" can solve all our information and artificial intelligence needs. 

Each flower computing, sensing, processing, analyzing, and problem-solving. 

A swarm of living and dying nodes and sprouting forth again with a natural processing function. 

A gorgeous flower, but you can imagine it as so much more. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 7, 2016

Cloud Pleasing

Technology vendors have wised-up and are rushing to the cloud to give customers what they want. 

You want cloud?  

You got cloud!

Cloud Computing with the virtually infinite promise for flexible, cost-effective, on-demand computing--all centrally managed by the vendor--you can sleep easy at night, oh baby. 

CIOs love it. 

The only problem as everyone moves to the cloud is the promise of the cloud continues to fall short

Now how unpopular a thing to say is that? 

Take out the guillotine...

Seriously though, it was supposed to be flexible, but it isn't so much as vendors contract with customers for multi-year deals and customers find switching vendors not quite so easy...anyone hear of vendor lock-in?

Also, cloud was supposed to be more cost-effective, but vendors still need to make their margins, so longer commitments, service bundling, minimum fixed costs, and variable month-to-month pricing--sure helps things add BIG DOLLARS for the cloud vendor. 

Then you have vendors that simply call everything cloud...ah, "cloud washing" that is.  If you think you are getting cloud (even if it ain't so much so), yippee are you happy...you have drunk the cool-aid and it is sweet.

Technology leaders swooping into a new job want to come in with a bang..."Hey, look what I did to modernize, transform, reinvent, revolutionize...and save money too--thank G-d, they hired me."

So cloud, cloud, cloud...it sounds so CLOUD PLEASING, I mean crowd-pleasing. 

Whether in the specific situation it's better or not, that's not the point, stupid. 

At least, it's out of our hair--let the vendor worry about it!

One, two, three...everyone say "CLOUD!" ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2015

The Way Things Were

So here's the word of the day--Troglodyte.

How many of you know this word?

It usually refers to someone from prehistoric times, like a cave-dweller. 

But it is used to refer to people who are basically just old fashioned. 

A near relative of the Troglodyte is the Luddite who opposes new technologies. 

Today, a colleague said to me that he misses the old organization phone books we used to have with organization charts and readily available contacts everywhere. 

It didn't matter that we have this electronically now, he likes the hardcopy ones that he could keep on his desk and flip through...to heck with technology. 

Then he goes that someone called him (jokingly, I think) a troglodyte for feeling this way. 

Well there is something to be said for the good 'ol days and I understand people that appreciate "the way things were", but in many ways, those days weren't all that good--think poverty, illness, corruption, racism, and more. 

So I feel quite blessed to be living now, rather than say at almost any other time in history. 

In looking out towards the near future, I am prepping myself for the new smartwatch coming out from Apple later this month, and while I have my doubts about it (having gotten so attached to my smartphone especially the large screen--6 plus, Yes!), I realize...

That the next technology tidal wave is coming with wearables (and then embeddables), and if you don't get on board and adopt early...you might as well be riding an old Timey Bike around town with a big sign on your back that says, "Troglodyte...A Stick In The Mud and Stuck In The Past!" ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Marie-ll)
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October 3, 2014

Data Like Clouds

So data is like clouds...

Clouds want to be free roaming the wild blue skies similar to how data wants to be searchable, accessible, useful, and so on. 

But with data, like clouds, when it rains it pours--and when data blows about with the windstorm and is compromised in terms of security or privacy, then we not only come away wet but very uncomfortable and unhappy. 

Then, as we actually end up putting our data in the great computing clouds of the likes of Amazon, iCloud, HP, and more, the data is just within arm's reach of the nearest smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. 

But just as we aspire to reach to the clouds--and get to our data--other less scrupled (cyber criminals, terrorists, and nation states)--seek to grab some of those oh so soft, white cloud data too.

While you may want to lock your data cloud in a highly secure double vault, unfortunately, you won't be able to still get to it quickly and easily...it's a trade-off between security and accessibility. 

And leaving the doors wide open doesn't work either, because then no one even needs an (encryption) key to get in. 

So that's our dilemma--open data, but secured storage--white, soft, beautiful clouds wisping overhead, but not raining data on our organizational and personal parades. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2014

Robots Reach The Clouds

So robots have reached the clouds before many of our government agencies have--who would've thought? 

Bloomberg Businessweek reports how robotic activities are being stored in the cloud and are then accessible to other robots to learn from and repeat as necessary. 


The "cloud servers essentially [are] a shared brain" where memories and experiences are uploaded and accessed by other robots with a need to know the same thing. 


The cloud is the means of transfer learning from one robot to the other.


It serves like a master neural network where the Internet provides the how-to for everything from serving juice to patients in a hospital to functioning as autonomous warbots in battle. 


Like the Borg on Star Trek with a collective brain, the cloud may become the mastermind for everything from day-to-day functioning to taking over the species of the universe. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 10, 2014

I Like That Technology

Christopher Mims in the Wall Street Journal makes the case for letting employees go rogue with IT purchases.

It's cheaper, it's faster, "every employee is a technologist," and those organizations "concerned about the security issues of shadow IT are missing the point; the bigger risk is not embracing it in the first place."


How very bold or stupid? 


Let everyone buy whatever they want when they want--behavior akin to little children running wild in a candy store. 


So I guess that means...


  • Enterprise architecture planning...not important.
  • Sound IT governance...hogwash.
  • A good business case...na, money's no object.
  • Enterprise solutions...what for? 
  • Technical standards...a joke.
  • Interoperability...who cares? 
  • Security...ah, it just happens!

Well, Mims just got rids of decades of IT best practices, because he puts all his faith in the cloud.

It's not that there isn't a special place for cloud computing, BYOD, and end-user innovation, it's just that creating enterprise IT chaos and security cockiness will most-assuredly backfire. 


From my experience, a hybrid governance model works best--where the CIO provides for the IT infrastructure, enterprise solutions, and architecture and governance, while the business units identify their specific requirements on the front line and ensure these are met timely and flexibly.


The CIO can ensure a balance between disciplined IT decision-making with agility on day-to-day needs. 


Yes, the heavens will not fall down when the business units and IT work together collaboratively. 


While it may be chic to do what you want when you want with IT, there will come a time, when people like Mims will be crying for the CIO to come save them from their freewheeling, silly little indiscretions. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 5, 2014

Healthcare Where You Need It


Great new medical examination device from Tyto Care.

Handheld, mobile, cloud-based solution for performing a basic medical examination, anywhere--either remotely guided by an online physician or using the 3D avatar on the device itself for conducting a self-examination.

The device looks like the one in the doctors office that checks your ears, but it also has sensors to listen to your heart and lungs, and for viewing your eyes, throat, and skin, and for taking your temperature. 

The results can be read by the end-user or sent to a physician for review and diagnosis. 

When your not feeling well or aren't sure what's wrong--isn't great to have the convenience to have your vitals checked from wherever you are and the self-sufficiency to even get and see your own basic medical stats. 

In a time where we are under more stress to get adequate medical care due to families made up of dual working parents, jobs that are 24/7, and a declining ratio of medical professionals to patients--the Tyto seems like a breakthrough that can help us get checked and get help, anytime and place. 

Now, we just need to get our medical practitioners online and in regular remote communication with their patients--so the traditional office visit and emergency room aren't the only options for being seen. ;-)
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May 3, 2014

Oh To Be Young Again

Me as a young adult. 

My kids came across this photo in some of the old albums. 

Yeah, we still have the paper kind with real pictures behind the clear plastic.  

Anyway, I think they couldn't believe firstly that pictures don't (or didn't) all get stored on the hard drive or in the cloud, and second that this was their dad many moons ago. ;-)

(Source Photo: Who the hell remembers!)
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November 15, 2013

Don't Send Parenting To The Cloud

So my youngest daughter is taking her SAT's.

Where did the years go?

As a parent, what's my role in helping her prepare?

With all the new technology out there, you'd think I was just a parental annoyance...yeah, in some ways I am. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, "parents are too tired, too busy--or too mystified to help" with homework. 

And now "digital tutors" are taking their place for about $24 to $45 per hour (and even prorated per minute).

For example, on Tutor.com you can get on-demand tutoring to text chat and do calculations on a shared screen with your kid. 

Tutor.com has about 1,200 tutors, 95% from Bangalore, India staffed by "moonlighting or retired teachers, college professors, or [other] professionals."

Other online resources include Khan Academy with educational videos, Chegg.com with answers to homework problems from 2,500+ textbooks, and StudyBlue.com for sharing "study guides, notes, and flashcards."

While these online tutoring resources can be a huge help for students, I think that parents can still play an important role. 

Recently, my daughter and I have carved out some time every night to sit down at the dining room table with books, scrap papers, and our own flash cards to study, together. 

What I am finding is that this is a really special time for us to bond and sort of be in this SAT rite of passage together, where I can provide emotional support and some structure for the studying.

We also have signed her up for a more formal review class as well as some online resources, but I am glad to be a parent to my children and not rely only on canned cloud solutions.

While I don't know most of the answers and she does--I take that as a good thing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2013

Cloud Kool-Aid

We've all drunk the Kool-Aid and believe in using the cloud.

And with almost 1 million active apps alone in the Apple Store it is no wonder why.

The cloud can create amazing opportunities for shared services and cost efficiencies.

The problem is that many are using the cloud at the edge.

They are taking the cloud to mean that they in government are simply service brokers, rather than accountable service providers.

In the service broker model, CIOs and leaders look for the best, cost effective service to use.

However, in NOT recognizing that they are the ultimate service providers for their customers, they are trying to outsource accountability and effectiveness.

Take for example, the recent failures of Healthcare.gov, there were at least 55 major contractors involved, but no major end-to-end testing done by HHS.

We can't outsource accountability--even though the cloud and outsourcing is tempting many to do just that.

Secretary Sebelius has said that the buck stops with her, but in the 3 1/2 years leading up to the rollout relied on the big technology cloud in the sky to provide the solution.

Moreover, while Sebelius as the business owner is talking responsibility for the mission failures of the site, isn't it the CIO who should be addressing the technology issues as well?

IT contractors and cloud providers play a vital role in helping the government develop and maintain our technology, but at the end of the day, we in the government are responsible to our mission users.

The relationship is one of partners in problem solving and IT product and service provision, rather than service brokers moving data from one cloud provider to the next, where a buck can simply be saved regardless of whether mission results, stability and security are at risk.

In fact, Bloomberg BusinessWeek outlines the 3 successful principles used in the creation of consumerfinance.gov by the new CFPB, and it includes: "Have in-house strategy, design, and tech"!

Some in government say we cannot attract good IT people.

Maybe true, if we continue to freeze salaries, cut benefits, furlough employees, and take away the zest and responsibility for technology solutions from our own very talented technologists.

Government must be a place where we can attract technology talent, so we can identify requirements with our customers, work with partners on solutions, and tailors COTS, GOTS, open source solutions and cloud services to our mission needs.

When Sebelius was asked on The Hill about whether Healthcare.gov crashed, she said it never crashed, which was technically incorrect as the site was down.

The cloud is great source for IT provision, but the pendulum is swinging too far and fast, and it will by necessity come back towards the center, where it belongs as an opportunity, not a compliance mandate.

Hopefully, this will happen before too many CIOs gut the technology know-how they do have and the accountability they should provide.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2013

Flowchart Your Programming


Flowcharts have been used for quite some time for visualizing and organizing business processes and making them more efficient (e.g. business process reengineering).

Now flowcharts are being used to build and link reusable programming code.

NoFlo or Flow-Based Programming (FBP) simplifies application development by using libraries of pre-written code and then dragging and dropping them into your process flows. 

This leverages objected-oriented programming (OOP) and uses modules of open-source code, which are linked together to create a full program that solves a business problem.

The flowchart helps to avoid spaghetti code by providing for a more organized, modular, object-based development environment. 

These flowcharts can not only be a collaborative tool where developers can build or map code, but can also be part of the systems documentation that ensures a higher-level of understanding of the total programming solution. 

NoFlo raised over $100K on Kickstarter in 45 days in order to advance this project from Javascript to iOS, Android, and Python platforms as well. 

To me, this programming paradigm seems to have real legs:
- A process-based model for decomposing solutions
- Simple information visualization through a common flowcharting toolset, and 
- Reusable object code from programming libraries in the cloud. 

I'd say YesFLo--this makes a lot of programming sense. ;-)
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June 15, 2013

IT Departments, Here To Stay

InformationWeek asks "Will IT Departments Disappear By 2020?"

This question comes from Forrester Research which sees the commoditization of IT as eroding the base for the traditional IT function and roles.


As we move to cloud computing--apps and infrastructure, as well as continue the trend for outsourcing IT such as help desk, desk support, and more what will be left for the CIO and his or her team to do?


The article answers this question with another major trend--that of consumerization--"differentiating value and visibility among consumers and employees."


This is where IT can be highly strategic in serving those needs in the business that are truly unique and that enable them to be high performing and even outperform in the marketplace.


These ideas of commoditization and consumerization are anchored in Lawrence and Lorsch's business studies of integration and differentiation of organizations, where organizations need to find their ideal state for integration of subsystems--such as through cloud computing, data center integration, and shared services--and for differentiation, where organizations differentiate themselves to address the unique value they bring to their customers.


So even with commoditization of IT and integration of services, the IT function in organizations will not be going away, no more so than HR or Finance functions went away with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. 


The CIO and IT function will be able to leverage base enterprise services as commodities, but they will be expected more than ever to focus on and provide strategic solutions for their customers and give their organizations the real technology competitive advantage they are looking for and desperately need. 


This is what distinguishes a real CIO--one that provides strategic leadership in being user-centric and coming up with customer-oriented solutions that are not available anyplace else--from those managers that only help to keep the IT lights on. 


If you are not differentiating, you are not really engaging--so get out there with your customers and roll up your CIO sleeves. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 18, 2013

Remembering Every Moment


I saw a frightening movie a while back about a girl that had been drugged and brutally raped. 

In the movie, the girl is eerily warned, "You won't remember, but you will never forget!"

That line leaves an indelible mark--that something can be so horrific, so scaring that you can't recall it, and can't forget it. 

Now there is a new device coming to market that helps you recall everything.

Memoto is a 5 megapixel tiny camera (36 x 36 millimeters) with an embedded GPS that is worn around the neck, like a necklace. 

When clipped on, it starts taking the phones and when put down or in a pocket it shuts off. 

The Memoto takes 2 photos a minutes (1 every 30 seconds or nearly 3,000 a day if worn all the time).

The photos are stored in an accessible cloud app that uses GPS to sort the photos on a timeline with a date and location stamp.

Photos are private by default, but can be shared using traditional social media, such as to Facebook or Twitter. 

The battery lasts about 2 days and is rechargeable by connecting to your computer at which time the photos are uploaded to Memoto's servers. 

Wear, photograph, recharge/upload and repeat. 

Privacy issues abound with a device like this--imagine wearing this into the bathroom, locker room, bedroom, or even a private corporate meeting--lots of embarrassing and compromising no-no's here!

At the same time, imagine all the precious or memorable moments in life that you can capture and enjoy--it's the realization of the photographic memory you've never had, but always wanted. 

Also think of that rapist or other criminal approaching you--getting photographed, caught, and punished--so that the victim really does remember, and can forget with a new peace of mind. ;-)
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March 23, 2013

Innovation Infertility

Many of you may have probably the seen the movie, "Children of Men,"--it is themed around a time in the future when women are infertile (because of pathology, pollution, drugs, or whatever) and the world is in chaos--for what is life without children to carry on?

Fortunately, in the movie, after 18 years, one woman does get pregnant and bears a child and there is hope in the scientific community for a resurgence of humankind. 

Unfortunately, we are now in a similar period of technology, where big innovation of yesterday has come grinding to a miserable saunter. 

When the biggest news leaking out of superstar innovator, Apple is the potential for an iWatch--uh, not exactly earth shattering, we know we are in innovator's hell!

And vendors from Apple to Samsung and Sony trying to come out with some sort of voice activated television--again, who doesn't hate the TV clicker, but really this is not going to revolutionize our entertainment center days.

With hundreds of thousands of apps available for everything from social networking, eCommerce, gaming, and more, it seems like there are more copycat apps then anything else coming out these days--where's the real wow factor?

Microsoft can't find it's way in a mobile world, the mighty Intel has been supplanted by ARM with mobile chips, Marissa Mayer is trying to figure out how to remake the jump for joy, Yahoo, relevant again, as are the Vanderhook brothers and Justin Timberlake trying to do for MySpace.

With the overemphasis on the form factor making bigger and smaller sizes and shapes for computing devices, we seesaw between iPod Classics and Nanos and between iPads and Minis. But where are the great functional enhancements? Yeah, ask Siri.

Similarly in computing architecture, we have latched unto cloud computing as the next great savior of IT-mankind, ignoring the repackaging again of the mainframe into a cool new computing model again, and relegating the prior go-to architecture of distributed computing as the evil twin.  Sure, we can save some bucks until the pendulum swings back toward more decentralization and agility again.

In social computing, with Facebook what can you say--it's got a billion users, but virtually not a single one would pay a dime to use it. If not for marketers scooping up our personal information online and advertisers annoying us with their flashing and protruding pop-ups, we continue to trade privacy for connectedness, until we lose too much of ourselves to identity thieves and snooping sources, and we fall back clamoring for more protection. 

In security, we are getting clobbered by cyber intrusions, cyber espionage, and cyber attacks--everyday!  We can't seem to figure out the rules of cyberspace or how to protect ourselves in it. We can't even find enough qualified people to fight the cyber fight.

I was surprised that even magazine, Fast Company, which prides itself on finding the next great innovation out there, states this month (April 2013), "Growing uncertainty in tech is creating chaos for startups, consumers, and investors...nobody has a non-obvious new social business model that can scale."

As in the movie, Children of Men, we are suffering from an infertility of innovation--whether from burnout, a focus on short-term profit instead of long-term R&D investments, declining scores in STEM, or a lack of leadership--we are waiting for the next pregnancy so we can have hope again, but are disappointed that so many are false positives or overhyped prophets. 

One of the things, I am most excited about is Google Glass and their concept of augmented reality, but the glasses are geeky and will need to be package in a lot more eloquent solution to really be practical in our futures. 

The next great thing will come--life is a great cycle--but as in the Bible with 7 fat cows and 7 skinny cows, leading to the great famine in Egypt, we are now seeing lots of skinny cows walking around and it is darn scary. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 16, 2012

Amazon Will Bury Walmart

I've never seen the great allure of Walmart. Actually before I moved from NYC to the DC area more than a decade ago, I had never even seen a Walmart--and that was just fine. 

But I had heard these amazing tales of how they were superstores with everything you could ever want and at low prices and the shopping experience was supposed to be, oh what a delight!

So I cannot tell you my utter disappointment the first time I went to Walmart--shabby storefronts, elderly door greeters handing out store circulars and stickers, messy aisles and shelves, with low price tags on a swirling everything, and sort of the image of crummy leftover merchanidse throughout, and top that off with pushing crowds trying to save a couple of bucks on the junk. 

Let's just say, I'm not running back to Walmart, especially when we have online shopping experiences like Amazon--now that is much closer to nirvana. 

No drive, no crowds, no wait, no up and down the aisles looking for what you want, no shlepping, and no in your face "everyday low prices" image and we won't let you forget it--instead easy to find, interesting, varied, and quality merchandise of all types, at reasonable prices, with an easy checkout process, home delivery, free shipping, and easy returns. 

And as opposed to Walmart which is stuck in costly and inconvenient large brick and mortar stores, Amazon is investing in infrastructure of the future with convenient warehouse and delivery centers throughout the country, and more recently with their purchase of Kiva Systems in March 2012 for implementing robotics in their fulfillment centers. 

On top of it, Walmart (with nearly 2.2 million employees worldwide) in its endeavor to keep prices low, have spun up their workforce with jobs--that are often part time and unpredictable, low wage, lacking proper benefits, unsafe working conditions, and with questionable advancement opportunties (especially for women). Throw on top of that bribery allegations for which they've hired a new complaince officer. Yet, Walmart has also somehow managed to keep their workforce from unionizing to improve things. 

So how should we say this: how about straight out--Amazon gets it and Walmart does not!

And while Walmart has their own .com site--which coincidentally looks very much like Amazon's--Amazon is eating Walmart's lunch online, with according to NBC News a 41% revenue increase for Amazon's online sales versus just 3.4% for Walmart's. Moreover, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (29 March 2012) reports that Walmart's 2011 online sales amounted to less than 2% of their U.S. sales--they just can't seem to make the digital transformation!

So While overall Amazon sales at $48 billion are still only about 1/9 of Walmart colossal $419 billion, Amazon with it's high-tech approach (including their successful Kindle eReaders, cloud computing, and more) is anticipated to reach $100 billion in online sales by 2015

Like the other big box retailers of yore, Kmart, Sears, JC Penny, Circuit City, Best Buy, and more, Walmart will decline--it will just take a little longer and with a little more thrashing, because of the size of their checkbooks.  

Perhaps, as the New York Times implied years ago (17 July 2005) only stores like Costco (and throw in Nordstroms as well) with their tall aisles stocked neatly with quality goods, at low prices, and with better human capital ethos, will survive the big box retailer Armageddon.

My prediction is that within a generation Amazon will bury Walmart, if not literally so they are out of business, then figuratively with the best and most lucrative online shopping experience around--and as for the matchup betweent them, it won't even be close.  ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Fuschia Foot)
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October 12, 2012

Cloud $ Confusion

It seems like never before has a technology platform brought so much confusion as the Cloud.


No, I am not talking about the definition of cloud (which dogged many for quite some time), but the cost-savings or the elusiveness of them related to cloud computing.

On one hand, we have the Federal Cloud Computing Strategy, which estimated that 25% of the Federal IT Budget of $80 billion could move to the cloud and NextGov (Sept 2012) reported that the Federal CIO told a senate panel in May 2011 that with Cloud, the government would save a minimum of $5 billion annually.

Next we have bombastic estimates of cost savings from the likes of the MeriTalk Cloud Computing Exchange that estimates about $5.5 billion in savings so far annually (7% of the Federal IT budget) and that this could grow to $12 billion (or 15% of the IT budget) within 3 years, as quoted in an article in Forbes (April 2012) or as much as $16.6 billion annually as quoted in the NextGov article--more than triple the estimated savings that even OMB put out.

On the other hand, we have a raft of recent articles questioning the ability to get to these savings, federal managers and the private sector's belief in them, and even the ability to accurately calculate and report on them.

- Federal Computer Week (1 Feb 2012)--"Federal managers doubt cloud computing's cost-savings claims" and that "most respondents were also not sold on the promises of cloud computing as a long-term money saver."

  - Federal Times (8 October 2012)--"Is the cloud overhyped? predicted savings hard to verify" and a table included show projected cloud-saving goals of only about $16 million per year across 9 Federal agencies.

  - CIO Magazine (15 March 2012)--"Despite Predictions to the Contrary, Exchange Holds Off Gmail in D.C." cites how with a pilot of 300 users, they found Gmail didn't even pass the "as good or better" test.

- ComputerWorld (7 September 2012)--"GM to hire 10,000 IT pros as it 'insources' work" so majority of work is done by GM employees and enables the business.

Aside from the cost-savings and mission satisfaction with cloud services, there is still the issue of security, where according to the article in Forbes from this year, still "A majority of IT managers, 85%, say they are worried about the security implications of moving to their operations to the cloud," with most applications being moved being things like collaboration and conferencing tools, email, and administrative applications--this is not primarily the high value mission-driven systems of the organization.

Evidently, there continues to be a huge disconnect being the hype and the reality of cloud computing.


One thing is for sure--it's time to stop making up cost-saving numbers to score points inside one's agency or outside.

One way to promote more accurate reporting is to require documentation substantiating the cost-savings by showing the before and after costs, and oh yeah including the migration costs too and all the planning that goes into it. 

Another more drastic way is to take the claimed savings back to the Treasury and the taxpayer.

Only with accurate reporting and transparency can we make good business decisions about what the real cost-benefits are of moving to the cloud and therefore, what actually should be moved there. 

While there is an intuitiveness that we will reduce costs and achieve efficiencies by using shared services, leveraging service providers with core IT expertise, and by paying for only what we use, we still need to know the accurate numbers and risks to gauge the true net benefits of cloud. 

It's either know what you are actually getting or just go with what sounds good and try to pull out a cookie--how would you proceed? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 11, 2012

Technology Forecast 2013















I am an avid follower of everything technology and trends, but am tired of hearing about cloud, mobile, and social computing. 

It's time to get over it with the agenda of the past and get on with it with the future of technology. 

Here is my "Technology Forecast 2013" and the top 8 trends I see going forward:

1) Service Provision--Cost-cutting and consolidation into the cloud is a wonderful idea and it has had it's time, but the future will follow consumer products, where one flavor does not fit all, and we need to have globalization with a local flavor to provide for distinct customer requirements and service differentiators, as well as classified, proprietary and private systems and information. 

2) Service Delivery--Mobile is here and the iPhone is supreme, but the future belongs to those that deliver services not only to remote devices, but in wearable, implantable, and even human augmentation. 

3) Human Interaction--Social computing epitomized by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more is a cool way in interact with others virtually, but wall posts, email, and chats are getting cliche--next up conjoining with others with capabilities such as telepathic communication, mind melding collaboration, and even virtual sex for the outlandish. 

4) Robotics and Artificial Intelligence--With something like 10,000 drones flying the friendly and not-so friendly skies and even drones that autonomously land on aircraft carriers, the next robot is coming to the ground near you--drones will become (an)droids and will eventually have the AI to become part of our everyday society. 

5) Service Assurance--Enough playing defense with a sprinkling of offense against our worst enemies--it's past time to move from trying to stop-gap infiltrators and do damage control once we've been robbed blind, and instead move to a hunter-killer mentality and capability--the price of being a bad boy on the Internet goes way up and happens in realtime. 

6) Data Analytics--Big data isn't a solution, it's the problem. The solution is not snapshot pretty graphics, but realtime augmented reality--where data is ingrained in everything and transparent realtime--and this becomes part of our moment-by-moment decision processes.

7) Biotechnology--Biometrics sounds real cool--and you get a free palm reading at the same time, but the real game changer here is not reading people's bio signatures, but in creating new ones--with not only medical cures, but also new bio-technological capabilities. 

8) Nanotechnology--Still emerging, quantum mechanics is helping us delve into the mysteries of the universe, with applications for new and advanced materials, but the new buzzword will be nano-dust, where atomic and molecular building blocks can be used on-the-fly to build anything, be anywhere, and then recycled into the next use.   

Overall, I see us moving from mass produced, point-to-point solutions to more integrated end-to-end solutions that fit individual needs--whether through continued combinations of hardware, software, and services, man-machine interfaces/integration, and building blocks that can be shaped and reused again and again. 

From my perspective, there a seeming lull in innovation, but the next big leap is around the corner. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 16, 2012

Securing Transport To The Cloud

A new article by Andy Blumenthal on cyber security and cloud computing in Public CIO Magazine (June 2012) called Securing Cloud Data Means Recognizing Vulnerabilities.

"It’s the principle of inertia: An object in motion stays in motion unless disturbed. Just like a car on a highway, everything zips along just fine until there’s a crash. This is similar with information on the superhighway."

Let's all do our part to secure cyberspace.

Hope you enjoy!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Kenny Holston 21)

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May 13, 2012

Facebook IPO--Love It, But Leave It

With the Facebook IPO scheduled for this week, valuing the company at as much as $96 billion, many investors according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (11 May 2012) see this as overvalued.

Facebook will be the largest Internet IPO in history, and would be about 4 times as much as Google was valued at its IPO at $23 billion in 2003.

Further, Facebook could be valued at offering at 99 times earnings.

This is more than the price earnings ratio of 99% of companies in the S&P Index, yet even with some estimating sales of $6.1 billion this year, Facebook would only rank about 400 in the S&P 500.

True Facebook has amassed an incredible 900 million users, but the company's revenue growth has slowed for the 3rd year in a row.

Another article in BusinessWeek (10 May 2012) describes a new social networking contender called Diaspora.

Unlike Google+ which is predominantly a Facebook copycat, Diaspora is bringing something new and major to the table--they are addressing the privacy issues that Facebook has not.

Diaspora is a distributed (or federated) social network, unlike Facebook which is centralized--in other words, Diaspora allows you to host your own data wherever you want (even in the cloud).

Each of these independently owned Diaspora instances or "pods" (dispersed like in the Diaspora) make up a true social "network"--interconnected and interoperable computing devices.

With Diaspora, you own your own data and can maintain its privacy (share, delete, and do what you want with your information), unlike with Facebook where you essentially give up rights to your data and it can and is used by Facebook for commercial use--for them to make money off of your personal/private information.

When it comes to personal property, we have a strong sense of ownership in our society and are keen on protecting these ownership rights, but somehow with our personal information and privacy, when it comes to social networking, we have sold ourselves out for a mere user account.

As loss of personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property, identity theft, and other serious computer crimes continues to grow and cost us our money, time, and even our very selves in some respects, alternatives to the Facebook model, like Diaspora, will become more and more appealing.

So with social networks like Facebook--it is a case of love it, but leave it!

Love social networking--especially when privacy is built in--and others don't have rights to what you post.

But leave it--when they are asking for your investment dollar (i.e. IPO) that could be better spent on a product with a business model that is actually sustainable over the long term.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Allan Cleaver)

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