Be a Digital Leader with Omnichannel Services

omni_channel_1I have learned that there are three major things that most organizations need to do to be digital leaders, but let’s start with the three things that are involved in any software project, like building an app. First, you need to have a plan that defines what you want to do and how to do it. Second, you need to organize your data in a structured way, and third, you need to define the functionality of the solution. [Read more…]

We are the next major computing platform

LenseThe computing landscape is about to change radically. Even while Enterprises are still struggling to adapt to the new world of  smartphones, tablets, mobile applications and BYOD (Bring your own device) the next wave of computing is rapidly approaching in the form of Wearables and Implants.  Products like Google Glass eyeglasses, the Samsung Gear smart watch and multiple Fitness Trackers from many manufacturers are being worn by many people to enhance their lives and as a side effect changing the way people view computers and its role in our lives. This is only the beginning though, without even looking for it I found the following news stories that describe some examples of how computing technology will become even more personal and integrated into our lives. [Read more…]

Are Touch Based Devices Too Cutting Edge? Business Needs to Embrace Touch and the Future of Mobile Computing

touchscreen1It isn’t possible to force a market to choose a specific type of device or service, but it is possible to offer options and alternatives. The market today has more choice for the types of devices than ever before. Whether you choose devices like the Apple iPad, Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy and Microsoft Surface, they all have something in common, portability and touch. The industry has even created an acronym “BYOD” Bring your own device to describe the scenarios in which people use these devices today. There is a wide variety of devices that you can adapt and incorporate into your lives, work or personal. [Read more…]

Modern apps enable modern business

Over time, there has been a very clear evolution in the relationship between technology and business. In a few years, this transformation has jumped from the technical topics to the reality and it has brought new rules to make business. But we should keep in mind that the biggest change doesn’t come from the new cool smartphone (or tablet). The real transformation comes from softwares. Today, everyone knows what an app or a market is. But society knows just a small part of all the software potential.

MarcAll of this new rules have brought new needs in business as well as in personal life. The big tech brands are giving answers to people. Just take a look at Windows 8. The Metro-style apps now known as Windows 8 style, Modern UI style, or Windows Store style apps, are very different from traditional desktop apps. The new Windows Runtime application architecture (Win RT) isn’t just a fresh coat of paint, it is very different from the Windows desktop we’re used to. [Read more…]

Top 10 post: “12 trends no one should miss – Download Sogeti’s Technology Outlook”

Over the holidays, we will repost the top ten most popular blog posts of the year. This is one:

Click on the cover to download

Click on the cover to download

Are you setting the pace for innovation, or is your organization having a hard time trying to catch up to the many trends and innovations of the day? If so, you should definitely download the Technology Outlook for 2013 from Sogeti. It deals with 12 trends no business innovator or manager can ignore. The focus is on systems of engagement and a more human centric approach to design and technology. I have outlined the 12 trends here in this post, but you will find more inspiration in the report.

Mobile BYOD – Bring your own Device, receiving the desired information, being mobile at work stays a top trend. Supporting a connecting workforce through Mobile/BYOD makes organizations attractive to new employees also aiming to increase work experience and productivity.

imageAugmented Reality –Overlaying the physical world with a digital layer is changing the interaction between people, objects and information. It’s all about living your life inside Facebook.

Smart TV –The ultimate media device: Interactive, HD and social raising questions such as who is in control of the content. Integration of Internet and Web 2.0 features into television sets and set-top boxes, as well as the technological convergence between computers and these television sets/set-top boxes.

Big Data – Big Data shows the hidden patterns in all sorts of data and help predict behavior and do predictive simulations. Big Data will improve customer insight, target customers and track sentiments online.

Cloud Services – The business promise of Cloud Computing is simple: Worry-free IT. Expected adoption is enormous. Application services are the first step to adoption. New way of software design will appear and there will be a rise of Cloud disaster recovery. In addition, real time analytics and Big Data will strengthen Cloud usage and storage of data.

image

Jericho Style Security – Securing the data, not the device, is the new security trend bringing a more granular and flexible security approach.

Privacy Enhancing Technologies – Technology to be used to turn privacy into a differentiating selling point. Big Data and other intrusive technologies require making Privacy a fundamental principle when designing new solutions.

Quality Assurance Across the Application Lifecycle – Testing of new applications is not enough anymore. A more complete Quality approach across the entire Application Lifecycle is one key success factor for the future. Testing or Quality are no longer restricted to the test teams, it is a shared IT and business responsibility.

Agile Methods – Agile has become a new paradigm to manage projects focusing on transparency, collaboration, iterative and incremental development significantly reducing the time-to-market. While initially Agile was mostly used in IT, it is now increasingly also applied in “business” projects.

imageModel Driven Engineering – With the maturity of modeling tools, Models are no longer used only for documentation in the software development process, they are now an integral part of the development and even operations process, allowing traceability between models, code generation, and automated testing.

3D Printing – 3D Printing will transform product information, non-food, retail and create an explosion of personalization. In short, consumers take over! 3D printing fosters agility which is a key factor for the years to come.

Internet of Things – Connecting physical things to the internet makes possible to access remote sensor data and to control the physical world from a distance. Sensors and smart devices will be making our lives easier and allow for optimization of large complex systems such as transportation grids, utilities, healthcare and others. New synergistic services will be developed that go beyond the possibilities of the current isolated embedded system.

Download the Technology Outlook from Sogeti

 

Cloud shadows on corporate IT ( Part 2 )

As mentioned in part 1 “Shadow IT” is an unstoppable phenomenon. But by definition “Shadow IT” works “under the radar” and many CIOs see it as a threat.  Indeed there are some risks to consider…

  • Unmanaged servers: If the software and the data are installed on specific servers without security policy, backup, etc. they are time bombs. Furthermore, it can lead to anarchic “silos of data”.
  • Non-compliance:  Very often a specific software is based on its own business logic (definitions, formulas, rules, etc.) and even with few inconsistencies it can lead to major inefficiencies. What about tests and qualification?
  • Costs: There’s always a moment when the hidden costs emerge from the shadows
  • Loss of control over sensitive data: Obviously the most important risk is a dispersion of the data : on specific devices, on the cloud, etc.
  • Legal aspects : shadow IT creates uncontrolled data flows and then it can be difficult to comply with laws or standards like “Sarbanes–Oxley Act”, “Basel II”, “COBIT”, etc..

So what can CIOs do to identify shadow IT, and how to manage it? [Read more…]

Cloud shadows on corporate IT (part 1)

Nowadays everyone admits that traditional corporate IT is not agile enough to react to the users’ demands and to provide all the expected services. Hence users try to find solutions by themselves and often by using their own services without any CIO approval. This phenomenon is called “Shadow IT”.

Shadow IT is not new. It all began with users’ specific developments (for example based on Excel, Access or a RAD solution). But now, with the rise of the cloud, it’s simpler than ever… there is nothing to install, you just have to choose among all the services offered by the providers.

Just like BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”), there’s a growing demand for BYOS: “Bring Your Own Services”.  It’s a major step in the ongoing consumerization of IT.

Where does this trend come from?

  • Users are no longer ignorant about technology, especially the “Y generation” (see http://labs.sogeti.com/generational-profiles/ )
  • Cloud services are more and more capable for business usage
  • These services are mobile, social and well known by everyone (kind of de facto standards)

Are you a Shadow IT user?

  • Have you ever forwarded a professional email to your personal email account (Gmail or other) in order to read it later because your company doesn’t provide you a corporate device?
  • Have you ever exchanged corporate big files with DropBox because your company’s IT is not able to transfer such big files?
  • Have you ever used Doodle to organize a meeting with attendees from different companies?
  • Have you ever created a community on Google+ for ideas sharing?

If you’ve done any of these things, you’re participating in Shadow IT!

Here are a few common examples:

  • Personal web mail (of course)
  • File storage/sharing ( DropBox, GoogleDrive, Hightail,  … )
  • Social network (LinkedIN, Viadeo, Google+, … )
  • Micro Blogging (Twitter, … )
  • Project and organization ( Trello, Murally, Doodle, … )
  • Web site (Google Site, … )
  • Services for developers (GitHub, Assembla, Codenvy, CloudBees, … )
  • Publishing ( paper.ly, Pinterest, Scoop.it)
  • Bookmarks and notes (EverNote, )
  • Communication (Skype, …)
  • And many more specialized services …

What’s the point of fighting against shadows?

CIOs are aware of Shadow IT, they just can’t stop it! The trend to consumerization is very much connected to the business needs and the users’ culture. It’s unstoppable! So why not just embrace the cloud and try to work efficiently with its services?

Use it. But use it wisely taking into account the implications in terms of security, data retention, integration, cost standardization, legal aspect, support, maintenance, etc. These are elements I will develop in my next post. To be continued…

Considering Windows 8.1 and Mobile devices for the Enterprise with the new Intel Architecture

October 17th brings General Availability for the first update for Windows 8, referred to as Windows 8.1. Windows 8 is Microsoft’s attempt to bring its OS ecosystem into the touch age and compete with Apple’s successful iphone and ipad devices running iOS, and Google’s Android powerhouse. Since the release of Windows 8, the media and industry “experts” have called Windows 8 “Microsoft’s next Vista fiasco” and that Windows 7, however successful in corporate environments, can’t compete when compared to touch devices the competition has in the consumer market.

Returning a year later with Windows 8.1, Microsoft listened to the feedback of corporate users and tried to ease the shock when transitioning from Windows XP or 7, when moving to Windows 8. Many enterprise users put the icons for the applications they use most on the desktop or taskbar. Microsoft has added the ability to boot straight to the desktop if you chose, and while pressing the Windows button takes you the “Metro” grid of icons and apps, you can customize what now appears there and make the background match. Most users I have spoken to that tried the Windows 8.1 Evaluation, liked the consistency between the desktop and, at least initially, only bring up the tiles when launching a new app. With Windows 8.1 Professional and Enterprise, all of your Windows 7 applications work just the way you expect them to, so the impact of the change for most users will be minimal. There are many new and revised features in Windows 8.1, and it warrants another look.

It’s not just about Windows 8.1, it’s the devices

With the release of Windows 8.1, it’s also time to re-evaluate Windows 8 and the new ecosystem of devices that enable it. Critics panned the battery life for the original Surface and similar devices, since they constantly compared them to an Apple iPad. I have never thought this was a fair comparison, as the iPad is running a scaled up version of their phone OS (you remember the apps are compatible between the two) and Windows 8 for Tablets is a full OS, not the same as their phone, although Microsoft does seem to be headed in that direction.

8.1 is designed to fully embrace new computing devices like tablets and Ultrabooks by offering touch support, advanced compatibility features and more online security, data protection and better battery life. These benefits can be further enhanced by combining 8.1 with new Intel based architecture and processors that offer enhanced performance and manageability than ever before. I personally own the Sony Duo 13 2-in-1 with an i7 processor. I have been using it for a month, and even with many of my legacy apps installed, I average 9 to 10 hours on the battery. I was sceptical at first, but many the benchmarks reported by devices utilizing the Intel Haswell architecture are very accurate. I realize that this particular machine is at the high end of the device range, but it does show us what is possible.

SonyDuoLaptopModeSonyDuoTabletMode

Example of a Windows 2-in-1 Ultrabook

(image source: Sony)

I travel frequently for work and the Sony Duo 13 has become my primary machine as it supports both laptop and tablet modes. I realize many people will say at just under 3 pounds its heavy for a tablet, but I argue those people seem to have completely missed the point of the 2-in-1 convertible. Like an ipad, you aren’t supposed to be able to “do productive work” while in tablet mode, you just have all of your data with you to consume, review or demonstrate. If you want to be productive, you switch to laptop mode and you have a full power system with touch. That’s something an ipad can’t do, even if you do add a magnetically attached Bluetooth keyboard.

Windows 8.1 focus on the Enterprise

Enterprise customers, as well as consumers, want touch based input devices. IDC[1] says that ‘touch will be everywhere by 2014’. In fact, Businesses are 1.7 times more likely to prefer Ultrabook devices over notebooks[2]. An Ultrabook is a device that has the same power and a standard laptop, but weights less than 3 pounds and has a touch screen. If you have ever had to run from one terminal to another in an airport to catch a connecting flight, you appreciate having a device that is so light compared to the 7 to 8 pound beasts of just a couple of years ago. If the power of the machine is the same at a third of the weight, why wouldn’t you want it for that reason alone?

Of course, IT managers must carefully measure and justify all their investments, taking into account not only the upfront price of new equipment, but also all ongoing implications in terms of staff productivity and maximizing existing investments. When introducing a new mobile computing model, organizations must therefore find a solution that is easy to implement and maintain, makes sense for end users, and is easily compatible with their existing IT ecosystem.

An analysis of Tablets in the Enterprise[3] carried out in January 2013 by Intel-IT on the TCO of Windows 8 running on Intel technology-based tablets. It indicates that Windows 8 on Intel tablets could actually be around 25% less expensive to operate than on other tablets:

  • The cost of software and applications is estimated to be about 40-50% lower for Windows 8 on Intel tablets. This is mainly due to the fact that Windows 8 on Intel allows for the installation of software such as Microsoft Office and so does not require any middleware such as virtual desktop infrastructure and Windows Remote Desktop Services to make it work.
  • IT operations labour costs went down by 6-31% for Intel-based Windows 8 tablets compared to most other tablet platforms. The primary reason for this that the Intel x86 architecture is the only tablet operating system environment that allows for system-wide image management for both Windows 8 Modern-style and legacy Win32/64 applications using existing PC client management tools. Administration and management were also expected to be slightly lower since these costs are roughly proportional to the IT labour costs.
  • Application development costs were expected to be substantially lower as a result of using Win32/64 architecture. Conversely, costs in some other environments (eg Android) were expected to be significantly higher due to the complexity of developing apps that need to work in various versions and tablet environments from multiple vendors.

Consumerization Factor

With the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the consumerization of IT at work, users now expect to be able to use a sleek, attractive tablet or convertible device in the workplace like the one they have at home. This places pressure on the IT department to support a wide array of devices and operating systems, some of which may not meet corporate security requirements. Centralized software updates and security patches may not work with non-Windows devices so IT teams have been trying all sorts of device management solutions as they expected a Windows-based mobile device that is both enterprise-ready and consumer-friendly would never come.

The popularity of tablets and touch-based Ultrabooks and convertibles in the consumer sphere shows that users are increasingly comfortable with the idea of interacting with their favourite devices without the support of a keyboard. The touchscreen is a familiar as they have probably already have an iOS or Android phone and users now expect to be able to use similar devices in the work environment. When you have a well-integrated operating system, software and computing platform, the touchscreen interface can enable a desirable user experience and offer efficiency based task work when you introduce touch based versions of existing applications.

Value of Windows 8.1 on Intel-based mobile devices:

  • Choice – one size does not fit all, but the Intel/Windows 8 platform supports a wide range of form factors and they can help find the right one for any organization
  • Preserving IT investment – this platform is fully compatible with legacy software, peripherals, infrastructure and management investments
  • Consistent experience – a common user interface and compatibility across a broad range of devices to keep your Connected Workforce happy
  • Data security – built-in capabilities of Windows 8 on Intel Architecture can lock down lost systems from anywhere, wipe corporate data when lost, protect users’ online identity and recover in cases of false alarm
  • Productivity – 74% of IT decision makers say that tablets increase productivity
  • Power Management Moor Insights and Strategy[4] found that the new breed of enterprise tablet, powered by Intel technology, have a competitive base battery life that can be configured to last twice as long as the iPad 4.
  • Fast to Start – Windows 8 Hybrid Boot with an Intel technology-based device starts 50% faster than with Windows 7[5]

It’s time to re-evaluate Windows 8 with the 8.1 release on the new Intel architecture platform. Windows 8.1, on a device with the Intel Haswell or Baytrail architecture, is designed to optimize the potential of touch with compatibility with existing legacy software. You might just be surprised.


[1]

The Ultrabook Experience and How it Will Redefine Personal Computing, January 2013 Gartner

[2]

Tech Aisle, US SMB Ultrabook Adoption and Trends, May 2012

[3]

TechRepublic, Tablets in the Enterprise: Comparing the Total Cost of Ownership, Intel January 2013

[4]

Moor Insights & Strategy: The latest Extreme Low Power Windows Tablets Now Ready for the Enterprise

[5]

Windows 8 vs Windows 7: Speed Tests, Michael Muchmore, 6 July 2012, PCMag.com. Configuration: Toshiba Portege R835-P88 laptop with a 2.5GHz Core i5-2450M chip, 6GB RAM, 500MB hard storage

Innovation is not an option

Jose_Luis_AntonDue to Information Technology (IT) budget freeze, innovation in companies is impacted as well as the role of the CIO. Innovation however is not an option in the times we’re living in but a source of competitive advantage. The CIOs are asked to do more with less which is why innovation plays an important role in TI departments. They are forced to innovate and apply these innovations to the benefit of the companie’s business. IT departments can rely on major trends like mobility including the BYOD concept (Bring Your Own Device), externalization through Saas (Software As a Service), TaaS (Testing As A Service), IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service), Big Data and the specialized profesional services to become a real asset for the organization.

Nowadays, TI managers are too much focused in maintenance and cost-saving projects, laying aside innovation. This is what prevails in most organizations. For the past 2 to 3 years, the TI strategy has consisted in keeping things up and running. In recesion time, spendings rise while incomes lower and many TI departments focus on cutting costs and solve day to day issues. Therefore, innovation was not a priority. But today, as TI departments reached a limit in cost savings, they are no longer asked to optimize the existing infrastructure but to be a part of the business and to innovate bringing new strategic solutions. They are now working on evolution (of functions, implementation, solutions) which makes innovation a key aspect for the future of these departments.

In the spanish market, CIOs are reluctant to implement such unstoppable trends as the BYOD of the cloud services. I really consider it as a cultural issue that has to do with the restrictive politics that are in place in spanish organizations. But it is also important to take into account other aspects such as possible security breaches and the complexity to manage multiple platform systems for BYOD that prevent CIOs from adopting these new trends. On the other hand, companies should foresee that these concepts are useful for any organization’s final users. BYOD or social colaboration environments for instance are key hiring incentives for companies. Young talents which are starting their profesional career now are used to chose which online platforms, social networks and devices they want to use. A restrictive IT environment can lead them to pick another company with more flexibility.

Technology changes the way we do business

The latest technological advances, the most important of which is the democratization of internet, brought radical changes that are reaching an even higher level now that mobile devices are becoming accesible to everyone. Everyday, companies are facing new challenges such as the app market, the online business, the cloud, Big Data or the latest trend know as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which relates to the growing desire for people to work with their personal devices.

These developments impacts the way we are liaising with each other, both on the personal and profesional side. Organizations are forced to re-think the way they lead their own business. Such changes may be tough, but they are necessary to survive.

Implementing a BYOD policy in your organization implies that you develop new applications and address the security issues as well as the proper integration in your infrastructure. The Big Data era is another challenge for any structure thas relies on cloud-based services as it requires new formulas to protect your data rather tan just focusing on the device, to ensure confidentiality of the users and the sensitive information you may be handling.

Similar to these two previous examples is the growing use of apps for business purposes in all sectors. The online business dramatically increased the number of transctions and payments through the web. The leisure industry takes full advantage of this new wave by broadcasting digital content that revolutionize the cinema, the book or the music industries. This canot work without a perfect understanding of how to handle such a huge amount of data, as the business relies more and more on an up and running technology.

Ensuring the quality of applications is thus a growing concern. It has never been more important to properly perform all tests on softwares and duely control the quality of the applications in order to guaranty the success of a deal. In Sogeti, we think the testing activity has to be fully integrated in the application development lifecycle. 90% of failures are generated by processes prior to the testing phase, 50 to 70% of which occur in the phase of design and definition of requirements.

These high rates are evidence of the necessity of testing at all stages of the process and not only at the end. Thanks to this new approach, you can reduce the number of failures and reducing the time to market which can lead up to 80% time and cost savings. The is what we call the ‘PointZERO vision’, a method whose objective is to increase business performances, improve quality throughout the application lifecycle, reduce the time to market, avoide and reduce costs, eliminate risks and reach due quality.

In a nutshell, the world has changed and companies will have to do so as well. Otherwise, they are very likely to stay out of the market.