With the very initiation of a data science-powered transformation, the endeavor and whoever is driving it are acknowledging that the status quo for analytics utilization does not deliver against the believed potential value for the given business (however defined). As a result, any individual (wherever they are on the totem pole), technology, and even organization overly associated with legacy or the status quo will find themselves exposed to some degree of uncertainty and possibly even vulnerability. What transpires when an enterprise kicks off such an initiative ranges within two extremes. On one side – the “bad outcome” – the effort yields a hot mess of organizational wrangling over concepts like “data ownership” and “where analytics should live”, shortsighted technology investments or the digging-in-of-heels around legacy platforms, and analytical project work-to-nowhere – all with the enterprise’s competitive advantage wavering on a precipice.On the other end of the spectrum – the “good outcome” – the effort can yield a complete rebirth or transformation of the company built upon data-derived innovation, resulting in data science-generated intellectual property and competitive advantage. On this end of the spectrum, I often see an executive alignment on prioritization for data initiatives, a thriving data science culture, a drumbeat focus on smart data instrumentation and data quality processes, and modeling efforts with clearly defined paths to operationalization for top- or bottom-line impacting actions.I am frequently asked by our Analytics Labs customers which levers they should control to drive towards the “good outcome” as they embrace data science. The levers are numerous, and each is integral to the success of the effort. I’ve mentally cultivated my list over an extended period of time, based on my team’s data science work with our customers and prospects, my observations of the travails and successes of various Greenplum customers, and my pre-Greenplum days at Yahoo!, where I ran central Insights Services and led globalized data solutions during the company’s data “glory days”.For more on the Predictive Enterprise, read my full post on Greenplum’s Datastream Blog.
Containers have been a hot topic in 2016—and while they’re garnering interest and momentum, we’re very early on in terms of market maturity.This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be excited! Over the past year, containers as a technology have gained a lot of traction, with the three main players—Docker, Mesosphere and Kubernetes—finding themselves on equal footing as far as adoption and offerings. This is very different from the last couple of years, when these platforms were on uneven footing as far as equivalent offerings, and it’s a great evolution because it means freedom of choice, flexibility and the opportunity to experiment for enterprise users.However, this is a single point in time in the market, and I predict the landscape will look very different a year from now. By this time next year, we’ll find that one container technology has risen to the top either by way of innovation, functionality, funding, adoption or some combination thereof.We’ve already seen some very interesting market moves this year, with Mesosphere taking funding and announcing partnerships with HPE and Microsoft, and the Apprenda acquisition of Kismatic, the company behind Kubernetes. Docker also took on a Series D round of funding last spring at $1Billion+ valuation. All of these investments signal competition in the space, and we’ll see this heat up exponentially in the coming months—but with the current state of VC, it’s a crapshoot as to whether revenue will come out of these investments and what that means for container evolution.So why is that, if container technology is so desirable?It’s the fact that software is hard to manage, and there’s currently not one single complete product or solution in a platform. Software is only as good as the user’s ability to consume it, and if users are cobbling together software to make a single solution, odds are good that they’re spending human and monetary assets in a way that compromises efficiency rather than promotes it. With so many facets to enterprise IT, the majority of companies currently don’t have the ability to consume software-only products.And this is the hole in the container market. A hole, yes, but also an opportunity to build a cohesive solution that addresses the barriers to adoption: persistence, support for apps, ease of use and lock-in for existing proprietary hardware.For developers, containers make deployments and the packaging of apps and software easier because they make applications and associated dependencies more portable—the deployment process is absolutely critical. Containers also give developers granularity and control over what gets deployed and, on the development side, offer the ability to build more simplistic infrastructure to support these apps—and a simpler infrastructure is more scalable and efficient to operate.But the toolsets are still in early stages of development, and users have to be good at operationalizing infrastructures in general. They have to catch problems, respond quickly, understand that software will break and generally be on their toes. The next technical step is to operationalize the software and environment, and that’s a whole set of technical challenges that people aren’t ready for–yet.Together, the open source community will build solutions to make containers easily consumable, and skills and tools will also make that shift so that the evolution of IT teams is more empowered to successfully run software-only approaches to tech workloads.EMC took a swing at this today—more here—but there’s more work to be done by the community at large.By this time next year, the container market will be a whole new ballgame, with one clear leader and higher adoption as the technology evolves. We’re in for an interesting ride!
I remember when ATM’s first arrived on the scene. A lot of people dismissed the idea. “Why do I need that?” they’d snarl.They just couldn’t see beyond the status quo. Payroll would hand out paychecks on Thursday night, workers would rush to the bank at Friday noontime — or on Saturday morning — and stand in line to get the cash. If they missed the banking window — or ran out of cash half way into the weekend — then they were out of luck.Everybody was so accustomed to the status quo, they didn’t even know that they had a problem. Dell EMC shatters the status quo with its regularly scheduled delivery of pre-tested, interoperable firmware and software releases (called the Release Certification Matrix or RCM) and VCE Vision Intelligent Operations Software (which automates various phases in the process).ESG Lab benchmarked the process for types of “build versus buy” infrastructure:DIY (Do It Yourself) Worst (i.e., integrate and build multi-vendor gear)DIY Best Case (i.e., build with a vendor reference architecture)Converged System with RCMConverged System with RCM and VCE Vision Software.The benchmark numbers were astounding.For example, in the Audit Phase alone, the Dell EMC Converged Systems for the VCE Vision Software scenario was 6 to 22 times faster than the DIY infrastructure.Modern infrastructure beats the status quo in other patch and upgrade phases, too.Time saved means that you can patch and upgrade more often (and improve infrastructure) and spend more time doing other things (what the business wants).See for yourself.Go to www.VCE.com/vision and download the report. IT Operations’ Status QuoSimilarly, the infrastructure patching and upgrade chore is a big problem that many IT organizations just accept. “It’s the way we’ve always done things. There’s no avoiding it.”Typically, IT staff spends weeks planning firmware upgrades across their servers, storage and network technologies. Adding virtualization software upgrades adds more complexity. Siloed teams of system administrators and engineers can drag this out to months of planning.Then there’s the cost of the equipment and the time it takes to find and test the interoperability of the releases.A recent study by ESG Lab shines a light the problem — and the solution — by wall-clock benchmarking the whole process of patching and upgrading traditional “Do It Yourself” infrastructure versus modern, engineered and manufactured Dell EMC converged infrastructure.The study measured the typical phases of the process:Audit – Where are my components? What revs are they on? What needs to be updated?Research – Should I do the update? How will it impact other components? Intermediate revs? Prerequisites?Plan – What is the component upgrade order? Who will it impact? Do I need professional services?Download and Stage – Where do I get the updates? How big are the files? Where should they get stored?Update – How long will the component be unavailable? Will there be downtime?
Anyone rummaging around in search of innovation in the annals of economics will inevitably end up running into Joseph Schumpeter. The political economist was already aware of the fact that innovation is the critical dimension of success more than 100 years ago (1).But although it appears straightforward on the surface, it isn’t. Scratch the surface and you will always encounter the ‘creative destruction’ he popularized back then: Companies need to constantly innovate and incessantly question their existence to maintain their position on the market.Do you notice a pattern?Exactly. The imagery of scratching past a surface is by no means obsolete. Especially for anyone involved in today’s digital transformation. The central issues are clear: products, processes, the organization, customer service, communication, and even the company culture. They all need to be carefully scrutinized. However, what has changed? Competitive pressure has snowballed and the development cycles have greatly intensified compared to the past. Creative destruction – disruptive innovation (2): two terms, one concept. The process is all around us.And this process also entails failure. “If you want to innovate (…), you have to embrace risk,” stated Michael Dell at last year’s ‘The Next Now!,’ the impulse summit hosted by Dell EMC in Berlin. He continued, “It would be wishful thinking to believe that everything always works right from the start.” And that’s how it is: Companies need to learn how to deal with making mistakes.The issue is too intricate and for many, they simply procrastinate. And it’s not a prudent approach. Nearly one-half of all companies fear becoming obsolete in the mid-term, and a similar number of companies isn’t sure what the industry will even look like in the mid-term. But the working motto should actually be: Use innovation to shape the market, instead of playing the catch-up game all the time.How can innovation, the main component in the digital transformation, be pushed forward? The path begins with the realization that innovation cannot just happen as an aside, but rather it needs to infiltrate every fiber, all hierarchal levels, and each department of a company. It needs to become an integral part of the corporate DNA (and its partner network). The best case scenario is when upper management exemplifies to the rest of the company what innovation is; for this reason, I have often proposed having the Chief Innovation Officer be responsible for ensuring a company-wide change in culture. However, it goes without saying that innovation is not only a concern for a company’s IT. It doesn’t need to be limited to products and companies specifically. It can also act as an example for the external image. For example, it can help eliminate production grievances in countries with low wages, deal with topics of environmental concern, or address other CRS issues. Companies that define innovation in this manner are particularly appealing to markets in the future.Dell EMC is hosting The Next Now! again. This year it will be held in Munich, Germany, on 10 April. There will be talks, presentations, and panel discussions by numerous high-caliber speakers from industry, media, and culture on topics such as the connection between innovation and digital transformation, the underlying technology, and the impact on the economy and society. And who knows? Maybe Michael Dell will be in attendance this year, too.(1) That was the year 1912. By the way, Schumpeter looked at entrepreneurs as if they were heroes. He considered them responsible for the prosperity of the masses. One of his more relevant examples: Companies made sure that not only the Queen could afford silk stockings, but that they were in reach of factory workers, as well. The process of capitalism would gradually increase the standard of life for the masses, and innovation (just like monopolies) are at the center of this development.(2) ‘Innovation’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘to renew, restore; to change.’ The term was first mentioned in Duden, the authoritative dictionary of the German language, in 1915, which was published only shortly after Schumpeter published his theory. A coincidence?
When COVID-19 hit, France-based Air Liquide was already on the front lines as a world leader in gases and services for Industry and Health. Its role in producing medical oxygen, ventilators and supplying other home health care solutions has become critical in combating the virus. Still, the company was faced with responding to the health crisis while ensuring many of its employees could work from home effectively. The company successfully rolled out its business continuity plans that included the streamlined deployment of thousands of pre-configured Dell laptops, enabling remote workers to continue serving clients, medical institutions and patients all over the world. Grupo Boticario, a retailer with 4,000 locations across Brazil and a presence in eight other countries, faced a dual challenge as COVID-19 spread: How to enable thousands of employees to work remotely while continuing to serve customers online. The solution was technology, and it would have to be in place quickly. Armed with Dell EMC servers, more than 1,000 laptops and configuration, deployment and support services, Grupo Boticario was able to help 3,000 employees work remotely. Now, the company will be able to maintain the performance and stability it needs even during peak demand. From medical equipment to groceries, technology is helping businesses make new ways of working a reality. The spread and severity of COVID-19 has forced businesses and public institutions to find ways to carry out their essential missions while keeping their customers, employees and citizens safe.That means large-scale transitions to remote work. For many, those transitions have had to be seamless. Lives and livelihoods are on the line, both in the workplace and in communities around the world.For many, the pressure is intense. Failure to develop and implement secure remote work capabilities makes it more difficult to provide the public with vital information on health and safety. Without these capabilities, health care professionals and first responders would not be able to do their jobs safely and efficiently. Vulnerable citizens would not be able to get the supplies and prescriptions they need.Businesses and government agencies have turned to tech not only for the innovation that makes these new remote work arrangements possible, but for guidance on how to best implement these new arrangements, often on extraordinarily tight deadlines.“Business continuity is about more than just keeping the lights on. It’s about serving others when it matters most,” said Jen Felch, Chief Digital Officer and CIO, Dell Technologies. “We have more than a decade of experience in enabling our own remote workforce. Before we announced a global work-from-home policy due to COVID-19, 65 percent of our team members were leveraging our flexible work policies, and we had approximately 30 percent of team members working remotely on any given day. Our connected workplace experience set us up well for the unexpected, and we’ve been applying this experience to our work with customers and partners, some of whom are making the transition to a remote workforce for the first time.”“In addition, our global supply chain is leveraging their flexibility and working diligently to get customers around the globe the technology they need to serve their own businesses, customers, students and communities,” Felch said. “Similarly, our Dell Financial Services can help find the appropriate resources for our customers in a timely matter, furthering our end-to-end customer enablement.”Dell Technologies is helping businesses around the world establish, expand or refine remote work capabilities. Here are just a few examples:Idaho-based grocery chain Albertsons Cos Inc. knew it had to act quickly to keep critical operations up and running while providing for thousands of employees to work from home. This included enabling remote support for over 1,000 Albertsons call center and retail support employees, who play a vital role in solving technical problems for Albertsons check-out systems and pharmacies. Any delay in setting up remote work systems, any failure that could not be solved remotely would directly impact customers and employees by straining strict social distancing policies in-store. Dell Technologies helped Albertsons make the jump to remote work for call center and retail support employees with a variety of PCs, monitors and peripherals along with configuration, deployment and support services. All of this was done within an extremely short timeframe. Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), a busy shipping port in the Middle East, has not only survived but actually thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), remote work infrastructure, and most importantly, automation solutions. ADT’s operation is a critical link in the region’s supply chain, moving as many as 250,000 20-foot containers through its terminal each month. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, ADT was already using an automation solution powered by Dell Technologies and VMware which allowed ADT to fast-track the rollout of a remote work program and meant there was no reduction in productivity. Excluding operators, mechanics, and security personnel, ADT has nearly 100 percent of its employees working remotely. These remote workers include Management, Information Technology, Finance, Commercial, Human Resources, and Operations Control Center personnel.Learn more about how Dell Technologies can enable and support a productive and secure remote workforce.
SYDNEY (AP) — Government leaders marked a socially distanced Australia Day with calming words as protesters denounced celebrations of a day some dub “Invasion Day” because of historical wrongs committed against Indigenous people. The 4,000 protesters who gathered in small groups in Sydney’s Domain were warned they could be fined or jailed for breaching limits on large crowds. But many protesters wore masks and adhered to social distancing guidelines, and only a few arrests occurred for not following police orders. Australia Day recognizes the day the British navy arrived with convict ships and raised a flag signaling the intent to found a British colony. The protest organizers called for it to be abolished.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Israelis have participated in a pair of funerals for two prominent rabbis in Jerusalem, flouting the country’s ban on large public gatherings amid the pandemic. Sunday’s midday funeral procession for Rabbi Meshulam Soloveitchik wended its way through the streets of Jerusalem in the latest display of ultra-Orthodox Israelis’ rejection of the country’s coronavirus restrictions. Later Sunday, thousands of mourners attended the funeral of 98-year-old Rabbi Yitzhok Scheiner. Israeli media said both men had died of COVID-19. Israeli police did little to stop the processions, despite lockdown restrictions barring mass gatherings. Police say attempting to disperse the crowds would have been unwise and dangerous.
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ decision to step down as the company’s CEO, in part to devote more energy toward his philanthropic work, shows the multi-billionaire’s growing interest in charitable work. Bezos, 57, gave $10 billion – the largest charitable donation of 2020, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy – to establish the Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change. He also supports the Bezos Day One Fund, which donated $105.9 million in 2020 to organizations providing food and shelter to young families in need. In October, the Day One Fund opened the first Bezos Academy, a Montessori-inspired preschool geared toward low-income families in Des Moines, Washington.