Displaying articles for: 07-01-2012 - 07-07-2012
I’ve mentioned in a few posts about the shift in computing capabilities and how that will change what humans may be focused on in the future and if there will be a day when computers have all the answers.
In an interview covering a few similar areas, Ray Kurzweil and The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray discussed advances in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and what it means to be human. Ray is always a bit optimistic in his view of the future, but I’d rather be actively optimistic than passively caught by surprise.
Normally in this blog I try not to get too HP product specific but instead focus on business and technology trends and their intersection, but people keep asking me foundational questions about HP’s ConvergedCloud offering. Asking questions like: “What’s different about HP Converged Cloud and all the other IaaS offerings that are out there?”
HP Converged Cloud is a common architectural foundation supporting traditional IT and private, managed, and public clouds. It has been defined so that enterprises can extend the power of the cloud across infrastructure, applications and information to provide:
- Choice – Finding the right solution for an organization through an open, standards-based (OpenStack) approach supporting multiple hypervisors, operating systems and development environments as well as a heterogeneous infrastructure and an extensible partner ecosystem.
- Confidence – through a management and security solutions that spans information, applications and infrastructure.
- Consistency – through a single common architecture.
So it is not quite the same as just a generic IaaS, since it enables the management of a hybrid cloud ecosystem. Not everything will be going to the cloud (anytime soon), so having a flexible mechanism to manage a diverse environment is an important part of increasing flexibility.
HP ConvergedCloud is built on principles of modularity with the various architectural layers constructed to interact by design. To do this, it includes a variety of capabilities including:
2) Management and security layer
3) Information and reporting layer
4) A common portal – to provide a unifying experience to create and consume cloud services
So it enables more than just a platform for dropping in virtualized machines. HP ConvergedCloud should allow organizations to get an environment up quickly and hit the ground running.
There are so many interesting options available when you begin to look at computing resources as something other than hardware and more as fuel for the enterprise engine.
It did make me start to wonder what IT organizations can do to change this.
Some ideas that come to mind that are being talked about all the time are:
2) Work from home – Although some organizations are reluctant to support work from home, many times it is more productive than the typical workplace.
3) Automation – IT can automate much of the drudgery out of work, if we only look at the opportunities.
4) Gamification - Let's not forget that if there is one thing IT can do it is measure and report... and possibly even make work more entertaining and interesting.
What other ideas do you have that could improve the working environment for the 21st century?
Captured in the blueprint report are the four key challenges the buyers who attended their outsourcing conference agreed the industry is facing today:
1. Overcoming the singular focus on cost that strips the industry of value – I agree that this can be a stumbling block, since the organization should be entering into a relationship with someone where the area outsourced is their area of expertise. It is definitely a case of one organization’s “commodity” is another’s core strength. They organization should be looking for a supplier’s on-going delivery of improvement and innovation. They should not just be driving out costs without supplying the insight and innovation in the supplier’s core. It should be easy to see what they are proud of…
2. Leveraging outsourcing as one of a variety of vehicles to achieve business objectives – This is definitely true, outsourcing relationships are bring fragmented into much smaller deals. Unfortunately, at least in my experience, this means that there is usually much more bureaucracy and “watchers, watching the watchers” than actually getting the work done in a cost effective manner. Effective 3rd party management is becoming a core skill and having said that is also something some organizations are outsourcing because they don’t have the time or patience to manage all these relationships effectively. This micro-sourcing of work can lead to siloes and communications issues that may absorb any perceived cost savings or innovation.
3. The need for service providers to invest smarter in their account management teams – The organization that is outsourcing only delegates the work to others and still retains responsibility. Unfortunately, in all the effort and confusion, this can be lost. The report states:
“Buyers acknowledged that poor communications with their service providers is leading to stagnant BP relationships, with vague business objectives and a lack of senior-level buy-in from both buyer and provider.”
The reward mechanisms for both the supplier and the outsourcing organizations actually need to be reviewed continuously to ensure that no unintended effects develop. Business Relationship Managers need to be empowered and accountable for the relationship, beyond the role of just being “watchers”.
4. The need for buyers and providers to partner to foster innovations into business and IT process outcomes – This area is key. Both organizations have skills, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business. Once outsourced attention will focus elsewhere, but there needs to be a drive to maximize the benefits from this new “strategic relationship”.
There can easily be intellectual property (IP) issues that get in the way; after all this work is core to the supplier they better have some IP in the game. The contracts can’t be written in such a way that the outsourcing organization owns all the innovation. On the other hand, the supplier needs to realize that this relationship is transient and at the end the outsourcing organization needs to continue to operate. It can’t be held hostage by an inability to operate because of an IP shift. I’ve mentioned before the issue of lock-in and outsourcing/cloud computing.
Overall, it was a good article to review every once in a while. This is an area ripe for improvement, even by those who are experts.
Back in 1862 (150 years ago) the US was in the midst of The American Civil War, yet on July 2nd of that year the federal land-grant law was passed. Nearly every state and US territory has a land grant university.
The land grant program was a strategic investment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Agriculture that has much to do with making the USA what it is today.
I wanted to point this out on the 150th anniversary, only because it shows what the long term effect of a good investment can be. No matter how desperate the times, it can still pay to think strategically.
Business analytics is about using the data available to manage performance and make decisions. It is about asking questions to get answers. As we have more powerful tools, analytics should allow us to ask questions we’ve never thought of asking before. We can hypothesize about issues and results.
Even the type of questions we ask may change. Which is more important knowing the buying behavior of our customers or knowing more about the behavior of those who are not current customers? Is it better to know about why people make decisions to buy our product or about understanding why people were entering a decision making situation?
These kinds of questions are not exactly new, but there is now more data and powerful tools to attack them then have ever existed before. With social techniques we also have new perspectives to add to the analysis.
Most of the analytics work in the past was focused on hindsight, performing analysis on historical data. Much of the real-time analytics push discussed currently is about providing insight into decisions that need to be made now. The real opportunity is in the area of foresight, with modeling and simulation techniques to predict and shape the future we want to have. These are all analytic areas that are rapidly changing.
I’ve mentioned in the past that in a world of abundant data having more data is not all that exciting -- on the other hand having the attention of personnel with the right questions will always be scarce and powerful.
Now is the time for organizations to make a choice to develop greater depth and breadth of analytic capabilities, figuring out what works and blazing a trail toward a more agile future.