Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Shelly Palmer, JP Morgenthal, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

‘Business as Usual’ Not an Option

Consumer experience meets enterprise utility and function

This month, we released our latest MetraNet® 8.0 software. What makes this release particularly exciting is that it bridges the gap between the complex business models and customer and partner empowerment that is unique to MetraTech with the user experience typically found in consumer software. In other words, form meets utility and function without compromise.

Enterprises across all industries are being forced to adapt to unprecedented levels of change. If there is one phrase that needs to be removed from the enterprise vernacular, it is "business as usual." Today business is messy and anything but usual. Enterprises are under pressure to evolve at a pace unlike anything we have seen before, and in a competitive environment that demands innovation and does not tolerate ‘me too' mediocrity or services.

The evolution of Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, and Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) is creating a fundamental transformation in the world of enterprise software. One of the greatest impacts is on billing software, the heart pacer for any company - after all without billing it is just a hobby.

Enterprises must be able to embrace change and exploit market opportunities as they arise and their billing platforms cannot get in the way. A static position is a commodity position and those companies that cannot adapt services and business models to evolving market conditions will not grow or worse yet, cease to exist. Billing systems have to support changing business models not simple price changes. The entire approach to pricing, introducing products and services to market, collecting revenue and compensating partners must be rethought, but adapting to this new environment can be challenging across the following fronts:

Business complexity
Today's enterprises are global and serve local markets where the brand, product and pricing strategy are often unique to a region and partner. While it is imperative to support regional requirements, corporate needs visibility and adherence to policies for brand control and pricing. In addition, the dual forces of increasing business model complexity and the need to provide a consumerized user experience are colliding.

Traditional enterprise software powerhouse companies are under attack as a result of Cloud, digital and XaaS. The standard no-risk decision to simply select a familiar supplier can now mean death for a business. For far too long, enterprise software lagged behind that of consumer in usability and ease of use. But now business users are bringing their consumer devices and apps to the office, and expect business apps to have the look, feel and usability of their mobile devices or social platforms. The new modern approach for building enterprise software is to focus on helping business users perform their daily routines and access the information they need to be empowered and successful - in a user friendly way.

Flexibility to adapt at the pace of business
The new competitive landscape rewards companies with a deep understanding of their customers and markets. Information that is intuitive and readily accessible enables enterprises to respond to changing business requirements with agility. The ability to easily decode complex data and turn it into information that is relevant to stakeholders across the organization is critical. But what do you do with the information once you've attained it and want to adjust and act?

Having the ability to quickly adjust and make changes is the equivalent of enterprise gold. The inevitable evolution path, driven by user demand, is in the direction of user-driven configuration. The next level of user-empowerment is here: by manipulating metadata and generating XML scripts, expert users can readily adjust process flows, create new processes, create new fields, and develop more and more complex decision criteria that profoundly determine the way the application can be used to support a business. The best enterprise applications have already moved the balance towards user-driven configuration. This not only makes business users very happy but also reduces the turnaround time for changes, accelerates time to market for services and reduces costs.

Products become services
The as-a-service movement is having a profound impact in every vertical market. Products are transitioning to services (actions supported by things), and they differ in several important ways from products (things supported by actions). While product options are generally well-defined up front by the manufacturer, customers want to mix and match pieces of different services and essentially create their own unique offerings. The definition of the service can easily become fuzzier as you serve more customers. Customers know that customizing a mass-produced product is a challenge, but they think it's easy to fine-tune a service. It doesn't come pre-formed in a box, after all.

But, unlike products, services tend to be fuzzy around the edges, and they can be shape-shifters. The world of XaaS will enable a lot of shape-shifting through customization, bundling and mash-ups. Some service providers will embrace this, while others will struggle to keep up.

Embracing the inherent flexibility of services means using software that is inherently flexible enough to do the job.

Addressing multiple vertical industries
Services and applications are all software components that are interconnected and increasingly cross-vertical as Cloud and IoT breakdown silos. These days it seems as if every company wants to develop an industry vertical strategy. Companies are building entire partner ecosystems and recruiting talent from companies in financial services/insurance, health-care/life sciences, retail/consumer products, communications/media, automotive industries to address these markets. The charter is clear: grow revenues across vertical industries and recruit Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), System Integrators and application developers to build solutions to take on old guard software vendors. This requires software platforms that are adaptable enough to support the unique requirements of multiple vertical markets through extensions on top of core software.

Turning data into actionable information
Business stakeholders across the enterprise must be empowered to make decisions that support revenue and profitability objectives. The ability to derive meaningful information from data is critical, as is being able to adjust and quickly make changes. The overwhelming amount of data available makes the process all the more difficult.

Anyone that is interacting with customers and partners need to be empowered to drive personalized interactions and proactive upselling. As a result, the greatest impact on enterprise software is the user experience. Companies that embrace the strengths of consumer apps from a usability perspective will unlock value across the entire enterprise. A well designed enterprise UI is intuitive and shows that thought was put into the function and it is tailored to specific business processes. Of course it should also be visually impressive.

However, what you often see these days are lightweight consumer applications more suited for Internet merchants being targeted at enterprises. Sure, there are high-quality visual elements in the user interface that make these glossy and slick, but here is the problem: if the application compromises the ability for a business to differentiate and compete in the market; the product soon loses its luster.

The modern enterprise is upon us
We must embrace the challenge of an expanding service universe with a limitless number of possibilities and service combinations. Making a dynamic portfolio of services available and usable, monetizing that portfolio - as well as ensuring that each contributor to these increasingly complex value chains is compensated is exciting. There is no doubt that to be successful in this evolving environment, organizations will have to change many aspects of the way in which they run their businesses. Not all of the traditional business models, tools, relationships or ways of working will survive. That's evolution.

More Stories By Esmeralda Swartz

Esmeralda Swartz is VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud, BUSS. She has spent 15 years as a marketing, product management, and business development technology executive bringing disruptive technologies and companies to market. Esmeralda was CMO of MetraTech, now part of Ericsson. At MetraTech, Esmeralda was responsible for go-to-market strategy and execution for enterprise and SaaS products, product management, business development and partner programs. Prior to MetraTech, Esmeralda was co-founder, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Lightwolf Technologies, a big data management startup. She was previously co-founder and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development of Soapstone Networks, a developer of resource and service control software, now part of Extreme Networks.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Deploying applications in hybrid cloud environments is hard work. Your team spends most of the time maintaining your infrastructure, configuring dev/test and production environments, and deploying applications across environments – which can be both time consuming and error prone. But what if you could automate provisioning and deployment to deliver error free environments faster? What could you do with your free time?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
UpGuard has become a member of the Center for Internet Security (CIS), and will continue to help businesses expand visibility into their cyber risk by providing hardening benchmarks to all customers. By incorporating these benchmarks, UpGuard's CSTAR solution builds on its lead in providing the most complete assessment of both internal and external cyber risk. CIS benchmarks are a widely accepted set of hardening guidelines that have been publicly available for years. Numerous solutions exist t...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Choosing the right cloud for your workloads is a balancing act that can cost your organization time, money and aggravation - unless you get it right the first time. Economics, speed, performance, accessibility, administrative needs and security all play a vital role in dictating your approach to the cloud. Without knowing the right questions to ask, you could wind up paying for capacity you'll never need or underestimating the resources required to run your applications.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We view the cloud not really as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
With over 720 million Internet users and 40–50% CAGR, the Chinese Cloud Computing market has been booming. When talking about cloud computing, what are the Chinese users of cloud thinking about? What is the most powerful force that can push them to make the buying decision? How to tap into them? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yu Hao, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, answered these questions and discussed the results of SpeedyCloud’s survey.
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...