Archive for the ‘Enterprise and Social Implications’ category

Fewer Silos For The Files: Managing Cloud Data

March 21, 2014

(Originally published in Data Center Knowledge)

The demand for ubiquitous access to any file, any place on any device has resulted in a wide range of new cloud services over the last five years. While many of these services do deliver to some extent on this promise, they also end up creating entirely new silos of information. Now, when you want to access an important piece of information, you have to remember whether it is on your local hard drive, your shared file system, the document management application or the consumer file sync and share. Or all of the above? These silos exist because there is not just one that satisfies everything you are trying to accomplish.

Vendors don’t necessarily intend to create information silos, but their limited architecture and short-sighted approach forces users to drag and store all content in their system to make it work. This creates significant barriers for users who want to access their files. Where did they save it, is it the most current version and can they even access it from the road?

But wait. What if there was a better way – a method that started to break down all of these silos rather than creating a new one. How would that be? First and foremost, it makes much more sense to open up existing silos than to create new ones that circumvent the infrastructure you’ve already built – and we can now do this.

Bringing Your Data to the Cloud 
An ideal enterprise solution would not copy all the files from the local server and place them in a separate information repository in the cloud as many consumer-centric file sync and share solutions do. Instead, it would simply open up the company’s existing file storage systems, making files and home directories available in the cloud just as they are on the local server. For example, as a tool specifically designed for the enterprise, EMC Syncplicity will be making information from Isilon and many other storage systems accessible automatically via the cloud.

This approach solves a common problem: with so many apps for file sharing, collaboration and productivity, users must often switch between different user interfaces and try to remember where exactly a file is located. This can be a problem if you are just using one file system, and it increases by an order of magnitude with each additional system you use.

As a comparison, think about how much easier your web experience is now that you can log in to consumer apps and sites using Facebook, giving you access to all your Facebook friends and the option to seamlessly share updates from those apps on Facebook. This eliminates steps, saves users time and creates a great user experience.

Unlocking Existing Silos
Furthermore, as the device ecosystem continues to expand and the BYOD trend continues to proliferate, having access to files on every device at all times is becoming less of a perk and more or an expectation. File sharing tools, especially for the enterprise, should unlock existing information silos so they are accessible on all the devices their employees may be using. Documents and files are useless unless they are accessible when, where and how users need them.

Many content management platforms, like Microsoft SharePoint, have thus far only been accessible via PCs connected to an organization’s server due to the lack of a secure, streamlined and cost-effective approach to delivering mobile access. Opening existing document management and file storage infrastructure to mobile, and eventually all connected devices, without requiring a full-scale migration of data is a challenge cloud file sharing services must tackle to truly turn on an increasingly mobile and connected workforce.

Just as files are useless if users can’t access them, a file sync and share solution fails to deliver on its promise when it only mimics the existing experience of yesterday’s technology. Mobile devices have penetrated almost every aspect of consumers’ lives and apps like FlipBoard have redefined how we interact with content, yet most file sharing solutions, like Box and Dropbox, are still simply recreating 20-year-old file trees on a small screen and calling it a mobile app. The companies that are helping move the enterprise into the future, the ones that will ultimately come out on top, are developing truly innovative mobile apps that allow these devices to function as full work platforms that take advantage of contextual elements like location, proximity and social feeds. Features like in-app document editing, simplified folder navigation optimized for the touch interface, and use of mobile-only contextual data such as location and proximity make for a dynamic and powerful user experience on mobile devices.

Breaking down information silos to create a streamlined way for users to interact with their files and get their work done when and where they want is the only way to allow productivity for the evolving workforce. And in the end, it all comes down to how we can be most productive in our work, in the office and everywhere else.

Rules to Compete in the Enterprise Software Game

April 30, 2012

Guest Blogger: Rohit Ghai

Rohit Ghai, Head of Products, IIG Division

Are you worthy?

To play in the enterprise you must be worthy…. So it is with enterprise software as well. In addition to enterprise worthy support, enterprise worthy services one has to build enterprise worthy product in order to even be in the consideration set.

Before I get to the traits of enterprise software lets look at the typical traits of a corporation that we deem to be an “enterprise”:

  • Some things are really BIG. These organizations are giants – think really really BIG footprints. A big digital footprint (think vast quantities of data produced and consumed), a big carbon footprint (think big data centers, big factories, big operations, reams and reams of paper pervading thousands of business processes), a big geographical footprint (think a global organization with offices and people all across the world) and finally a big customer footprint (think thousands of customers across different segments and geographies using the company’s products or services).
  • Some things are really small. These organizations have extremely small tolerance for brand or reputation degradation (think floors full of lawyers and compliance maniacs even in unregulated industries), miniscule tolerance for downtime or business discontinuity (think people obsessing over the next flood in Thailand), very little patience in terms of time to value (think constant flux and a breakneck pace of change), a pretty small shared context (think thousands of people touching different parts of the elephant but no one sees the elephant) and finally a very small degree of homogeneity (think people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds and preferences).

So its pretty straight forward: to be enterprise worthy – you have to be able to handle (more…)

Next Generation Enterprise Support

April 23, 2012
Michael Montoya, Head of Support, EMC IIG

Michael Montoya, Head of Support, EMC IIG

Guest Blogger: Michael Montoya

I have spent the past 20 years of my career working in several technical support capacities, in roles ranging from supporting enterprise IT environments to customer product support. Over that time, I have witnessed and taken part in the transformation of support teams as the application, use and user dependency upon technology have transformed. These changes have been primarily driven by the dynamics of a more sophisticated user and a shift in delivery toward the Cloud. Throughout these changes, the defining aspect of excellent technical support has remained the same: great people capable of helping customers. The operative words here are (more…)

3 Critical Areas to be an Enterprise Worthy Software Company

April 19, 2012

Megatrends like Social, Big Data, Cloud and mobile are driving fundamental shifts in the business in this Post PC era.  One of those shifts is around the consumerization of IT where the user is in control of the devices and the applications they use to be more productive.  User experience is of paramount importance and the message is clear.  Users will not put up with complex user interfaces and find alternatives to enhance productivity by self-provisioning apps in the cloud.  As I’ve said before, a software company cannot be successful unless they minimize friction in the user experience.  The user gene must be developed in every software organization.

However, IT still remains a critical constituency within an organization.  Many that started from the consumer side of the house like Google have had some hiccups in catering to the CIO.  Three key areas must be evaluated closely when a software vendor claims to serve the enterprise.  They are around how a software company provides support for the enterprise, how a software company builds products for the user, but keeping in mind enterprise requirements, and how a software company enables an ecosystem of services, education and training for an enterprise.  What I thought would be valuable is for some of the leaders in EMC to discuss how they think of these very serious enterprise needs.  I’ve asked Mike Montoya, our head of support, Rohit Ghai, our head of products, and John O’Melia, our head of services to impart some wisdom on each of these areas on what it takes to effectively serve an enterprise while still ensuring that the user is who the software is designed for.

Hope you enjoy the 3 blogs that each of these very talented individuals have been kind enough to contribute to my blog.

6 Behaviors Large Enterprise Software Firms Can Learn From Startups

April 2, 2012

Being in Silicon Valley, working for a large software company, and conditioned to be paranoid about the next big thing, I often reflect on what large software providers can learn from the startup mentality.  Tech startups are a truly admirable bunch, a critical part of our fabric and a great source of inspiration for creative ideas.  Yes, they do lack a lot of critical ingredients that large enterprises look for in a technology company; but there are several areas where large enterprise software companies can benefit from the startup thinking.  Here are a few: (more…)

Social Content Governance: Who Provides It? How should it be Provided?

May 13, 2010

The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) industry has gone through significant transformations over the course of the past decade.  A seminal event that got ECM on the mainstream map was the Enron debacle a few years ago, followed by Sarbanes Oxley, followed by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure changes that occurred in late 2008. My point is that a series of events increased the need for better information governance, and the logical suppliers were those that provided information management capabilities using their ECM technologies. 

It can be argued right now that information governance as a market might even be a larger addressable market than the ECM market over the next few years, largely because of increased regulation and significant exposure to organizations from mismanagement and poor governance of information. 

But I think there is a larger problem that needs to be solved by these information governance initiatives: the need for governance of the social content  is starting to be generated within organizations at a very rapid pace. Wikis, ad hoc collaborative content, microblogs, and blogs like these typically don’t have good governance policies enforced around them. Those suppliers that provide solutions to address this problem will find themselves in high demand. Those that don’t effectively position themselves for it will be at a great disadvantage due to the rapid growth of social business content. 

Coming up with effective solutions won’t be easy, however. If usability and governance aren’t completely balanced, enforcement will be nearly impossible to achieve. Given the popularity and proliferation of cloud-based models in social computing, it might be an ideal time for the ECM vendors to bring about information governance capabilities as a cloud service.  Furthermore, it will be imperative for (more…)

Using Social Computing to Accelerate ECM Adoption

April 20, 2010

Last week I had a post on 8 ways to accelerate adoption for social computing. In this post, I want to tackle the much harder question; that of accelerating adoption for your enterprise content management (ECM) implementation.

While accelerating adoption of social computing and collaboration (SC&C) is a great opportunity, the inability to accelerate adoption of ECM systems is clearly a significant problem.

Therefore, I wanted to take a slightly different approach to this issue. But before we get into the mechanics on how to accelerate ECM adoption, it might make sense to explore why ECM adoption remains so poor. Below are the top 3 reasons that I believe contribute to the lack of broad scale adoption of ECM: (more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,651 other followers

%d bloggers like this: