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5 Enterprise Tech Trends to Watch in 2016

mainframe computerAlso posted to Sonian Blog.

Sonian’s archive, search and analytics platform exists at the intersection of cloud, big data and machine learning. Over the past 8 years we have pioneered many initiatives in order to harness the cloud to solve a hard problem: fast and reliable full-text search and analytics for tens of billions of emails and attachments.

Our greater mission is to help enterprise IT migrate their on-premises systems to the cloud, and we know that archiving and information governance workloads are the first to “move on up to the top.”

We have a knack for identifying enterprise tech trends that are at the beginning of the adoption curve and want to share five trends were monitoring in 2016.

1. IT Becomes the Department of “Yes”

IT’s influence has waned in many organizations because IT, by their own volition, became the “department of no.” Which is ironic since IT previously was the group that brought innovation to their respective businesses. Innovation that gave a competitive advantage. But even IT couldn’t keep up with the pace of innovation in the cloud era and fell victim to legacy thinking and line of business managers found IT obstructing progress. That’s why, Workday, Hubspot, Intacct, etc. took off. In fact there are over 1,400 enterprise SaaS apps that can be procured without IT involvement. Business managers “pushed ” IT aside and implemented their own solutions. But IT is poised to come roaring back to being relevant.

This situation is about to change. IT will reinvent itself in 2016 and become the department of yes.

In fact, the CIO role will be redefined dramatically. CIO historically means Chief Information Officer, but in 2016 that will shift to Chief Innovation Officer. And a new role is emerging called Chief Data Officer. CIO and CDO responsibilities will merge together as part of ITs’ resurgence.

IT departments will be smaller and more efficient. They will focus on the more value-add services and let the “cloud” manage the undifferentiated heavy lifting. No longer is managing a on-premises Microsoft Exchange server a value add. The cloud can deliver commodity-priced email cheaper than self-managed. This means fewer people are needed and their skills need to be upgraded to focus more on the business needs and less on the mundane technical tasks.

It’s the end of “average IT.”

Read more…

3DWACB: 3 Days with a Chromebook


Three Days with a Chromebook.

An 8 minute read.

I have been fascinated with Google’s Chromebook since the original Cr-48 prototype launched in December 2010. Being a Google Apps fanboy, I was attracted to the concept of a “thin client” web OS and hardware platform designed for Google Docs and Gmail. And all centered around Chrome the browser and Chromium the OS. (Where does one end and the other begin?)

But until recently I was a vicarious Chromium enthusiast.

It’s taken almost exactly three years for Chromebooks to emerge as the top-selling inexpensive laptop on Amazon. The newest models are constantly sold out, and replenished quickly. They seem to be catching on as fast as “netbooks” did prior to 2010, but not in a fad-like way. Sub-$400 netbooks had a surge in popularity, but trying to run Windows on an underpowered device was a real let down. Chromebooks appeal to value buyers and the OS works well because it is designed for the hardware.

Over the past year I have purchased and configured Chromebooks for three different scenarios; helped a relative replace an old PC, gave a disabled person access to email and created a dedicated Google Hangout walk-up video kiosk pod. But I never spent much of my own time with a Chromebook.

This week I decided to try a Chromebook and here is what I learned.

Read more…

Apple iPad Pushes Mac OS X Enterprise Adoption

Last week, while meeting with a CIO for an influential private equity firm, I heard my first direct objective evidence that the Apple iPad is influencing enterprise adoption of iMacs and Macbooks. Seems the senior executives of said PE firm have been so delighted with the iPad user experience, they asked the CIO to initiate a rip and replace of Windows XP machines with Apple hardware so that all employees could benefit from the streamlined and more intuitive Apple experience. While Macs were used on a limited basis in this environment, a full-scale conversion was only begun after the iPad had been introduced and so warmly received.

Many pontifications have been written debating whether iPhones and iPads would spur enterprise adoption of other Apple hardware. It seems logical, and now with the ability for Macs to run Wintel apps using virtualization another migration obstacle melted away.

For this PE firm, users can choose Mac Office 2011 or the Windows equivalent. All network identity, printing and shared drives work seamlessly between OS X or the Windows virtual partition.

How ’bout them apples? :)

Paper is Dead, Long Live Paper

Still thinking about the “retro-paper” meme.  Melding notebooks and QR codes, as discussed here at GigaOm, basically creates “a real-world link to a virtual destination.” Neat.

Uniting the “quality paper goods” world of Moleskin, Rhodia  with the virtual world (i.e. anything with a URL) is a fascinating idea. Anoto tried this with their digital dot technology, but you had to use their electronic pen (bulky+expensive) and their paper (just expensive). Levenger and Evernote can probably take this meme from idea to a suite of real products.

Consolidated List “Big Data” Engineering Team Blogs

I answered this question on Quora and also wanted to share a list of engineering team blogs that I follow. The theme is “big data” management in a cloud or SaaS environment.

Follow the quora here:

Yelp ::
Twitter ::
Facebook ::
Yammer ::
LinkedIn ::
Netflix ::
BankSimple ::
EngineYard ::

2011 New Year Intentions

My 2011 Intentions:

:: Join ToastMasters

:: Add strength training to existing exercise routine

::  Organize my bookmarks and RSS feeds

:: Stay fewer nights in home-away-from-home hotel rooms (2010 total: 100 nights)

:: Replace my daily-driver Jeep with a  turbo-diesel VW or Audi

:: Choose an iPad or Android tablet

:: Attend 12 interesting technology conferences, speak or present at least 6 times

:: Master HTML5

:: Drink more water

Chrome’s “Pin Tab” is hidden greatness

Chrome is the best browser by far. It benefits from all we have learned from Netscapce, countless IE & Firefox versions, and specialty browsers like Flock.

It seems not many people know about the “Pin Tab” feature. Pin tab lets you choose any open tab and “pin it” to the left with just the site icon showing. Saves space, and makes the tab window permanent. Meaning each time the browser is started the site will open.

I use Pin Tab to keep the half-dozen web apps I use hourly and daily accessible with one click, while not crowding out ohter tabbed windows.

As shown, my email, contacts, calendar, Gdocs, Twitter and AgileZen apps are always available and still leaving lots of room for my other sites I visit ad-hoc throughout the day.

Mike Maples’ Thunder Lizards

Great post on Techcrunch referring to Mike Maples great talk last week at the Future Of Funding event in Silicon Valley.

View the presentation video for the full experience, but I really like the concept of the “thunder lizard” – the agile, capital efficient start-up, disrupting a market full of “Godzilla” companies. Sonian is one such company, and we’re doing our best to disrupt a market with established over-priced offerings.

Great inspiration for us companies using cloud computing and SaaS: where a small team can solve a big problem for a big audience without having to be the size of a Godzilla.

Recylced Museum Banners = Great Office Art

IMG_0261 sells recycled museum outdoor banners which are great for impressive looking wall-sized office art.

Each banner has a front and back (picture these fastened to street light poles 30 feet in the air).

I like these because if we move offices the wall art travels with us, as opposed to a painted surface.


New Office Wall Art

Lots of great activity at Sonian. I found this British World War 2 “morale” image and used to create a large 3×4 foot wall hanging for our office space. The deep, rich red and “reassuring” message appeals to me, and I hope for everyone.