IBM Announces Updates to SmartCloud Foundation

IBM recently announced new offerings under its SmartCloud Foundation, many of them in response to some notable statistics around cloud computing adoption by enterprises.

According to a study published recently by IBM, the number of enterprises who use cloud computing to transform their existing business model will more than double in the next three years. The shift seems to be occurring away from viewing cloud as a means for gaining efficiencies and cost savings and toward using cloud to transform business models and drive new revenue streams. A recent IBM Institute for Business Value study found that 90 percent of enterprises expect to adopt or deploy cloud services of some sort by 2015. The impact of this adoption rate will be significant.

For more details on the impact, consult my recent IT Briefcase column on IBM’s SmartCloud Foundation.


Facebook for Business

Social Media within the organization can be two-fold: using social media to reach and interact with customers or using social media technologies inside the four walls to encourage collaboration among employees. Many of the recent posts I’ve made regarding social media have focused on the latter, or how enterprise social media technology is impacting businesses. Today, I’m taking the other view, how social media giant, Facebook, is engaging with businesses to promote new ways for them to interact with their customers.

Last week, Facebook announced new updates to its Pages, specifically for Brand pages… (read the rest of the Facebook for Business article at IT Briefcase.)


SharePoint vs. BPM – Which One’s Right for You?

Sometimes the challenge is knowing what to use when. It’s not just whether a technology will work as a solution, it’s whether a particular technology is actually the best solution for you needs.For example, organizations considering using SharePoint to facilitate a business process might be in great shape. Or, they might be better off considering a dedicated BPM solution for their problem. This week’s IT Briefcase column on BPM vs. SharePoint tells the whole story…


IBM Acquisition of Green Hat and the APM Market

In early 2012, IBM acquired Green Hat to round out its own cloud-based testing offering. The acquisition, which completed January 11, 2012, gives further validation to the growing market of virtual cloud testing. Green Hat’s solution creates a virtual testing environment for developers that can simulate a range of IT infrastructure elements. It becomes a continuous test environment and enables developers to test software earlier and more often throughout the typical software development lifecycle. Read our IT Briefcase column on IBM and the cloud testing market for the complete story.


Business Intelligence Brings Light to Corporate Performance

When it comes to politics some have said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. It’s pretty much the same when it comes to business. Routing out poor performing products, services, or business lines takes the ability to shine a light on them. That’s where business intelligence (BI) is increasingly coming in.

Business intelligence has performed well as a corporate housecleaning agent – reducing the inefficiencies related to manual data entry for report creation and corporate ‘Excel farms’ creating one-off reports to satisfy individual stakeholders. Now it’s time for business intelligence to move closer to its ultimate goal of shedding light on all the dark corners of an enterprise’s data stores. New technologies, such as mobile accessibility, and better integration capabilities that can extract and normalize data from multiple, disparate legacy systems are features of the latest crop of business intelligence tools that reveal the promise for companies to seek a previously unavailable level of insight into their businesses, and drive top-line growth along with the standard cost-savings associated with BI and analytic tools.

Read our full IT Briefcase column on the value that business intelligence can deliver to corporations.


Enablon Enables Enterprise Social Networking For Sustainability

We’ve written a lot about both enterprise social networking and sustainability. But now we’re seeing the emergence of enterprise social networking tools for furthering sustainability initiatives.

For example, Enablon, a leader and ten-year veteran in corporate sustainability solutions, recently launched Wizness (wise business). Wizness is a social networking platform that seeks to help companies promulgate and share information on sustainability issues throughout their supply chains. It includes company-specific profiles that can be created and managed to filter news-based content around sustainability. It also includes expert communities on a variety of sustainability topics, forums for sharing best practices, and the ability to track metrics on a company’s sustainability performance.

Read our recent IT Briefcase article for more information on Enablon, Wizness, and social networks for sustainability.

Upside Research believes that Wizness is a brilliant idea for furthering sustainability efforts within a specific industry. The key challenge to its success will be for Enablon to attract the key thought leaders in the various topic areas of sustainability to participate in the Wizness communities, and share best practices and information about industry-specific


IBM Ups Its Cloud Commitment

IBM recently upped its commitment to cloud computing, with an announcement of a portfolio of private cloud offerings. The offerings have been designed from the ground up for enterprises, and seek to eliminate some of the concerns that large enterprises have over the security and readiness of the cloud for business-critical computing.

The offering, called the SmartCloud Foundation portfolio, includes a core set of private cloud functions that are based on IBM’s significant volume of client engagements and its management of cloud-based transactions for enterprise customers. It is designed to appeal to the demand by enterprise clients for secure, private cloud resources as they seek to transition from virtualization toward cloud infrastructures.

Read our IT Briefcase column on IBM’s updated cloud offerings.


Extrahop Application Performance Management

With all types of applications moving to the cloud, it’s never been more important for organizations to consider their application performance management strategy. In fact, new approaches to application performance management such as ones offered by ExtraHop Networks offer organizations a way to ensure their applications are performing and scaling at the speeds needed.

ExtraHop is packaged as a network appliance that provides passive, real-time transaction-level analysis for application delivery assurance. ExtraHop’s appliance approach provides some interesting differentiators from its software-only competitors. Because the product comes ready to install, ExtraHop can be deployed in a data center in under a day. Its agentless technology provides automatic discovery of devices and applications and is a passive network component. The product is affordable, with a per-appliance cost that includes the necessary software. The largest of the two versions of ExtraHop supports up to 10GB of processing, making it fairly economical to deploy across large data processing environments. Companies like Alaska Airlines, The Seattle Times Company , and Applied Discover/Lexis Nexis are utilizing ExtraHop’s product to pinpoint and troubleshoot the root cause of application performance problems.

Read our application performance management column at IT for the complete rundown on ExtraHop and other application performance management solutions.


Enterprise Social Media Tools

We’ve blogged in the past about the growing importance of Enterprise Social Media tools. Well, the market continues to grow and change, so we’ve put together a round up of some of the important enterprise social media players to help CIOs understand the dynamics of the market and how each of the vendors are attempting to distinguish themselves in a crowded space. The first segment of our overview of Enterprise Social Media players covers some of the fresh, new faces that have helped define the social media space. Future segments will cover a few more of the trailblazers in social media, followed by some of the enterprise software vendors’ entries in this exciting market.