|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|August 30, 2014 12:15 PM EDT||
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:
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.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Nov. 28, 2014 05:00 PM EST Reads: 2,127
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 2,109
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 PM EST Reads: 2,176
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 2,316
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 2,196
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 27, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 2,206
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Nov. 27, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,028
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Nov. 27, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,021
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Nov. 27, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 2,027
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 2,124
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 2,196
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 2,163
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 2,247
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,832
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,918
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 26, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,154
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,315
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 2,064
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,437
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 2,298