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Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
Artificial Intelligence vs. Echo's Eavesdropping and Google's Home Invasion
October 19, 2017
There's a lot of excitement about all the new artificial intelligence technology hitting the market -- like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home smart speakers, among many other products. However, there's also growing concern over how these devices may invade our privacy. Despite the companies' assurances to the contrary, some people worry that they could be listening to every word we utter.
Salesforce's IoT Strategy
October 16, 2017
Salesforce is a large and well-disciplined development company. It's pretty good at marketing too. It continues to innovate in all product areas, from core platform to applications, and the one criticism I'd make is that it's information overload at times. Lately Salesforce has made a big deal of adding its AI product, Einstein, to every application area to provide insights and stack rank options.
Could HP and Dell Get Together Again?
October 16, 2017
Technology companies tend to have very fickle relationships. For instance, Microsoft helped launch Apple, worked to kill the company, provided money to save it, and then got its butt kicked by it. Dell first partnered with EMC, then competed with it, then bought it -- and the CEOs remained friends throughout. Dell and HP have had a rather interesting relationship as well.
Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
October 6, 2017
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside.
Are You Ready for a RoboCEO?
October 5, 2017
Here's a disturbing thought: A RoboCEO powered by artificial intelligence -- possibly based on IBM's Watson -- could be running some companies within the next decade. Not every company will warm to the idea, to be sure, but it's conceivable that the practice could begin. This idea has started to bubble to the surface, with leaders like Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma apparently taking it seriously.
Show Season
October 4, 2017
Autumn officially kicked off about a week ago -- not with some celestial convergence but with show season, with companies like HubSpot and SugarCRM holding conclaves of their faithful. This is traditionally the beginning of attempts at closing the calendar year on a high note, as CRM vendors work to garner customer dollars based on the promises of new technologies unveiled at conferences.
'Invisible' Technologies: What You Can't See Can Hurt You
October 3, 2017
There are times when it seems like technology can work almost too well. Now, if working too well sounds to you like an impossibility, reflect that there's more to a technology than end-user experience. In addition to the experience of using the technology, there are other considerations that play a role: things like maintenance, operations and ongoing support.
Anticipating the Smart World of 2027: A Billion Cameras and AI, Oh My...
October 2, 2017
Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus' Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor.
Digital Hub Returns
September 28, 2017
Digital Hub is not a new idea. It's been percolating for a few years, and its roots can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, where in a cluster of eight buildings, there exists what might be the original hub. In Dublin, it's made up of 97 companies employing 725 people, and it was given a jumpstart by the government in 2003. Elsewhere, we might be more attuned to the idea of a tech incubator.
Innovation Requires Market Enablement
September 26, 2017
In this age of tech industry consolidation, one has to wonder what will happen with the pace of innovation as a few large companies begin to dominate. In personal computers, the WinTel marriage continues to control the technology, while Dell, HP and Lenovo control the devices. Similarly, in smartphones, Apple and Samsung, which both design their own chips and devices, dominate the market, especially in North America.
Einstein Tries Sales Forecasting
September 25, 2017
When Salesforce unveiled sales forecasting with its artificial intelligence tool, Einstein, my immediate reaction was that it should have tried something easier -- like solving global warming. Really, a sales forecast that bears some resemblance to reality has been a grail quest for all of us for many years, and Salesforce is not the first software company to throw its hat in the ring.
Sony's Foolish Failure to Learn From Microsoft's Mistake
September 25, 2017
Microsoft has learned a lot of very hard lessons over the last couple of decades, and it continues to surprise and annoy me that other firms seem to have the suicidal tendency to learn the same lessons the hard way. It is far better and cheaper to avoid the mistakes of others, but firms like Apple, Google and, most recently, Sony seem to want to experience past Microsoft disasters first hand.
Artificial Intelligence, Smart Speakers and You
September 21, 2017
The artificial intelligence speaker war is now being waged, and it is escalating. Today you can choose between Amazon Echo and Google Home. Harman Kardon's Invoke is coming this fall. By the end of the year, Apple's HomePod will be competing in the market, and Samsung has indicated it will join the fray as well. With all these choices, how can you determine which smart speaker is right for you?
Linux: Come for the Kernel, Stay for the Popcorn
September 20, 2017
Linux offers so much for users to sink their teeth into that even among desktop and more casual users, it's easy to get caught up in the tradecraft. It's only too tempting to put your system's technical capabilities to the test by trying out a new program or practicing a new command. As with any other interest, though, Linux is not much fun unless you can revel in it with fellow fans.
Finally Oracle
September 20, 2017
Oracle showed some very good numbers in its latest earnings report. As it begins its second year of aggressive cloud promotion, the company overall is showing significant year-over-year improvements, thanks to its turn to cloud infrastructure, applications and platforms. Yet when read right, the numbers announce the end of the beginning of the end as much as they announce the end of the beginning.
The New iPhones: Apple's Strangely Wrongheaded Pivot
September 18, 2017
It fascinates me that succession from a successful CEO to the chosen successor almost always goes badly. This phenomenon isn't limited to the CEO level -- I've seen highly successful CMOs followed by handpicked successors who also seem to have no clue as to why their predecessor did so well. I think it comes down to a lack of mentoring combined with misconceptions.
Russia, Fake News and Facebook: 24/7 Manipulation
September 11, 2017
Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the belief that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation. Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, "fake news" has proliferated.
Gadget Ogling: Samsung's Return, Ultrasonic Tea, and Roaming Fridges
September 9, 2017
In 2016, Samsung's smartphone division wasn't so much on the rocks as dangling by a single fingernail, millimeters from plunging into a deep, dark chasm. The Galaxy Note7 had a terrible habit of exploding or catching fire. Not exactly the best look considering people prefer not to be injured while checking Instagram. The Galaxy Note8 is free of those combustible foibles, we've been assured.
Biggest Obstacle to Business Success: Multicloud Management
September 8, 2017
The rise of Microsoft Azure as a major competitor to AWS has become a mixed blessing for IT managers. Many were pleased to see Microsoft finally become a cloud-first company and build Azure into a viable alternative, but they now are faced with a new set of challenges to make the most of multiple cloud providers. Every indication is that the adoption of cloud services will continue to accelerate.
Why We Should Care More About Who's Watching
September 7, 2017
George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949. When the year 1984 rolled around, Rockwell's haunting song, Somebody's Watching Me, featuring Michael and Jermaine Jackson in the background, made its debut and went on to become a classic. Fast-forward to 2017. Today we are living the creepy life Orwell and Rockwell imagined, with technology increasingly intruding on our privacy.
6 Reasons You Need CPQ
September 6, 2017
Many businesses still don't use configure, price, quote software in their routine sales processes. Maybe they don't need it, but for businesses that still cling to spreadsheet-based approaches to track things like price lists and product catalogs, chances are good that they're dealing with more overhead than they need to. Worse, they're wasting time and therefore money.
Has Google Become a National Threat?
September 4, 2017
The idea that Google might be becoming a national threat is what struck me when I read a column by Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University. She makes a compelling argument that Google has reached a point where it no longer allows dissent outside the company -- though, given the recent firing of a Google engineer, that may be true inside the firm as well.
SIGGRAPH 2017: Virtual Reality Is Alive and Flourishing
September 1, 2017
The SIGGRAPH conference is a year event that focuses on the latest in computer graphics and other interactive arts. It is a multidiscipline show, mixing computer imaging with other physical creations. It is also a crossroads for the film, video game, commercial, research and education industries. It has a forward-looking vision while celebrating the recent and not-so-recent past.
Ten Billion
August 29, 2017
Salesforce announced the partial attainment of one of its long-range goals in its Q2 earnings announcement last week: It eclipsed its goal of a $10 billion run rate. This will be followed by similar announcements over the next year -- first $10 billion year, etc. -- and why not? The company should celebrate. Second quarter revenue hit $2.56 billion, a 26 percent increase year over year.
As New Turnaround King, Is HP Better Than Apple?
August 28, 2017
HP is the new turnaround king -- but is it better than Apple? IBM was the king of tech in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it was the king of turnarounds, after almost going under but coming back from a negative brand equity, which occurs when folks will pay more for a no-name product than one with a negative brand. Apple, at the end of the 90s, was in much the same shape IBM was at the beginning.
Ad Tech's Future Beyond Facebook and Google
August 24, 2017
Advertising technology, or ad tech, is a relatively new business segment. Both Google and Facebook have been very successful with this new advertising model. Going forward, will ad tech be important and rapidly expand to a wider segment, or will it be limited to the way certain companies show value and grow? Advertising has gone through wave after wave of change over the decades.
What Tech Companies Are Doing Wrong With Extremists
August 21, 2017
It is starting to worry me how little the responses by tech firms will do to fix the problem of extreme views instead of just driving them underground. This is largely due to the excessive focus firms now have on how they are run. Companies tend to be run tactically, with officials more likely to make decisions that will seem to make a problem go away but do not deal with the cause of the problem.
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