There's not enough Dev in DevOps

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The 2014 technology marketing manual page #65718 advocates that IT vendors of all disciplines culture and refine a positioning statement on the portmanteau DevOps.

DevOps (as a combination of Developer & Operations) is widely talked up by:

a) firms selling software orchestration services who like this new label
b) software automation and management specialists
c) so-called specialist DevOps consultants
d) firms who like the idea that DevOps is media-chic and want to get in on the act
e) the Devon Operatic Society cream teas division, who coincidentally share use of the term

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DevOps is less widely talked up by:

a) core software application development professionals
b) deep dive programmers
c) Agile specialists who see their manifesto as already accommodating for change
d) programming and code centric website

So you get the idea i.e. there's a lot of spin in DevOps.

The CW Developer Network therefore approaches some of the industry's end of year DevOps comments with a highly sceptical eye and has (we hope) featured only those who have embraced the DEVELOPER end of the DevOps debate.

Chris Jackson, CTO of DevOps services, Rackspace

First up, its Chris Jackson, CTO of DevOps services at managed cloud company Rackspace.

Jackson says that in 2015, DevOps will get practical and real as it looks to bigger enterprises -- and that we should see that. already, the majority of the real DevOps implementation success stories are still coming from small and medium sized organisations.

"In 2015, I'm looking for the first high-profile FTSE-250 organisation with large compliance or audit requirements to use DevOps and demonstrate how to help overcome the complexities of working with highly sensitive data with more cloud and automation. These organisations with more complex internal structures will realise it's not just the relationship between developers and operations that matters. It could be the relationship between developers and corporate security, or between operations and sales. Applying the principles of DevOps to other relationships in the business will help large enterprises come out with a really successful DevOps story," said Jackson.

(Ed -- he specifically said 'developer' twice, he missed mentioning 'code' or 'software', but it's good)

Simon Crosby, CTO and co-founder, Bromium

"DevOps today is an emergent reality that has grown from the need for application developers on IaaS clouds like AWS to operate their apps in practice - as well as writing them of course. That's because there is no IT function to operate many such apps. But DevOps in an enterprise segment is not a natural fit. IT is chartered with Ops, security and compliance and the Devs are not that familiar with IaaS or Ops. So there will be a lot of push and shove as next-gen, cloud first apps are built and deployed in production. And the Ops folk will have a lot to say - perhaps rightly the most to say - because Devs are bad at the hard, long tail problems of Ops."

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Image credit: AppDynamics

TK Keanini, CTO, Lancope

"DevOps is just another step in the evolution of software development. Since the very beginning, companies fundamentally want to deliver products and services at a higher quality and in a more timely manner. As technologies changes, so do organisational charts and processes: DevOps is a way to structure process around changes in the deployments models and meet the demands of the marketplace who wants things faster, better, and more secure."

"Call it DevOps or anything you want, if you want to be more adaptive to threat and market changes, one thing is certain, you can't keep use the old methodology where you shrink-wrapped or appliance-wrapped software. The name DevOps suggest that it is just about erasing much of the line that was drawn separating Development and Operations but lines in the organizational chart must also disappear or be redrawn with a dotted line: product marketing, legal, PR, etc. If you focus more on the customers' needs and desires, and less on what things are called, you will meet your objectives for your business."

James Brown, director of solutions architecture EMEA, Alert Logic

"Looking at the current DevOps landscape, it is weighted towards change in the management and orchestration software - however that is where it needs to be. Developers are by very nature people who are inquisitive and like to take a complex problem and solve it, make it easier. Reuse and automation are heart of development, and have been since the very beginning.Ops however comes from a very different world. This is a world of process, caution, change freezes, documented changed requests. In triplicate. And the software that they have been using to do their jobs over the last few decades matches that."

"DevOps is about bringing these two worlds together to live in perfect harmony, to allow a more agile and flexible approach to designing and delivering software. This means companies can iterate fast and produce Apps and Software that amazes people and changes the way that we live. People talk about DevOps being about bringing Developers and Operations folk together so that they can work better together. However the reality is, it is all about getting operations teams and the software they are running out of the brittle world they used to live in, into a more agile world that shows that IT can be an enabler not a millstone around the neck of the business."

7 reasons to love the BlackBerry Passport

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Okay so hands up, guilty as charged, I didn't think I would be writing this post.

As a lifelong BlackBerry user I never 'rubbished' the Alicia Keys reinvention years and the decline of the brand, but I did turn away from an old friend and adopt the use of an Android and Windows Phone with gusto as I joined the band of ex-BlackBerry pickers.

Passport pleasures

1 -- So then, the BlackBerry Passport with a large square 4.5-inch screen. Oh dear it's too wide and big right? No, it's not -- you don't have to be Coco the clown to fit this into your pocket and the touch-enabled QWERTY keyboard works just fine.

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But what it REALLY does well is (and you won't believe this) email.

As an "information worker" (if I may be so bold) who needs to READ (and then, shock horror, write a lot) this is a bit of a relief to see something smaller than a tablet or phablet, but with enough screen real estate to actually get things done.

As some commentators have written already - don't believe the naysayers and haters. Yes it's niche and one-handed operation takes some learning!

But so what?

It's nicely niche for the number one two-handed core productivity application on the planet -- and yes there are maps and space invaders if you want them for goodness sake.

2 -- It's like riding a bike. If you have been training yourself on Android and Windows Phone like me but you USED to use BlackBerry, it's not hard to pick it back up. The BlackBerry HUB introduced in the last OS upgrade is still there and, in general, the access route to applications and settings is faster than on other devices.

3 -- The option to install and run Android applications via SNAP is good and the battery life is second to none. I think you could go away for the weekend without charging it -- but you would probably want to restrict yourself to email only.

In fact, it is the 'purity' of QNX operating system underneath the BlackBerry that (for many) makes it a Microsoft beater if you accept that Microsoft has been trying to 'spread Windows 8 too thin' across desktops and tablets to try and make them behave the same way; what BlackBerry did was to concentrate on building an enterprise mobile backend and operating system layer proposition that was truly impressive. Okay it might have been like sticking a Ferrari engine in a Trabant if you didn't like the BlackBerry Z10 handset (and I didn't), but the Passport can arguably reach a higher top speed.

QNX does a lot of smart things in areas like memory protection so that software applications can function with 'reloadable process' and 'adaptive partitioning' -- and developers like this kind of granular control of drivers and file system attributes.

4 -- BlackBerry spoke to the Computer Weekly Developer Network blog to detail what has happened with what it calls "a major OS update" which brings together a refreshed visual design along with dozens of new features.

All new features are designed to boost productivity, collaboration, communication and security, or so they say.

According to BlackBerry, "Highlights include: BlackBerry Blend, which allows you to access messages and content from your BlackBerry smartphone on your computer and tablet; a text and voice BlackBerry Assistant to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls and more. Instant Actions in Hub makes email management more efficient so that the a user can quickly file, delete or flag messages. An enhanced Calendar UI with views improved for day, week, month appointments showing events and tasks where notifications will automatically go on silent mode for the duration of a meeting."

5 -- It's true that BlackBerry World isn't as populated as the Apple Store or Google Play, but the fact that the device first boots up with just a small selection of apps including Dropbox. But this is a business user device and you don't want six screen's worth of application bloatware just for the bling factor if you are running a small business (okay mine is just a partnership plus an occasional +1) and want to get stuff done.

6 -- BlackBerry has BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) division at the backend doing what it does and gaining more respect by the day.

I have personally followed CEO of BlackBerry John Chen since his time at Sybase (remember Sybase?) this division's relative health is clearly something that makes him happy.

"[BlackBerry's BES division] delivers comprehensive EMM, communication and collaboration, and identity and access solutions to adapt to changing needs," said the firm.

7 -- BlackBerry still has a solid software application developer proposition at http://developer.blackberry.com/ and the firm is (arguably) more fully developed in this area than others in the Android arena -- despite Android's obvious dominance at mass-market user level.

Is BlackBerry still out on its own (or out in the cold)?

The Passport will support devices running Mac Apple OS X 10.7 and iOS 7, Windows 7 and Android 4.4 or later -- so interaction and integration in the workplace shouldn't be too painful.

... and finally, the REFRESH function for email synchronisation works better than in days of old -- and guess what, that's an email related function again.

Would I be seen dead with a BlackBerry Passport? Yes - and alive too, thanks for asking.

HP and the giant big data beanstalk

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By 2020 there will be a x50 increase in the volume of data (a lot of it big) that we need to manage... and, of course, this increase brings with it new and bigger security challenges -- this was part of the opening address delivered by HP CEO Meg Whitman at her firm's HP Discover 2014 event in Barcelona.

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HP's time is a changin'

Whitman said that HP has turned a corner is now, "Coming back really strong on a clear path where we have done much of the heavy lifting needed to keep us at the forefront of our industry."

She says there is some real evidence of this being so as the firm is now engaging in R&D investments up 10% year on year.

Ceaseless information flows

Whitman's "new computing architectures" (as she puts it) see the company reverberate around a central message where users can "thriving in the face of ceaseless information flows" today.

Spending a brief while talking about the new structure of HP with some of the divisional segmentation that the firm has gone through since its founders started the firm in a garage, Whitman suggested:

"You can now think of us as a two-garage family."

HP Enterprise Services + HP Inc. = HP

As the new bi-divisional HP now moves forward, the firm will continue its focus on big data, security and services.

Whitman says that we should not consider the road ahead as one fraught with challenges - instead, it is one filled with what she calls "abundant opportunity" today.

"We need IT that brings customer experiences forward, but also technology that increases employee productivity while also reducing costs and (if needed) also managers mergers and wider strategic business activity," she said.

On the product side then, HP unveiled HP Haven OnDemand during the show.

The company also unveiled new enterprise products and services that it hopes will enable customers to transform operations across the datacenter to enable growth, improve profitability and increase business agility .

So what does that mean?

According to HP, "Infrastructure is the foundation for the rich, impactful next-generation applications, web services and user experiences that are enabled by trends in big data, cloud, mobility and security. As the business requirements for infrastructure multiply at an exponential rate in coming years, a strong foundation will be more important than ever to help customers compete and succeed."

The products in focus here include:

Servers: HP Integrity Superdome X and HP Integrity NonStop X, which promise to allow customers to deploy mission-critical workloads in a scalable, available and cost-efficient x86 environment.

Storage: Faster and more flexible converged storage with a new portfolio of multi- protocol flash-optimised HP 3PAR StoreServ systems featuring flat backup to HP StoreOnce -- not a subject we cover on the Computer Weekly Developer Network blog, but mentioned here for completeness.

"The new style of IT requires organisations to have a technology infrastructure in place that drives innovation and business outcomes," said Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager, HP Enterprise Group.

"Today, HP is bringing to market innovations across our enterprise portfolio that will enable our customers to capture new possibilities for profitability and growth, while reducing datacentre costs and risk."

Converged Systems: Also newly announced was new software-defined converged infrastructure portfolio powered by HP OneView, HP Helion CloudSystem CS200-Hyper-Converged StoreVirtual, and HP ConvergedSystem 700 merges converged infrastructure, hyper-convergence, and software-definition to manage workloads in infrastructure as a service (IaaS), cloud, mobility, and big data.


Image credit: Event Prop Hire

HP Discover: how big data developers use HP Software & HP Haven OnDemand

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Computer Weekly has reported on the 'look and feel' (and flavour perhaps) for those lucky enough to attend the HP Discover Europe 2014 conference held in Barcelona this week.

With a set of "polished" keynotes designed to win over the hearts and minds of customers, industry partners and anyone with a vested interest in the new and forthcoming split-division iteration of HP, CEO Meg Whitman said the the company was now more stable, with an enhanced products and services catalogue reflecting what it terms the "new style of IT".

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Favourite phrases: business transformation & new style of IT

Yes HP likes its enterprise-friendly "business transformation & new style of IT" terms and it likes its systems and policies, but there is serious software engineering message behind the corporate gloss that doesn't always come across at first glance.

The firm's HP Software division now exists not to produce software applications down to runtime, library and components levels as such (although its engineers obviously are comfortable with such granular detail)...

...instead we should think of HP Software as an infrastructural proposition that exists to architect and manage software based upon HP's breadth of enterprise experience.

HP Haven OnDemand, for big data programmers

In terms of new news from the software division, HP used the show to unveil HP Haven OnDemand, an element of its big data play to give users cloud-based access to components of HP's own analytics platform.

HP Haven OnDemand, which runs on the HP Helion cloud (obviously) analyses all forms of data, including business data, machine data, and unstructured, human information.

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Developers can use this web service to create applications and services.

EVP of HP Software used his keynote address to explain that HP has broken down big data into three types:

1. Business information - this is where Business Intelligence (BI) data was born and is the heart of the ERP system

2. Machine data - log files, clickstream information that is vast in quantity but extremely difficult to analyse. We know that traditional BI tools won't keep up with this level of complexity s0 we need more specialist fine grained tools that will be able to look at massive log files and look for anomalies.

3. Human information - email traffic, videos, photos etc. is also vast in quantity, massively unstructured and spiralling upwards all the time.

HP also announced that it will embed its Haven assets deeper into the HP Software application portfolio with new offerings that use big data analytics to help businesses power information governance and compliance and achieve greater levels of information security.

"To succeed in today's marketplace, businesses must be able to leverage all forms of data, at high speed and in context, in order to capitalise on emerging opportunities and manage risk and costs," said Youngjohns.

"With today's announcement, we are making our big data platform more accessible and adaptable than ever before, giving customers, partners, and developers an unmatched set of assets that can help them create winning, data-driven businesses."

Aruba: what Heathrow could learn from the San Francisco 49ers

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Amazingly, the 2015 technology conference season isn't over yet.

With HP Discover in Barcelona and Le Web in Paris still to come, the battle for public WiFi access will continue for another couple of weeks yet.

Amazingly also, it is easier to get free WiFi on semi-deserted beaches in Madeira or in Sardenia's Olbia airport than it is in London Heathrow, but we live in hope.

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Is the situation improving?

We are seeing technologies come forward such as Aruba's Mobility-Defined Networks technology. This is software designed to automate performance optimisation and security that adds controls with real-time data about users, devices, apps and the location of a network.

Aruba's Meridian is a mobile-app software platform designed to deliver location-relevant information such as indoor mapping, turn-by-turn directions, venue-specific information, and proximity-based notifications to mobile-app users.

The sophistication levels are rising.

The firm's product set features the Aruba Mobile Engagement Solution -- this lets venues engage with guests by offering them high-performance WiFi access via a custom-branded web portal, as well as through location-aware mobile apps that deliver onsite search, indoor wayfinding (Ed -- Aruba's own term, we think!) and personalised push-notifications based on who they are and where they are.

Which would you prefer?

A custom-branded web portal for WiFi with indoor wayfinding, or a bounce around Heathrow's paltry set of services?

The solution uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to provide passive, granular location-based information to consumers' mobile devices.

NOTE: According to a recent Business Insider report, there is an estimated 570 million Android and Apple smartphones in-use that are compatible with BLE.

Aruba says that consumer adoption of "beacons" is leading to 16.5 times more app usage in-store and a 6.4 times increase in app user retention.

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Mini Case Study

The new home of the San Francisco 49ers and one of the world's most advanced open-air sports and entertainment venues, Levi's Stadium seats 68,500 spectators inside a 1.85 million square foot facility. Levi's Stadium's state-of-the-art network was built on Aruba mobility technology to deliver exclusive content, venue information and wayfinding services to visiting fans. The beacons have a few advantages. Among them is a three-stage opt-in process that's designed to protect users' privacy and ease concerns about being tracked via WiFi. The firm developed Aruba Mobile Engagement software to help IT managers enable such beacon monitoring through its own Meridian network management console. Aruba also provides a Software Development Kit for building mobile apps that rely on the beacons, such as the app available at Levi's Stadium.

"From a technology perspective, it is imperative that we engineered a network infrastructure that not only delivered ultra-fast connectivity to tens of thousands of fans' mobile devices, but also provided a mobile engagement experience like none other," said Dan Williams, vice president of technology for the San Francisco 49ers.

"By partnering with Brocade for switching and Aruba for mobility, we were able to blaze new ground and create a platform that gave our fans the experience of a personal game day command center in the palm of their hands. Fans can now watch instant replays, receive precise turn-by-turn navigation, and order food directly from their mobile devices. Visitors get to experience the facility and game like never before by greatly enhancing their onsite experience," he added.







Windows 10 Technical Preview, where is the START menu?

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As the Computer Weekly Developer Network blog seeks to track the work of the global community of software application developers working on Microsoft's new operating system, this post is merely meant to serve as some informal additional hands-on reportage.

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For a more fully prepared sequential step-by-step walkthrough of the install process you should read Cliff Saran's Windows 10 Technical Preview: Installing and test drive Build 9841.

First impressions

First impressions then -- "gosh that was easy and fast" wouldn't be overstating it.

The install took around half an hour and worked without a single glitch -- all the stages described in the picture story above presented themselves.

64-bit NOTE: Many users will sensibly opt to install the OS on a partitioned volume, but our installation here was carried out "all in" on a 64-bit Surface 1 machine.

But -- it's not always seamless.

As one journalist told me, "I tried it on an old Dell Latitude tablet. Not even the 32 bit preview would load."

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A few points of interest

If you do install on a tablet (that includes Surface, of course) then you may be wondering when the fabled return of the start menu will actually appear.

For tablets, the "START SCREEN" is enabled by default.

For desktop installation, the "START MENU" is enabled by default.

Perhaps Microsoft's Windows 8 developers still want us to think of the (infuriating for some) start screen as essentially still ideal for tablet use -- well, it's not 'perhaps' is it?

So it's a simple enough process to get your START menu enabled.

  1. Right click on the taskbar (not the desktop) at the bottom of the screen.
  2. You can do this with a pen on a Surface by holding it in place, but a mouse if kind of easier.
  3. Open the bottom PROPERTIES option.
  4. Taskbar and Start Menu Properties will open up.
  5. Select the third tab along labelled Start Menu.
  6. Check the box that reads "Use Start menu instead of Start screen" at the top.
  7. Apply and close.

... and yes there are instabilities, I already have a "Recent Folders" shortcut on my desktop that I can't get rid of, but it's good to be on the Windows 10 journey.


Apple Pay is easy peasy & never cheesy on Payeezy

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Apigee is trying to help developers integrate Apple Pay into their retail and gaming applications.

The company (Apigee) itself is actually an API management and predictive analytics platform specialist -- and Apple Pay (in case you hadn't noticed) is Apple's "mobile digital wallet" for iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

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The company (Apigee again, keep up) is working with payment technology firm First Data's cheekily named Apigee-powered Payeezy.com online ecommerce payments platform, which gives merchants access to Apple Pay.

Obviously there's now a big demand to integrate payments within apps, which means opening up payments platforms to the developer community -- so First Data is doing this with Apigee's API platform.

NOTE: Apigee is API gee for API management i.e. API as in Application Programming Interface, get it?

"There is high consumer demand for apps that can immediately support new mobile technology," said Chet Kapoor, CEO of Apigee.

"Through an API-centric approach, First Data's Payeezy.com makes it easy and fast for software developers to build apps that support the new single-touch mobile payment capabilities for Apple Pay."

Spell the facts out please

First Data is a global payment processing company serving six million merchant locations, thousands of card issuers and millions of consumers worldwide.

Payeezy.com is an eCommerce platform that provides an online tool for developers to deliver secure online and mobile payments.



Payeezy.com utilises the Apigee API platform, and First Data was able to significantly accelerate project development and time to market for Payeezy with Apigee. Through APIs, First Data is empowering developers to rapidly design apps for Apple Pay and new mobile payments.



Apigee Edge is an API platform to securely expose and manage data at large scale.

"Apigee Edge is purpose-built for the digital economy, delivering technology businesses need to manage the digital value chain from API exposure to API consumption - and to measure the success of an API program with end-to-end analytics.

Edge includes three components:

API Services,
Developer Services and
Analytics Services.

Apple Pay is easy peasy & never cheesy on Payeezy

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Apigee is trying to developers integrate Apple Pay into their retail and gaming applications.

The company (Apigee) itself is actually an API management and predictive analytics platform specialist -- and Apple Pay (in case you hadn't noticed) is Apple's "mobile digital wallet" for iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

1APIs for Dummies_0.png

The company (Apigee again, keep up) is working with payment technology firm First Data's cheekily named Apigee-powered Payeezy.com online ecommerce payments platform, which gives merchants access to Apple Pay.

Obviously there's now a big demand to integrate payments within apps, which means opening up payments platforms to the developer community -- so First Data is doing this with Apigee's API platform.

NOTE: Apigee is API gee for API management i.e. API as in Application Programming Interface, get it?

"There is high consumer demand for apps that can immediately support new mobile technology," said Chet Kapoor, CEO of Apigee.

"Through an API-centric approach, First Data's Payeezy.com makes it easy and fast for software developers to build apps that support the new single-touch mobile payment capabilities for Apple Pay."

Spell the facts out please

First Data is a global payment processing company serving six million merchant locations, thousands of card issuers and millions of consumers worldwide.

Payeezy.com is an eCommerce platform that provides an online tool for developers to deliver secure online and mobile payments.



Payeezy.com utilizes the Apigee API platform, and First Data was able to significantly accelerate project development and time to market for Payeezy with Apigee. Through APIs, First Data is empowering developers to rapidly design apps for Apple Pay and new mobile payments.



Apigee Edge is an API platform to securely expose and manage data at large scale.

"Apigee Edge is purpose-built for the digital economy, delivering technology businesses need to manage the digital value chain from API exposure to API consumption - and to measure the success of an API program with end-to-end analytics.

Edge includes three components:

API Services,
Developer Services and
Analytics Services.

How risky is human data?

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Forget unstructured data, we must now consider human-generated unstructured data.

Varonis Systems is keen on this human data term.

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The company has launched its Unstructured Data Risk Assessment as a professional services offering to identify areas where sensitive data is potentially exposed -- so that we can then implement controls.

Varonis Veep Ken Spinner says that many data-centric developers struggle with understanding the risks associated with their rapidly growing volumes of unstructured data.

What is human data?

"These are the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, media files and other business data stored in file servers and NAS devices. These include critical and often sensitive or confidential data assets and in many cases no one is aware that this information is widely accessible, often by everyone in the company," he said.

With the Varonis Unstructured Data Risk Assessment, we can empower enterprises with actionable insight into how they can best prioritise their use of Varonis technology to improve and automate data security and data management and significantly reduce the possibility of a data breach."

Working in concert with a company's IT staff after the installation of Varonis DatAdvantage, Varonis Professional Services personnel collect and analyse metadata from key infrastructure components and return a detailed, written analysis to be reviewed.

The scope of the assessment can be customised and typically includes detail on areas such as:

• Folders exposed to global access groups
• Sensitive files with global access groups
• Folders with inconsistent permissions
• Users with too much access
• Unused, but enabled user accounts

What to expect from NetSuite SuiteConnect 2014

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Okay so here's how to market the cloud computing proposition.

If you have a corporate day for CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, operations executives and everyone else in the stakeholder selection pack... then don't just call it a meeting, brand it with a specific 'event' label.

Something like Cloud Summit 2014, or Virtualisation For Business Disruption is good -- better if you can get the company name in too though.

Next... get your CEO and founder (two different people, ideally) to turn up.

Sort out an agenda and make sure you've booked drinks & nibbles and that you've accommodated for:

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• the gluten intolerant,
• those with nut allergies,
• those with a proclivity for other quirky digestive needs.

We recommend no 'octopus amuse-bouche canapes', it's just way too left of field.

Finally, run an ad in the newspapers deliberately haranguing your competition.

Oh... and if possible, have your CEO's last keynote staged with a session where he or she takes direct pot-shots at big name players such as SAP and Microsoft.

This is NetSuite, this is how they (it) do it... this is the way the company rolls.

... and so it was that NetSuite SuiteConnect 2014 shall come to pass.

Next week sees CEO Zach Nelson's keynote examine how companies are using the cloud to transform operations -- and there promises of real-world success stories of how European businesses are using cloud solutions.

Nelson and founder Evan Goldberg will detail NetSuite's roadmap for the future including new product enhancements.

All just industry showboating?

Perhaps not, there will be 12 educational breakout sessions to further improve cloud expertise.

Among the real techie stuff here are sessions entitled:

High-Tech: Critical Metrics for the High-Value SaaS Business.
Creating a Customer Centric Organisation with Cloud ERP. Deep Dive Demo.
Forecast & Planning Best Practices.

Nelson describes himself as an American Britophile and is plotting to move to the UK for a period early next year to help bed in recent acquisition Venda (the UK commerce technology leader) and to unsettle a large accountancy software related company named after a herb beginning with S.

Editorial disclosure: Adrian Bridgwater has worked as blogger for NetSuite at it's annual SuiteWorld 2014 conference but has no other professional relationship with the company.







TIBCO's holy trinity for 'in the moment' Fast Data

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TIBCO used its annual conference and user symposium this week to launch a new version of its Fast Data platform.

This is claimed to be the only platform on the market that provides all three core capabilities of speedy/fast data analysis:

  1. Integration,
  2. Analytics and,
  3. Event Processing

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The technology proposition here hinges on the creation of an infrastructure layer of technology (hence the use of the term 'platform') that will allow users to interpret, understand and act on all data.

All data?

When TIBCO says ALL data, it is suggesting that its software can span data residing on-premise or in the cloud (or web), data emanating from big data sources, or data coming from the Internet of Things (or other mobile).

"Customers are increasingly being challenged to extract information, analyse insight and make decisions based on huge volumes of data as events occur in order to remain competitive," said the company, in a press statement.

TIBCO CTO Matt Quinn suggests that without the core capabilities of integration, analytics and event processing, customers are left to cobble solutions together.

Queue - the sell for this Fast Data platform.

In the moment data

The firm says that it has now integrated the necessary solutions to empower customers to combine big data with information captured "in the moment" from their own applications, web, cloud and mobile channels, as well as the data coming from the Internet of Things, enabling insights that can be immediately extracted and decisions applied as situations unfold.

The product update breakdown

 Cross platform integration for TIBCO FTL (faster than light) - this product can now be used from TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks for integration or TIBCO StreamBase for events processing.

 Native integration of TIBCO Enterprise Runtime for R with TIBCO StreamBase - TIBCO Enterprise Runtime for R now integrates with TIBCO StreamBase to enable real-time decision making from big data insights.

 TIBCO StreamBase connectors - TIBCO StreamBase now supports a wide range of open source connectors enabling customers to connect, understand and act on the data processed from the Internet of Things.

 TIBCO Live Datamart support for HTML 5 -TIBCO Live Datamart now supports HTML 5 to deliver operational visibility in various forms, from dedicated desktop clients to web and mobile applications.

According to a press statement, "The rise of the Internet of Things and mobile technologies allow organizations to capture data virtually everywhere. With TIBCO Live Datamart, support for HTML 5, decisions makers are operationally aware, wherever they are, through web or mobile applications."

What to expect from TIBCO NOW

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TIBCO NOW is staged this week in San Francisco, so what can we expect?

10 basic facts should cover us off...

Fact #1 -- TIBCO will remind us that its company name is justifiably capitalised and that it stands for The Information Business COmpany.

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Fact #2 -- Company CEO Vivek Ranadivé (विवेक रणदिवे) will talk about his "two-second advantage" data theory and mention his work with the Sacramento Kings in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

NOTE: For European readers: basketball is a game of four quarters where men (or women) bounce a 22 ounce ball between 29.5 and 30 inches in circumference into a steel hoop.

Fact #3 -- The firm will remind us it has just released version 5.6 of its Jaspersoft business intelligence (BI) software.

Fact #4 -- Australian CTO Matt Quinn will be interesting, convivial and (arguably) a good source for quotes.

Fact #5 -- The firm will talk about its new integrated Content Analytics capability in its TIBCO Spotfire Analytics platform.

"Now customers can connect to new sources of unstructured text-based data and discover trends, identify patterns, and derive new business insights for improved decision making. Fully integrated into the Spotfire UI, the new Spotfire product capability powered by Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine (AIE), will deliver fast, comprehensive sentiment, content, and text analytics functionality," said the company, in a press statement.

Fact #6 -- Technical breakout sessions at TIBCO NOW will focus on products such as BusinessWorks 6, ActiveMatrix BPM, StreamBase, Jaspersoft, and Spotfire -- all TIBCO own-brand products.

Fact #7 -- Product VP Lars Bauerle will remind us that the ability to quickly derive insight from human-generated content is quickly becoming a critical business need for organisations looking to understand overall corporate performance.

"With Spotfire Content Analytics, we combine our intuitive visual discovery platform with a powerful content analytics engine to offer a best-in-class product for human-created, unstructured content, regardless of the source or format," said Bauerle.

Fact #8 -- TIBCO decided to drop the previous 'TUCON' name for its annual event based on the need to stress the immediacy factor (i.e. Now) of its technical proposition to the market.

Fact #9 -- These five speakers will present keynotes.

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Fact #10 -- The Barenaked Ladies will play the closing concert -- people will inevitably try and pronounce quite complex lyrics: Chickity China the Chinese chicken, you have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'.


Vserv envisions big smart actionable data

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The CWDN blog team recently met up with Dippak Khurana, co-founder & CEO of mobile marketing platform company Vserv.

Khurana talks about the-called 'smart data revolution' no less.

The smart what?

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Well, yes, exactly - this term has been defined by Cambridge Semantics as data that is discovered, integrated, searched, visualised and analysed differently.

We can say that 'smart data' is more flexible in terms of which models it fits into, easy to interpret by humans and machine, more universal in terms of where it can be mapped out and more repurposable.

Khurana explains that by using a smart data approach, his firm augments user profiles by connecting them with multiple sources like telcos, apps, offline partners and data management platforms (DMPs).

Actionable user personas

Through its proprietary algorithm and 500 million+ unique user profiles, Vserv creates what it calls 'actionable user personas' and identifies intent signals in real-time.

With data on over 50% of the mobile Internet users across the world's emerging markets, Vserv insists that its mission is to empower marketers, app developers, telcos and data providers to derive sharper results.

Emerging acceleration

Vserv, is the only company to have inked partnerships with key telcos in emerging markets like Vodafone, Airtel, Aircel, Globe, Mobifone, and Robi Axiata to accelerate these offerings.

"The businesses of tomorrow will all operate on the simple premise of data - and the smarter that data is, the sharper the results will be," says Dippak Khurana, Co-Founder & CEO, Vserv.

"Using our Vserv Smart Data, marketers are already seeing over 5X growth in the conversion rate. We estimate the Smart Data opportunity entailing e-commerce, in app purchases, mobile operators and mobile advertising to be a USD 260 billion industry currently, across emerging markets alone."

Current mobile ad systems expose most ads to people with little-to-no interest. With smart data, Vserv combines user personas with real-time intent signals to show most relevant ads to users.


IBM's data (architecture) developer gets new tools

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IBM makes a direct play for the "data developer" (or perhaps "data architecture developer") this month at its Insight 2014 conference.

Not quite a formalised term as such, IBM has previously talked about the "developer DBA", who is obviously a close relative if not in fact the same person.

The company is aiming to serve this new worker (by whatever name) with a new generation of data services on the IBM Cloud.

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NOTE: Analytics pays back $13.01 for every dollar spent - 1.2 times more than it did three years ago (Nucleus Research) -- yet, other studies show that data cleaning and preparation takes approximately 80 percent of the total data engineering effort (Taylor & Francis Group).

This above pain point, is what IBM is setting out to tackle.

The new cloud-based services promise options to :

• Simplify and automate the ability to find, refine and prepare data
• Warehouse data in the cloud, making it "instantly" available for analytics
• Curate unstructured data services to increase the confidence in analytics
• Enhance mobile and web applications with embedded analytics

"All the data in the world is useless if you can't put it to work. The new cloud-born services from IBM provide data professionals the ability to deliver data with speed and confidence as the fuel for applications and analytics," said Beth Smith, general manager, Big Data, IBM.

"The ability to source and manage the right data will help keep data management streamlined, while adhering to increasingly stringent regulatory demands, and produce results and analysis of real value."

The new services introduced by IBM claim to be able to provide capabilities to help shift from working on the data to putting data to work for their business.

IBM DataWorks is a set of cloud-based data refinery services that shape, cleanse, match and secure data. The new services enable business users to find, use and contribute data for analysis; application developers to embed data services into new applications; and IT and data professionals to enable self-service data access and instill confidence to act on the data.

IBM dashDB is a cloud-based data warehousing and analytics service with in-memory technology built-in. dashDB keeps infrastructure concerns out of the way of critical and time sensitive analytics. A new integration of dashDB with Cloudant, IBM's NoSQL database as a service (DBaaS), allows Cloudant clients to embed analytics in their applications.

IBM Cloudant - IBM is extending its portfolio with Cloudant Local, an on-premise edition of the fully managed cloud database-as-a-service that enables a fluid hybrid cloud data layer that spans private data centers, mobile devices and third-party cloud providers. This ensures customers can easily reconfigure their cloud data platforms over time to optimise the cost, security, reach and performance.

Mini case study

The power of these capabilities could enable, for example, a ride sharing service company to improve their customers' experience by ensuring their drivers are in the right place at the right time. The company can take taxi trip information, captured in a mobile application running on Cloudant, directly into dashDB, and then use DataWorks to refine and load additional weather and traffic data to provide more insight. With dashDB, Cloudant and DataWorks working together, new insights can be leveraged to improve customer experience and grow revenue.

Watson Curator

IBM also introduced Watson Curator, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that increases confidence in the delivery of quality content collections and governance for IBM Watson Solutions.

For example, an individual insurance risk analyst can quickly review and add context to documents so that many underwriters across the enterprise can get higher quality responses on risk assessments from Watson Engagement Advisor. IBM Watson Curator actively guides subject matter experts -- in this case the risk expert -- through the entire curation process in order to minimise the time and effort required.

Analytical Insight my dear (IBM) Watson

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IBM is reaching out to so-called "data developers" with analytics tools across what is now an increasingly broad portfolio of products - the firm has detailed its news at the Insight 2014 conference.

IBM's cadre of products in this field now include:

• Cognos Business Intelligence,
• SPSS predictive analytics and, of course...
• IBM Watson Analytics.

To be fair, IBM is also reaching out to partners, customers and users at every level with these technologies.

The democratisation banner for all users

Firms today like to release products under what they call a democratisation banner - this simply means that they to see their products used by ALL TYPES OF USERS.

"Developers (and individuals) will have the ability to incorporate data-driven decision making into every business decision," says IBM.

If the programmers (and the users) get these technologies working properly, then (in theory) businesses will be able to use the insights gained from cloud-based analytics solutions to:

• implement new services,
• drive corporate performance,
• and manage governance, risk and compliance.

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Alistair Rennie, general manager for business analytics at IBM says that his firm has also announced five so-called "solution accelerators" for data professionals:

Customer Insight - to support sales, marketing and service.
Operations Insight - info on the condition and performance of assets to optimise operations and provide predictive maintenance and drive process efficiencies.
Security and Fraud Insight - for "situational awareness" to enable faster response and early warning of potential anomalies.
Risk and Compliance Insight - to better manage financial risk, operational risk and compliance.
Data Warehouse Modernization Projects - for quicker access to information generated across the enterprise.

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The program will provide clients access to pre-integrated software solutions and industry and technology-specific services expertise that is designed to enable businesses across a range of industries to incorporate five different types of data-driven insights to improve business performance.

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence on Cloud is currently in beta and is planned to be available in the first quarter of 2015. IBM SPSS Modeler is planned to be available via IBM's Cloud marketplace within 30 days.








IBM (superhero) intelligence cybercrime analytics

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IBM has announced new high-speed analysis and criminal investigation software.

The product is designed to uncover hidden criminal threats buried deep inside massive volumes of disparate corporate data.

Non-obvious relationships, it's complicated

IBM i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis (EIA) is said to be able to find "non-obvious relationships" masked within hundreds of terabytes of data and trillions of objects.

The firm's challenge to data developers (an increasingly prevalent term overheard at the Impact 2014 conference) is that they should now be able to fuse together multiple data sources and gain visibility into threats.

Hidden covert operations, for months at a time

Citing research from the US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), IBM says that cybercriminals have the ability to hide their covert activity for months after an attack.

The company insists that i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis (EIA) analyses huge amounts of disparate data to discover weak-signal relationships that reveal the true nature and source of an attack.

"The solution unravels these hidden connections that can be divided by as many as six degrees of separation between disparate sources - from corporate records and social media chatter to data accessed by remote sensors and third-party applications. As developments unfold, EIA provides always-on recommendations that proactively alert analysts to new related abnormalities at the speed of attack," said the company.

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Maria Vello, president and CEO of The National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA) says that threat analysts and investigators need the ability to look at every possible data set and relationship - no matter how distant or unrelated they may seem - and be able to make key associations and correlations in seconds.

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According to Bob Griffin, general manager, i2, Threat and Counter Fraud, IBM, "With IBM i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis, we've changed the ability of investigators to find that illusive needle in a haystack that helps them detect a cyber attack. This provides any organization with always-on analytics that turns massive amounts of data into real-time insights in a way that simply wasn't possible before."

What to expect from IBM Insight 2014

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The first rule of technical conferences is: conferences start before the conference.

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Generally on social media and also in terms of events often now labelled as "day zero" gatherings, we know that events start before they start.

IBM's big blue data

What was once called IBM Information on Demand (IoD) is now called IBM Insight.

Insight works better right -- after all, let's consider the accepted flow of information today...

i. internet of things & wearables & sensors
ii. big data
iii. analytics
iv. IBM Watson
v. insight

Somehow replacing point v. with Information on Demand doesn't work anymore.

Surely it could have been called IBM Analytics -- but that makes a better hashtag so there you go:

#IBMInsight
#WatsonAnalytics

The conference is will bring together more than 13,000 attendees, 300 customer and business partner speakers and many IBM executives and what IBM likes to call "distinguished engineers" (and they actually always are) to discuss big data and analytics.

During the show, IBM will unveil new products and services while highlighting new client success stories. IBM executives will also provide attendees with the skills (and... wait for it...) the "insight" and resources necessary to understand how to effectively tackle big data for competitive advantage.

So onward to the sessions...

How to make real-time decision making real -- may be the biggest challenge for any organisation seeking to obtain the greatest value and insight to improve business performance from volumes of data at its disposal says IBM.

IBM promises to discuss the relevance and role of analytics across different lines of business.

"Supported by IBM client examples, we'll show how business leaders are capitalising on big data and analytics to transform their industries, and changing their customer's experience," says the firm.

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Speaker microphones and clips are pre-baked & ready to go/eat

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The stage is set: but will IBM offer up spin or substance?

How to build a community application platform

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Social reality number #1: companies today need individual employees to be ambassadors of the firm's brand.

Social reality number #2: the job title 'head of community' is now very real.

Social reality number #3: the IT industry is selling software to build professionally branded and 'gamified' communities.

Why the reality check?

Because Jive Software has announced the fall (they're American, they just mean November) cloud release of its JiveX external community platform.

The software is an 'external community application platform' designed to be used for building partner and customer engagement communities.

JiveX works to give community managers (and participant users) ROI-focused analytics and so-called "brand affinity" with interactions across both mobile and web.

"In the digitally connected world, an engaging community for customers and partners is a business imperative. However, in order to unlock the true potential of these communities, brands need to deliver user experiences that create meaningful engagements and interactions with their audiences," said Clara Liang, chief product officer, Jive Software.

"Our latest update to the JiveX platform provides companies with even more ways to put their users first, enabling brands to better encourage and increase participation and discussions within the community," she added.

By showcasing 'top and relevant' activities, users can scan for the most important posts, questions, announcements and discussions.

New role badges provide a visual cue of a user's role (such as community administrators, moderators, experts and champions) so members can easily associate what someone is saying to their role in the community.

With new 'Most Helpful' ratings, users can effectively identify the most helpful replies to questions with a yes or no vote to guide other community members more quickly to which content was the best and most helpful.

With new ROI analytics, community managers can access new reports providing quantitative data enabling them to demonstrate the value of their community.

Community managers can now take advantage of new simplified management capabilities to customize their community's mobile browsers to deliver the best browsing experience possible while providing the same flexible layouts equivalent to the desktop experience.

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Social reality number #4: a real company being social

"At Sidecar, our community is arguably one of the most important elements of our business - providing a shared voice among our corporate offices, network of drivers and our valued customers especially on mobile devices," said Maria Ogneva, head of community, Sidecar.

Sidecar is marketplace for people to give (and get) rides from their mobile phone

Ogneva says that she uses this software to 'encourage and empower' each individual employee to be ambassadors of the firm's brand.

Social reality number #5: Jive CEO Tony Zingale is nothing if not social.

Social reality number #6: Social systems are now part of the CIO/CTO roadmap.

Sean Dahlberg, community manager at Spiceworks insists that his opinion here is relevant as he represents an IT community with six million users where brands such as Dell, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Dropbox Box and 3,000+ others connect with their customers and prospects.

"Professionals in all industries are using specialised communities to connect and engage with each other whether the brands trying to sell to them are actively participating in those conversations or not," said Dahlberg.

"We see it every day in the Spiceworks. Brands have an enormous opportunity to join the conversation in an open, honest way on their customers' turf. Doing so can help humanise the brand and create a one-to-many discussion on topics both parties care about," he added.

Social reality number #7: The anti-social company is dead, eventually.

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JiveWorld 14: notes from day zero summit

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Jive Software kicked off its JiveWorld 14 event this October with an informal 'day zero' style executive summit.

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Initial sessions focused on using communication and collaboration solutions like Jive to span the communications challenges arising between baby boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y & the so-called millennials generation.

Defining success culture

A later panel featured Mark Boncheck, founder (and his PR people say also 'chief catalyst') at social business strategy company thinkORBIT, a firm with capital letters in its name that are not an acronym.

Boncheck was joined by Jeff Hayzlett from Bloomberg TV's C-Suite and also the very magically named Azure Antoinette who lists herself as a commissioned poet and author as well as being a millennial advocate.

Snappy one liners

"As soon as something becomes a hashtag it becomes a t-shirt," said Antoinette.

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The poet was explaining how different the world is for millennials who she says use truncated syllables, acronyms, bad spelling and, basically, all the things that the core theories of business management would not advise.

Boncheck argued that this is no open and shut case, he was one of the 'first thousand' people to sign up for Twitter, but he is definitely outside of the millennials age bracket.

"Millennial is not a generation, it is a mindset," said Boncheck.

Jive worktypes

Unsurprisingly, the line from Jive here is that when you create a community around a common purpose, all the generational differences start to blend into the background.

Jive has hosted its own free to use worktype finder for users to assess themselves as classify themselves into one of the following groups

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  • As a COACH, you are adept at growing relationships.
  • As a CONNECTOR, you are a matchmaker, bridge and catalyst.
  • As an ENERGISER, you bring excitement and enthusiasm.
  • As an EXPERT, you create the systems and structures to make things flourish.
  • As an EXPLORER, you are the creative spark and wellspring of ideas.
  • As an OPTIMISER, you organise and coordinate the activities of others.
  • As a PLANNER, you like to create the processes that establish and streamline.
  • As a PRODUCER, you take great pride in bringing vision into reality.

In the wider conference

In addition to notes above, this event offered more than sixty breakout sessions and hands-on training workshops about topics such as advanced community management, customer and partner communities and internal collaboration.

New this year is JiveWorld14's Developer Conference will include an open hackathon.

JiveWorld 14: one language for baby boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y & millennials

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Jive Software kicked off its JiveWorld 14 event this October with an informal 'day zero' style executive summit hosted by the firm's sharply dressed man CEO Tony Zingale.

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Jive is a company that specialises in modern communication and collaboration solutions for business - it produces an enterprise platform level product set with a core piece of technology simply known as Jive, plus also the JiveX external community application and Producteev, a social task management app for teams.

A 'fireside chat' (two execs playing talking heads) between two representatives from PwC Digital Services Consulting Group focused on the issue of employing and working with the new stream of so-called 'millennials' i.e. the demographic cohort used to denote those born from somewhere around the decade before year 2000 and onwards.

Spanning the generation gap

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PwC Margaret Burke talked about the problems associated with getting 'baby boomers', plus also Generations Y and X all being able to talk to the millennials out there today.

Saying that "when you are born makes a difference", Burke said that her firm is using Jive technology to help span the generation gap and allow her firm to instill values such as corporate responsibility across the employee base.

If younger users refuse to use email as a primary communications stream (and they do) then a firm needs to look at other ways to connect across the age gaps that exist.

Why the why factor matters

"We know that we need to be honest with people [so transparency is really important], but it's not just about the what, it's also about the why factor. We looked at our compensation scheme and realised that we didn't give employees a proper contextual explanation of why pay sits at a certain level and why (or not) bonus payments might have been made to certain individuals," said Burke.

If you can't explain the why factor behind a certain piece of communication then you fail says Burke.

Flexibility matters too

As well as the need to be transparent and be able to engage with employees at any level - firms need to be flexible.

The work life balance has a significant impact upon the way firms will experience employees turnover and satisfaction today, so (argued the speakers) firms will need the tools to be able to give workers the option to be able to work from anywhere.

PwC says it is transforming its workforce to meet the needs of millennials and (no surprise) the firm is a Jive customer - but this session was not overly peppered with product selling, so that part is assumed.

Image (top) credit: http://www.pwc.co.uk/

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