Content Management: A New Spin

October 27, 2020

What do you get when a young wizard reinvents information management? First, there was records management. Do you know what that was supposed to do? Yep, manage records and know when to destroy them according to applicable guidelines. Next, there was content management. In the era of the Internet, newly minted experts declared that content destined for a Web site had to be management. There were some exciting solutions which made some consultants lots of money; for example, Broadvision/Aurea. Excellent solution. Then there was document management exemplified by companies like Exstream Software which still lives at OpenText as a happy 22 year old solution.) These “disciplines” generated much jargon and handwaving, but most of the chatter sank into data lakes and drowned. Once in a while, like Nessie, an XML/JSON monster emerges and roars, “Success. All your content belong to us.” On the shore of the data lake, eDiscovery vendors shiver in fear. Information management is a scary place.

I read because someone sent me a link, knowing my interest in crazy mid tier consulting speak, to this article: “The Problem with Books of Record and How an EMS Could Help Solve That Problem.” Now here’s the subtitle: “Execution management systems are a new category of software that unlocks value in the hairball of enterprise IT landscapes. Here’s how.”

The acronym EMS means “execution management systems.” Okay. EMS is similar to CMS (content management systems) but with a difference. Execution has a actionable edge. Execution. Get something done. Terminate with extreme prejudice.

Another clarification appears in the write up:

To be a book of record, the data would be in one place, always current and complete. Today’s business systems often have data stored, redundantly, in many places, with many elements incomplete and possibly out of date.

Okay, a book of record and the reference to the existing content chaos which exists in most of these “management” systems.

I am now into new territory. The filing cabinet has yielded to the data lake which suggests dumping everything in one big pool and relying of keywords, Fancy Dan solution like natural language processing, and artificial intelligence to deliver what the person looking for information needs. (The craziness of this approach can be relived by reading about the Google Search Appliance or using an enterprise search system to locate a tweet by a crazed marketer who decided to criticize a competitor after a two hour Zoom meeting followed by a couple of cans of Mountain Dew.)

The write up explains:

Solutions like Celonis’ EMS (execution management) exist because few vendors have focused on all these information handshakes. To create a really efficient business environment, the devil is in the nooks, crannies, handoffs, manual steps, integrations, systems changes, queues, and more. Execution management is about documenting, understanding, integrating, streamlining, optimizing and reengineering how work gets done.  Put simply, Celonis’ tools, in short, document processes, mine what’s happening from the underlying systems to see what kinds of tortured paths are being followed to get work done and then, via benchmarks, best practices and smart automation capabilities, straighten out the flow.

Is this a sales pitch for a company called Celonis?

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The firm, according to its Web site, is the number one in the execution management system space. I believe everything I read on the Internet.

Several observations:

  • Automation is a hot topic. Hooking information to workflow makes sense.
  • The word choice or attempt at creating awareness with the EMS moniker could be confusing to some. For me, EMS means emergency management solutions.
  • Founded in 2011, Celonis has ingested (according to Crunchbase) more than $300 million in funding. Investors are optimistic and know that the trajectories of FileNet and FatWire are in their future.

The information management revolution continues. At some point, the problem with information in an organization will be solved. On the other hand, it may be one of those approaching infinity thing-a-ma-bobs. You can’t get there from here.

Some corporate executives experience stress when dealing with content and information challenges: Legal discovery, emails with long forgotten data, and references to documents which no longer “exist.”

Net net: Stress can lead to heart attacks. That’s when the real EMS is needed.

Stephen E Arnold, October 27, 2020

HPE Signals That Its Channel Partners Cannot Move Product and Services

April 27, 2020

I was not surprised when I worked through “HPE Outlines Additional Channel Partner Relief Measures.” The language of the write up worked overtime to dodge the basic message: Channel partners cannot move HPE’s products and services.

This is a surprise?

The write up explains:

The HPE Partner Ready program has suspended revenue target thresholds so partners can keep their eligibility for the 2021 program, as well as Aruba’s Partner Ready for Networking Program.

and this:

HPE Financial Services has also allocated $2 billion towards helping customers and partners. Initiatives include providing liquidity for buying partners, virtual solutions for partner enablement, and hybrid IT solutions for partners and customers.

or this:

HPE aims to provide liquidity to partners, particularly in North America and Europe through early pay discount terms and factoring terms. The company has not stated whether these also apply to Asia Pacific partners. The company has also suspended or reduced strategic development initiative targets in most geographies – however, this incentive does not apply to partners in Asia Pacific and China (APAC). Hybrid IT solutions for partners and customers include the free-of-charge use of remote server management Integrated Lights-Out Advanced. It will be offered free for the remainder of 2020. Additionally, HPE is working to support service provider partners by providing increased business continuity services to customers, via a centralised Spotlight page on Cloud28+.

The angles of this particular nine-ball pool game are challenging.

But taken as whole cloth, the moths appear to be ruining the fabric in which HPE wanted to craft a new prom gown.

What will the HPE partners’ wear? Maybe Amazon AWS or Google Cloud t shirts?

Stephen E Arnold, April 27, 2020

BA Insight: Interesting Spin for Enterprise Search

March 4, 2020

DarkCyber noted BA Insight’s blog post “Make Federation A Part Of Your Single Pane Of Glass.” What’s interesting in the write up are the assertions about enterprise search. Note that the BA Insight Web site include search along with a number of other terms, including “knowledge,” “seekers,” “connectors”, “smart hub”, and “auto classification.”

Let’s look at the assertions which attracted DarkCyber’s attention.

  1. “Many have considered enterprise search to be too complex.” Interesting but a number of companies have failed because what people want a search system to deliver is inherently tricky. The Google Search Appliance was “easier” to implement than a local install of Entopia, for example, but the GSA failed because meeting information needs is difficult in many cases.
  2. Users want a “single pane of glass.” Plus “This improved unified view will dramatically improve the search experience.” The problem remains is that information is not equal. Lawyers have to guard litigation information. Drug researchers have to keep pharma research under wraps. Human resources, what some millennials call “people” jobs have to guard employee health data, salary information, data related to hiring distributions. The “single pane of glass” is an interesting assertion, but federation is more difficult to achieve than some believe… until the services and consulting fees are tallied.
  3. “And, you go live quickly, instantly adding value (you don’t wait six months for crawling to complete).” The speed with which a customer can go live depends upon a number of factors; for example, dealing with security levels, processing content so that it is “findable” by a user, and latencies which creep into distributed systems. Instantly is an appealing term like new. But instantly?

Several observations:

  1. BA Insight is a vendor of search and retrieval services for organizations. The company has worked very hard to explain that search is more than search.
  2. The benefits of the BA Insight approach reads like a checklist of the types of problems which once plagued most enterprise search vendors from Autonomy and Verity. Unfortunately many of these challenges remain today.
  3. BA Insight has moved from its SharePoint centric approach to a wider range of platforms. T

The marketing is interesting. Data backing the assertions would be helpful.

Stephen E Arnold, March 4, 2020

Google and Identity Management

April 17, 2019

Google kills products. More than 100 since I did my last count. With that fact in mind, I read a second time “Google, Hyperledger Launch Online Identity Management Tools.” At first glance, the idea of a slightly different approach to identify management seems like a good but obvious idea. (Does Amazon have thoughts about identify management too?)

The write up explains:

Google unveiled five upgrades to its BeyondCorp cloud enterprise security service that enables identity and access management for employees, corporate partners, and customers.

Google wants to be the go to cloud provider of identity management services. Among the capabilities revealed, Google’s Android 7 and higher can be used as a two factor authentication dongle.

However, in the back of my mind is the memory of failed products and Google engineers losing interest in certain projects. No promotion, no internal buzz, then no engineers. The Google Search Appliance, for example, was not a thriller.

The idea that Google can and does lose interest in projects may provide a marketing angle Amazon can exploit. If Amazon ignores this “short attention span” issue, perhaps other companies will be less reluctant to point out that talk and a strong start are not finishing the race.

Stephen E Arnold, April 17, 2019

IBM and Its Employee Assessment Idea

September 4, 2018

If you are a programmer at IBM, you might be sitting on a powderkeg of ecpnomic and credibility challenges. No, it has nothing to do with national security or privacy. It has to do with your performance review. We learned about his strange AI wrinkle from a recent Computing story, “IBM is Automating Employee Performance Analysis with Watson AI.”

According to the story:

“The AI also takes information from IBM’s databases to find out if those workers have boosted their skills. It then serves a performance rating up to managers who can look at the score and decide what pay, bonuses and promotions the employees might be up for.”

Can you imagine writing the code for the AI that judges whether or not you get an annual raise? We suspect that this plan has a lot of potential for excitement. It would not be unlike if the criminals were allowed to write the programs that handle AI sentencing in the courts. Thankfully, that has not happened, but if we were advising IBM, the Beyond Search team might want to keep humans in the loop.

Watson could not cure cancer. Therefore, Watson can do compensation? Even in Harrod’s Creek, the two statements are difficult to reconcile.

Patrick Roland, September 4, 2018

 

Data Governance is the Hot Term in Tech Now

February 5, 2018

Data governance is a headache many tech companies have to juggle with. With all the advances in big data and search, how can we possibly make sense of this rush of information? Thankfully, there are new data governance advances that aim to help. We learned more from a recent Top Quadrant story, “How Does SHACL Support Data Governance.”

According to the story:

“SHACL (SHAPES Constraint Language) is a powerful, recently released W3C standard for data modeling, ontology design, data validation, inferencing and data transformation. In this post, we explore some important ways in which SHACL can be used to support capabilities needed for data governance.

Below, each business capability or value relevant to data governance is introduced with a brief description, followed by an explanation of how the capability is supported by SHACL, accompanied by a few specific examples from the use of SHACL in TopBraid Enterprise Data Governance.

So, governance is a great way for IT and business to communicate better and wade through the data. Others are starting to take notice and SHACL is not just the only solution. In fact, there are a wealth of options available, you just have to know where to look. Regardless, your business is going to have to take governance seriously and it’s better to start sooner than later.

Patrick Roland, February 5, 2018

Mongo DB Position upon Filing IPO

November 9, 2017

This article at Datamation, “MongoDB’s Mongo Moment,” suggests MongoDB is focused on the wrong foe. As the company filed for its $100 million IPO, its CEO Dev Ittycheria observed that competitor Oracle is “vulnerable” because it has lost appeal to developers. However, writer Matt Asay asserts developers never were very fond of Oracle, and that MondoDB’s real competition is AWS (Amazon Web Services). He posits:

As mentioned, however, the real question isn’t about MongoDB’s impact on Oracle, any more than MySQL had a material impact on Oracle. No, the question is how relevant MongoDB is to the growing population of modern applications. Quite simply: this is where the action is. As VMware executive (and former MongoDB executive) Jared Rosoff reasons, ‘Old workloads grew one database server at a time. New workloads add tens or hundreds of servers at a time.’

Indeed, as MongoDB vice president of cloud products Sahir Azam told me in an interview, ‘We see a higher percentage of legacy RDBMS moving to MongoDB. Tens of billions of spend that has traditionally gone to Oracle and other SQL vendors is now moving to open source RDBMS and MongoDB with app refreshes and new apps.’

Mongo has a significant advantage over AWS, writes Asay, in the flexibility it offers developers. He also notes the increased spending power developers are now enjoying within enterprises should help the company. One potential pitfall—Mongo spends way too much on marketing, which could cause investors to shy away. On the whole, however, Asay believes MongoDB is navigating a shifting market wisely. See the article for more on the company’s approach and some criticisms it has received. Founded in 2007, MongoDB is based in New York City and employs over 800 workers in locations around the world.

Cynthia Murrell, November 9, 2017

HP Showed Russia Pentagons Cyberdefense Software

November 7, 2017

This is a short honk to point out a startling discovery—EtherealMind.com declares, “Reuters: HP Enterprise Let Russia Scrutinize Cyberdefense System Used by Pentagon.” Citing a recent report from Reuters, writer Greg Ferro pinpoints the problem with companies that make nothing but deals:

A sales company is one that sells products: any product, to anyone, anywhere for the right price. The technology giants have been buying products from various OEMs, bundling them up and reselling to customers for the last 20 years. HPE wanted to sell a security product, Arcsight, to a big customer who wanted to review the source code. Thats normal. But sales doesn’t care about company wide issues so they let the Russian government review the source of a product that US government uses to protect its network: ‘Hewlett Packard Enterprise allowed a Russian defense agency to review the inner workings of cyber defense software used by the Pentagon to guard its computer networks, according to Russian regulatory records and interviews with people with direct knowledge of the issue.’

Yikes. Ferro wonders whether evolutions in technology and business practices will soon render sales companies like HP, Cisco, and Dell obsolete. Perhaps.

Cynthia Murrell, November 7, 2017

HP Enterprise Spins Software Division into Micro Focus International

October 23, 2017

It would seem that the saga of HP’s lamented 2011 Autonomy acquisition is now complete—Reuters announces, “Hewlett Packard Enterprise to Complete Software Spin-Off.” Reporter Salvador Rodriguez explains:

The enterprise software businesses, which include the widely used ArcSight security platform, have been merged with Micro Focus International Plc (MCRO.L), a British software company. HPE was formed when the company once known as Hewlett-Packard split into HPE and HP Inc in November 2015.

 

The spin-off comes as HPE adjusts to the rapid shift of corporate computing to cloud services offered by the likes of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O). HPE aims to cater specifically to customers running services both on their own premises and in the cloud, said Ric Lewis, senior vice president of HPE’s cloud software group, in an interview.

 

The spin-off marks the end of HP’s unhappy tangle with Autonomy, which it acquired for $11 billion in an aborted effort to transform HP into an enterprise software leader. The ink was barely dry on the much-criticized deal when the company took an $8.8 billion writedown on it.

But wait, the story is not over quite yet—the legal case that began when HP sued Autonomy ’s chief officers continues. Apparently, that denouement is now HPE’s to handle. As for Micro Focus, Rodriguez reports it will now be run by former HPE Chief Operating Officer Chris Hsu, who plans to focus on growth through acquisitions. Wait… wasn’t that what started this trouble in the first place?

Cynthia Murrell, October 23, 2017

MarkLogic Aims to Take on Oracle in Enterprise Class Data Hub Frameworks

October 10, 2017

MarkLogic is trying to give Oracle a run for its money in the world of enterprise-class data hubs. According to a recent press release on ITWire, “MarkLogic Releases New Enterprise Class Data Hub Framework to Enhance Agility and Speed Digital Transformations.”

How does this Australian legend plan on doing this? According to the release:

Traditionally, integrating data from silos has been very costly and time consuming for large organizations looking to make faster and better decisions based on their data assets. The Data Hub Framework simplifies and speeds the process of building a MarkLogic solution by providing a framework around how to data model, load data, harmonize data, and iterate with new data and compliance requirements.

But is that enough to unseat Oracle, who has long had a seat at the head of the table? Especially, since they have their own new framework hitting the market. That is still up for debate, but MarkLogic is confident in their ability to compete. According to the piece:

Unlike other databases, NoSQL was specifically designed to ingest and integrate all types of disparate data to find relationships among data, and drive searches and analytics—within seconds.

This battle is just beginning and we have no indication of who has the edge, but you can bet it will be an interesting fight in the marketplace between these two titans.

Patrick Roland, October 10, 2017

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