Posts Tagged ‘Silver Bullet Associates’

Who calls the tune in IT?

January 8th, 2012

Businesses IT users now have a powerful voice in defining enterprise IT strategies and over half of CIOs believe themselves to be transformers and visionaries, according to research. A survey of 200 enterprise CIOs, carried out by CIO Connect, revealed 67% of CIOs believe IT users are now one of the most powerful drivers of change in enterprises.

The tech-savvy demographic known as Millennials, born in the eighties, are now a significant proportion of the workforce. These individuals have grown up with technology and represent an opportunity for enterprises to make best use of the latest technologies. However, they are also extremely demanding and if business wants to attract the best employees, it needs to offer the technology they want.

In its ‘Future of Work’ initiative, IT services firm Cognizant said the Millennial mindset will change how people communicate in work and with customers, and businesses will have to cater for this.

Enabling employees to buy their own computers for work is one such example of user-driven change, with traditional Windows-based desktops increasingly being replaced by mobile devices. Social media is another element of millennial behaviour, with workers in group communication, in real time, using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

CIOs need to provide an environment conducive to the use of these technologies, but must ensure their use doesn’t compromise the business. Ensuring the compatibility and security of these new technologies is for example essential.

Businesses expect CIOs to play a key role in changing a business through IT, according to the research. It found 57% of CIOs believe they are regarded as taking a lead in transformation at an organisation level. The same number of CIOs said they play an instrumental role in developing organisational vision.

The combination of a new generation of tech savvy workers and IT transforming business practices means the role of CIO is critical.

The research also revealed one of the main drivers of IT strategy is gaining the ability to do less with more, with 98% of respondents saying this, while 92% of respondents believe how technology enables the use of information is a key factor in business success.

Eight out of ten apps fail security test

January 1st, 2012

Eight out of 10 applications fail to meet acceptable levels of security, according to the latest State of Software Security Report by application security testing firm Veracode. The report is based on the analysis of 9,910 applications submitted to Veracode’s cloud-based application security testing platform in the past 18 months.

Web applications were among the weakest, with a high concentration of cross-site-scripting (68%) and SQL injection (32%) vulnerabilities. The Web Hacking Incident Database shows that SQL injection exploits are responsible for 20% of reported incidents.

Veracode conducted a comparative analysis of government applications against other industries such as finance, and found that government applications are less resilient to common attacks.Veracode analysed US federal, state and local government applications, which operate critical systems and process critical data such as personally identifiable information (PII) and national security data, and found that they lag behind other industries in key areas. 

Veracode also found that mobile developers tend to make similar mistakes to enterprise developers, specifically with the use of hard-coded cryptographic keys. More than 40% of the Android applications analysed had at least one instance of this flaw, which makes it easier for attackers to initiate a broad assault as all installed instances of the application use the same key.

EMC; where is it going?

December 25th, 2011

EMC has expanded rapidly from a simple storage company, but to fulfil its potential it must integrate its many acquisitions and overcome the challenges of commoditisation and increasing competition in the storage market.  Having a quarter of the market gives EMC a lot of muscle, but even if the firm itself doesn’t think it has an identity crisis, the market does. After all, it is not the same company as it was even a year ago.

Before CEO Joseph Tucci took the helm in 2001, EMC was a one-trick pony. It made a healthy profit selling the Symmetrix hard drive array, but under Tucci’s leadership, it expanded into a diversified hardware, software and services company, just as other firms such as Cisco and HP have done.

Today EMC faces multiple challenges, not least of which is the commoditisation of storage and the gradual encroachment of other suppliers on its key turf. But those who ignore what the company has done in the past 10 years risk being blinkered to its future potential. EMC has expanded from a simple storage company to a firm that supports several of ITs major pillars. Identifying these pillars was insightful enough.  But buying and nurturing the companies that were at the forefront of those markets was gutsy and smart.

Yet EMC needs to work out where it want to go. The market has associated EMC with storage for over 30 years. Does it really want to be a storage company anymore? If not, then what will it be tomorrow?

Logica is cutting 1300 jobs

December 18th, 2011

Logica is cutting 1,300 jobs as it tackles the consequences of slow European growth due to the downturn. Lower than expected profitability of some of its longer term contracts is making an impact on the business. It has recently become clear that many of its clients are delaying short term expenditure and reducing discretionary investments to weather an uncertain economic future.

Logica said it would be incurring a one-off charge of £39m in 2011 to cover the expected lifetime contract losses as a result of the likelihood of lower expected revenue on a small number of volume-dependent contracts with between four to six years still to run.

The company will make greater use of automation and off-shoring in its infrastructure management business, leading to the loss of 450 positions in Sweden and the UK. A further 550 jobs are expected to go in the Netherlands and Belgium due to the lower demand for IT contracts in these regions.

BMC Software reports 11% increase in Q3 revenue

November 28th, 2011

BMC Software has reported total revenue of $556.7m for the second quarter ended 30 September 2011, an increase of 11% over the $502.3m in the same quarter previous year. The company’s operating income was $161m for the second quarter of 2011, up 12.2% compared with the $143.5m in the previous year’s same quarter.

However, a decrease of 13% was seen in generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) net earnings of the company, from $132m in 2010 second quarter to $115m in the same quarter this year.

BMC chairman and chief executive officer Bob Beauchamp said during the second quarter, they reported solid growth in total revenue, non-GAAP earnings and cash flow from operations, however, their performance was mixed. “While we are aggressively addressing our business challenges, we continue to see positive trends and increasing market opportunities in several initiatives, including cloud management, Software-as-a Service and professional services,” Beauchamp said.

The company said cloud management and SaaS transactions continued to show positive momentum, while professional services revenue grew 35% from the year-ago period and delivered a non-GAAP gross margin of 8%.

For full year fiscal 2012, BMC now expects cash flow from operations to be between $800m and $850m, which at the mid-point represents an 8% improvement over fiscal 2011.

 

CA Technologies Q2 revenue grows to $1.2bn

November 21st, 2011

 

IT management software company CA Technologies’ revenue grew 5% to $1.2bn in its second quarter of fiscal year 2012, ended 30 September 2011, compared to the same quarter in FY 2011.

Year-over-year revenue grew to $1.2bn, up 5%, while the total revenue backlog was $8.07 bn, up 4% in constant currency and as reported, said the company.

Geographically, North America revenue was $735m, up 10%. International revenue was $465m, down 1%.

Total bookings in the second quarter were $972m, down 4%. North America bookings were $664m, while international bookings were $308m, down 11% in constant currency and 8% as reported.

The company said that it has signed a total of 10 license agreements with contract values in excess of $10m each, for an aggregate contract value of $321m. During the second quarter of fiscal year 2011, the company signed a total of 14 license agreements with contract values in excess of $10m each, for an aggregate contract value of $361m.

Mainframe Solutions revenue was $655m, Enterprise Solutions revenue was $449m, and services revenue was $96m, said the company.

SAP Q3 revenue grows to €3.41bn.

November 14th, 2011

 

SAP has just posted a 146% growth in operating profit. SAP third quarter software revenue grew at its fastest rate in a decade, as its operating profit soared 146% to reach €1.76bn, compared to €716m in 2010. The company’s total revenue was €3.41bn, compared to 2010 figures of €3bn, an increase of 14%.

Software revenue grew 28% to reach €841m, compared to €656m in 2010, while support revenue climbed 13% to reach €1.757m.

The Germany-based enterprise application software company said that efficiency gains combined with operational efficiency led to the record performance.

The company said that its pipeline continues to remain very strong and companies continue to invest in IT. It said that despite the uncertainty in “macroeconomic environment”, its outlook for 2011 remains unchanged.

Top tips for CIOs migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 – part 2 of 2

November 6th, 2011

Beware the Internet Explorer 6.0 headache for Windows 7 upgrade

Internet Explorer 6.0 is likely to cause major headaches, because there is no support for it in Windows 7. IE 6.0 compatibility was killed off in the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing initiative to make Microsoft code more secure. As a result, IE6 is not supported in later versions of the browser. Websites and web applications written for IE6 will not work under IE8 or 9. The IE6-dependency issue is a significant problem for many organisations looking to migrate from XP and is a blocker to many Windows 7 migrations.

Microsoft says it’s one of the biggest challenges for Windows 7 projects. The UK public sector and many large businesses rely a lot on IE6 applications. When most were installed, browser compatibility was not as serious an issue as it is now. Some websites and applications are tied to IE6. Browsium is a software company tackling this aspect of Windows XP migrations by providing a browser plug-in for IE8 that provides an environment for running IE6 websites and plug-ins.

 How Windows 7 upgrade affects desktop virtualisation

Desktop virtualisation is no way to lower desktop computing costs. It puts immense strain on the network and storage, but it does offer a strong model for centralised security that fits in well with the consumerisation of IT. VDI is a major undertaking, technically challenging and it requires a cultural shift in how people view personal computing.

The Co-operative Group plans to virtualise up to 2,000 desktops by the end of 2011, reaching 3,500 desktops across its head office and funeral services branches during 2012.

Moving to Windows 7 also gives the IT department the ability to use App-V, the Microsoft virtualisation technology. But not all applications are suitable for virtualisation. Application compatibility tools have a role to play here, again, by helping users to identify potential compatibility issues.

 How Windows 8 release affects Windows XP upgrade

Organisations may consider delaying the migration because Windows 8 is just around the corner.

In Gartner’s paper, Don’t Change Your Windows 7 Plans Because of Windows 8, analysts say Microsoft expects Windows 8 to be released to manufacture in April 2012, a date that would allow general availability by mid-year. In the paper Gartner warns that independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises will likely need nine to 18 months to obtain and test supported applications and plan deployments.

According to Gartner, most organisations will not be able to start deploying Windows 8 before the end of 2013. “With support for Windows XP ending in April 2014, we believe it would be dangerous for organisations now running XP to attempt to skip Windows 7 and move directly to Windows 8.”

 

 

 

Five pointers for your Windows XP upgrade at a glance

  1. Software and hardware auditing should be used to determine the state of the desktop in terms of software and hardware configuration. Windows 7 has a minimum specification, in terms of hardware requirements. Generally, businesses are installing 4 to 8GBytes of memory on 64-bit ready PC hardware to make the most of what the OS offers.
  2. Reducing the number of applications, by simplifying the desktop PC environment, should be a priority. Ultimately, IT departments should consider migrating towards a fully -fledged virtual desktop environment, but this may be too big a first step from Windows XP. Tools that monitor application usage can identify candidate applications to remove from the desktop.
  3. Don’t forget Internet Explorer 6.0. Some internal websites and web applications may have been hard-coded to run only in IE6. Such applications can be redeveloped, but it may be more cost-effective to user a browser emulation plug-in, that enables the IE6 environment to run within a modern Microsoft browser.
  4. Automated application compatibility testing enables IT departments to test which desktop applications are good to go and which are incompatible with Windows 7.
  5. Some application testing tools can fix many common application compatibility problems automatically, leaving just a few applications that need to be manually re-engineered.

 

 

Top tips for CIOs migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 – part 1 of 2

October 30th, 2011

Microsoft ends support for Windows XP in 2014. Realistically, businesses will need to start migration plans in 2012, to leave enough time to test and roll-out desktops. So what steps can an IT department take to simplify the Windows 7 upgrade.

Prepare for XP migration with hardware and software audit

Organisations should try to eliminate Windows XP by the end of 2012 to avoid disruptions, says Gartner. CIOs and IT leaders will be confronted by a host of challenges, as well as some degree of risk, as they work through the preparation and deployment processes. Issues such as software compatibility, licensing agreements and SLAs will need to be addressed.

The place to start is with a hardware and software audit. This allows IT departments to discover what hardware will run Windows 7 and catalogue the desktop applications run in the organisation. Depending on how much flexibility IT gives business users to deploy their own desktop software, IT can find it has hundreds of un-licensed and un-supported applications.

With potentially thousands of applications to check, organisations must starting anticipating the migration from Windows XP to Windows 7. 

Use automated tools to test application compatibility with Windows 7

But be aware that Windows 7 is no ordinary desktop upgrade. In fact, treating it just like a Windows upgrade would be missing the point as it offers the chance for IT to rethink how it does desktop IT. Businesses have to think about their IE6 websites and applications, whether or not to take advantage of 64-bit computing available on Windows 7 and a virtual desktop infrastructure.

Windows XP application compatibility could be a major issue – some XP applications will fail on Windows 7 – but there are various software tools available that will allow organisations to check if applications will install on Windows 7. These are automated tools so developers don’t have to test applications themselves. Such tools can reduce the manual migration process significantly. As usual, expect the 80/20 rule; most applications should pass through with no compatibility issues, leaving fewer that need manual checking.

Post remediation, to fix the compatibility issue, around 98% of applications should then be able to run on a Windows 7 desktop. That leaves 2%, which will need re-engineering.

The move to 64-bit computing will cause 16-bit to become inoperable. This is likely to affect legacy device drivers and older peripheral hardware. On modern PCs, users should update 32-bit device drivers to the latest 64-bit versions.

Buyer’s Guide: Social networking adds another layer to CRM practices

October 19th, 2011

From the way social networking is often reported in the media, it would seem to be that traditional customer relationship management (CRM) has had its day, and all companies need to do is to create a Twitter account and a Facebook page and engage prospects and customers through these. However, it is not quite as simple as that, and the devil – as always – is in the detail.

As with any new technology, the social network does not push away everything that has gone on before. Companies still receive paper mail, telephone calls, e-mails, web contacts and so on. All social networks do is add to that complexity. Any business user of social media must ensure they view the total picture of any individual or group across all of these touch points.

Social media users can be your greatest asset – or your greatest enemy. A happy customer who passes the word on in the social network can rapidly extend positive brand awareness. An unhappy customer is far more likely to pass on their views, though. However, if you identify their problem rapidly and deal with it effectively, they may turn to being positive. But, without everything being integrated, it is far more likely the customer will end up even more unhappy, and the company’s brand enters into a downward spiral that is difficult to halt.

So ensure you discuss Social media with your current or future CRM suppliers to ensure they are offering you an integrated solution to cover all the social bases.