Posts tagged "cloud computing"

Really Strategies Introduces Cloud Book Publishing and Workflow

Publishing as a Cloud Service

RSuite Cloud is a hosted content management and publishing solution for publishers to create, manag, and distribute single-source content to multiple channels. The software-as-a-service product augments the company’s existing on-premise RSuite publishing platform. Really Strategies representatives said,

We are excited about our ability to scale with this solution and the new scheduling flexibility that we could never have dreamed of in our old environment."

The cloud-based platform allows customers to ramp up content management and publishing capabilities without significant resource or financial investment.

RSuite Cloud integrates with Microsoft Word. Users can import documents into the system and convert the files to XML for web-based copyediting and automated page composition. The solution also supports production workflows to generate page proofs and eBook drafts for content review and approval. Rsuite is pre-configured to publish print-ready PDF files, HTML output and eBook formats.

Customers with a global audience will appreciate the platform’s language translation tools. The system can publish in 70 languages, including all major European, Asian, and bidirectional languages, and supports content localization. Other features of the platform include:

  • Browser-based editorial corrections
  • Secure access and version control
  • Search
  • Production to multiple formats such as print, eBook readers, web and iPad

Existing users of the Rsuite platform should be aware that the product focus of the cloud platform is books, not all publishing products (such as journals, newsletters and magazines, for example) like previous offerings. 

Getting the Cloud Publishing Solution

RSuite Cloud is available now. Really Strategies configures the system for customers and charges no initial setup fees. RSuite Cloud is available on a per-user license or pay-per-page model. The pay-per-page model allows customers to obtain the software free and pay for final pages published from the system. Users can publish unlimited PDF proofs with no proofing charges. The cost of publishing finalized pages starts at US$ 1 per page. Users can also create eBooks on the platform for US$ 100. 

As in many other industries, we will see traditional publishing models affected by the emergence of flexible cloud-based solutions. Savvy publishers will incorporate the cloud into their publishing process to reduce costs and streamline their workflow processes for editors and authors.

The Keys to Success with Cloud Based Website Hosting

Today's websites have become the social marketplace where your customers and potential customers can meet, find the information they need, provide their own insights and feedback and more.

This means your traditional web content management system is probably falling short in its duty. What you're probably looking for is a digital publishing + engagement platform that offers a rich set of features, include managing digital assets, integrating with social networks, and pushing your content out across multiple channels. On top of all that, you need to do it quickly.

Cloud-based services come readily to mind when the pressure is on. In fact, according to a recent study by Springboard Research, 83% of companies in the Asia-Pacific region are considering cloud services in some form — many as a way to deliver applications on-demand. However, in the same study, 46% indicated concerns over security and the integrity of their data in the cloud.

If you need to build a stronger web presence and are interested in doing it using cloud services, then attend the webinar Enough Fluff. 3 Key Ingredients for Maximising Your Content in the Cloud on Thursday, November 18th, 2010 at 10:00 am (UTC+10) Sydney, Australia.

During the live event you will discuss best practices related to cloud security and hear about deployment lessons from local experts, such as Melbourne IT and Hyro, as well as hear from experienced field hands who share their tricks and tips.

If you're ready to take your cloud strategy to the next level, then register here

Microsoft Unveils a User Experience Kit

MS_UX_kit.jpg

Lots of interesting things happening at SXSW (site) over the weekend. Even Microsoft was in the game launching a new User Experience Kit for technical and creative leads. Let's see what's in the box.

Mapping Technology to the User Experience

The Microsoft stack of technologies is big, so big that it may be confusing or frustrating for both technical and creative leads to know how that technology aids in providing a strong user experience. It's not that Microsoft doesn't offer a lot of information on the subject, it's just spread across the entire technology stack.

The new User Experience Kit centralizes all that information, providing things such as videos, reference implementations, sample code, live demos, installable tools, whitepapers, pattern libraries and all that good stuff.

User Experience Kit Deliverables

The kit focuses on a number of important areas including:

  • Rich media Delivery
  • Content Publishing
  • Targeted (Personalized) Experiences
  • Multi-Channel Digital Marketing
  • Publisher Advertising
  • Connected Cients
  • Browser Extensions
  • Advertising Intelligence

It is good to know that the kit includes a great deal of SharePoint guidance in a number of areas listed above. But it also includes technologies such as Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows 7 Touch, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone, Expression Studio and Microsoft Advertising

 MS_UDMP.jpg
Microsoft's Unified Digital Marketing Platform

How to Get Your Kit

The first phase provided the kit via disk/thumbdrive to install locally. But it's this next phase that will show the most uptaket: a web hosted solution — on as one would expect, Azure.

It is implemented using Silverlight, is configurable, searchable and tagged. The Browser framework used by the Silverlight Demo Kit is also used for the UX Kit.

The end goal is to see the kit supported and driven by the community, but initial support will come from a Partner Evangelism team.

Phase 1 was delivered on January 15th at 90% completion. This announcement is for Phase 2. Phase 3 will come by the end of the Fiscal year and should include community submission features.

You can view the kit now (of course you may need IE, because the website didn't come up in FireFox) and download whatever you need to get your job done.

CA Buys Nimsoft for US $350 Million, Sets Sights on Cloud Midmarket

T management software company CA (site)  has announced that it has just closed a cash deal worth US$ 350 million to buy monitoring solutions provider Nimsoft.

The Islandia, NY-based giant says this acquisition will open up a whole new customer base of midmarket/emerging enterprises and management service providers (MSPs).

The all-in-cash transaction will give it a stronger foothold with organizations with annual turnovers of between US $300 million and US $2 billion and which operate principally in the cloud computing market place. CA estimates that by 2013 these companies will account for up to 25% of spending in CA’s space.

In a statement issued at the time the deal was announced, Chris O’Malley, CA’s VP for cloud products and solutions, said the deal would also target not just enterprises, but whole national economies:

…CA will be equipped to capture several important growth market segments — including emerging enterprises, emerging national economies and the MSPs who are providing these customers with IT management services via the cloud … and complement our existing strength with large enterprise customers.

Nimsoft's Spot in CA's Recent Acquisitions

CA has been splurging a bit recently with two other acquisitions already this year — 3tera and Oblicore. Last year,  they bought NetQoS and Cassatt — all aimed at extending its cloud management services.

According to technology consultancy 451 group, this acquisition will have the most impact as it gives CA access to the Nimsoft marketplace, which consists of developers and vendors of network, service level, application and cloud management software products.

While Nimsoft’s operations will report under CA’s cloud products and solutions business line, CA intends to keep Nimsoft intact and independently run in the midmarket/emerging enterprise space and MSP segment, giving CA presence in that sector for the first time.

Nimsoft Unified Monitoring Solution

So what is CA getting? Released in October 2009, Nimsoft’s Unified Monitoring (UM) aims to give MSPs complete visibility of application performance and availability in both internal and external IT infrastructures.

While this is not unique, UM is easy to deploy, has little need for maintenance and streamlines the monitoring of business applications for multiple users. The result is a solution that will optimize the performance of applications by improving services and identifying gaps.

And it appears to be doing this quite successfully. In recent years, it has developed solutions for public and private clouds including Google Apps, the Rackspace Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com.

Currently, CA is competing with IBM (site), Hewlett-Packard (site) and business service management provider BMC. To date, only IBM has targeted this midmarket segment with products like Tivoli Monitoring Express, which provides management and monitoring to SMBs.

 
Enterprise 2.0 Conference: How New Tools, Processes Are Creating Value

The growing importance of Enterprise 2.0 tools and processes to a broader range of businesses is reflected in this year’s Enterprise 2.0 UBM TechWeb conference. This year’s action zooms in on the use of social computing, collaborative tools and Web 2.0 technologies, and how they are creating business value.

 

As one of the major events in social computing on the calendar, it gives companies who are interested in transforming their business through the use of Enterprise 2.0 technologies a chance to see what’s what and what to expect over the course of the following 12 months.

Read related article: Social Networking in the Enterprise: What’s the ROI?

Enterprise 2.0 Driving Business

The list of speakers and themes is growing, and this year conference organizers say they are focused on providing practical steps and case studies on deployment and use of these technologies.

Last year in Boston, the key message we identified coming out of the conference was that that enterprise 2.0 was not about the deployment of technology, but about adoption. And adoption will be one of the focuses this year.

While the list of main tracks is still being developed, some of those already scheduled include:

  • Setting Enterprise 2.0 strategies without the hype
  • Social business applications and platforms
  • Search as a means of developing new business
  • Enterprise collaboration using video
  • Integrating social media and business communities
  • Deploying and mobilizing
  • Adoption in the enterprise for practitioners

Keynote speakers come from across the industry and include:

  • Eugene Lee, CEO, Socialtext
  • Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist, Center for Digital Business, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • JP Rangaswami, CIO and Chief Scientist, BT Design
  • Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager, Cisco's Enterprise Collaboration Platform
  • Gentry Underwood, IDEO

Enterprise 2.0 Conference takes place at the Westin Boston Waterfront, June 14-17, 2010. Head over here for registration.  

SMB Tech-Roll up: Facebook extends SMB reach, Microsoft Shifting SMB Strategy?

This week, Facebook takes more SMBs into more advertising markets in more cities, while HyperOffice finally releases its “no geek required” suite of collaboration tools for business users.

 

SMBs Target More Cities With Facebook

Facebook (news, site) has just announced the expansion of its advertising program that will enable SMBs  not only to target more cities and towns across the US and outside, but will also enable them to target audiences more accurately.

Facebook_SMB_2010.jpg
Facebook: targeting more cities and more markets for SMBs

In the latest move to expand its performance advertising program, Facebook is offering what it says is “thousands” of new cities in its self-serve advertising tool. Typically, Facebook isn’t giving a full list of which cities have been added, but you can check out the cities in a given area by signing up.

Guesstimates around the web at the beginning of this year put Facebook 2009 revenues at between US$ 600 – US$ 700 million, indicating the value ‘local’ advertising has for the the company.

By expanding the number of targetable cities though, it should be able to increase that figure dramatically as well as give SMBs access to towns and cities that they have not be able to access to date.

HyperOffice Releases Collaboration Suite

You may remember just before Christmas that HyperOffice (news, site) announced that it had issued a beta of a completely new AJAX version of its collaboration suite for SMBs. At the time the company said it gave users a whole new bunch of tools that provide a viable alternative to other collaboration suites from the likes of Google Apps to Zoho.

Well that release has just come out of beta and is available for current and business customers of HyperOffice, with a more generally available solution for home users available soon.

And one thing you can’t say about HyperOffice is that they’re being modest about what they think they’ve achieved. They describe it as a “re-invigorated, super-charged, eye-candy, ease-enhanced . . .new version [that] brings a gorgeous re-done interface, new features, more robust existing features, and scores of subtle changes and enhancements across the suite.”

At the time of the beta release of this “no geeks required collaboration suite” (the marketing is so good we just had to repeat it!) they outlined some of the things we could expect. These included:

  • Online database
  • Centralized online project management
  • Secure online document management
  • Outlook synchronization
  • Secure email hosting mobile suite

If you’re interested you can check it out on their website.

Dell Simplifies SMB Data Backup

Dell (news, site) and Symantec (news, site) have announced they are collaborating to help SMBs protect increasing amounts of business-critical data by introducing a new disk-based backup and recovery solution.

Entitled the PowerVault DL2100 and powered by Symantec Backup Exec 2010, it enables users to deploy and manage backup and recovery tasks, and reduce backup costs compared to tape-based solutions.

According to figures that came with the announcement, the average SMB has experienced three outages within the past 12 months, with the leading causes being virus or hacker attacks, power outages or natural disasters. But only 23 percent of SMBs back up daily and an average SMB backs up only 60 percent of their company and customer data.

The solution also integrates with new archive options for Windows file systems andExchange environments allowing SMBs to more efficiently manage their data lifecycles by setting automated retention periods to migrate older, less critical data over time to less expensive storage environments.

You can find out more about this on either companies’ websites.

Microsoft Drops SMB-market server

Microsoft  has announced that it is dropping its Essential Business Server(EBS) on June 30, a server designed specifically for the SMB and mid-market segment.

With support for up to 300 users, EBS filled a gap that had existed in Microsoft's SMB product portfolio, but the uptake on it wasn’t high enough to justify its use.

Microsoft said the decision was made because mid-size businesses are increasingly using management, virtualization and cloud computing to cut costs and boost efficiency. Because these features are already part of Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft System Center and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), EBS has become redundant.

Microsoft insists that it's "fully committed" to SMBs, while a spokesperson said the decision "represents a natural market shift in midsize business' preferences toward creating their own IT solutions."

Idea2 launches cloud CRM

Cloud-based CRM solutions provider Idea2 has announced the general availability of its cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for SMBs.

The company said Idea2 CRM solves implementation challenges such as technology isolation, lack of executive visibility and poor user adoption.

It organizes and synchronizes CRM with additional data assets such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Finance to create a unified customer view.

It offers users:

  • a unified view of all information and interactions related to a customer in a 'social CRM' format
  • a role-specific interface
  • an information dashboard
  • integrated customer support that extends online.

No pricing details have been disclosed.

Banks Need More Security

New research shows that cybercriminals are hacking into the online bank accounts of SMBs at an unprecedented rate but banks are still failing to take proactive steps to protect them.

Carried out by the Ponemon Institute and Guardian Analytics across 500 executives and owners of SMBs in the U.S the figures show:

  • 55% of businesses reported experiencing fraud with 58% enabled by online banking activities.
  • 80% of banks failed to catch fraud before funds were transferred.
  • In 87% of fraud attacks, the bank was unable to fully recover assets.
  • 57% of businesses were not compensated by their banks.

The report concludes that banks need to evolve their definition of reasonable security and proactively invest in technology to better protect their online banking customers.

At present, U.S. law allow banks to place the burden on business owners for keeping assets managed via online banking secure.

Enterprise 2.0 Roll-up: Google’s Marketplace Puts Everything in the Cloud

So, the announement of the Google Marketplace was a pretty big deal, wouldn’t you say?

The excitement revolving around the new development goes to show how ready and willing most of us are to pack up and move to the cloud, and the Google brand is obviously going to play a major part in getting us there. 

 

The Future of Productivity is Sky High

“The future of productivity applications is in the cloud,” wrote Ellen Petry Leanse, Google Enterprise marketing specialist. We’re inclined to agree, and here is a list of some of our favorites that’ve already made their way there with the release of Google Marketplace:

Zoho

Ah, our valiant little productivity suite friends. They work so hard in the shadow of Google, and now we predict they’ll get some serious play by using the search giant to promote their tools.

In fact, Zoho has two offerings in Google Apps Marketplace: Zoho CRM and Zoho Projects. Both tools allow users to plug Google Apps into the Zoho CRM or Zoho Projects system.


Box.net

Box.net offers a content management application for Google Docs that allows users to access and integrate their Google files directly within the Box.net ecosystem.

In plain English, that means you can create a Google Doc as a file type within Box.net and then utilize the collaboration tools of both platforms. Moreover, you can access and manipulate your Box content directly from within Gmail and Google Calendar (some smell a SharePoint replacement).

 

Aviary

Aviary offers web-based image editing tools as well as vector graphics and audio editing. Its integration into Google Apps means users can create graphics that can then be accessed by Google Sites, Google Docs, etc. Also, it adds functionality that Google hasn't previously seen—unlike Box.net and Zoho—although, we've yet to hear about Google's plans for therecently acquired and semi-similar service called Picnik.


 This is, of course, only the beginning. But it's also a really exciting beginning—for users, developers and companies alike. 

Microblogging is Cool Again

For a second, talking about microblogging was kinda…meh. But thanks to interest within the enterprise—among other areas—a bit of a resurgence is happening. Yammer's getting mega-funded, Google Buzz is making both good and bad headlines, and Twitter is making its way to corporate land, although not with text and display ads in tow.

"…people are witnessing accidents, organizing events, sharing links, breaking news, reporting stuff their dad says, and so much more," noted Twitter's co-founder, Biz Stone.

Integration is Everywhere

Google isn't the only one interested in integration. Inmagic recently showed Microsoft some love by announcing a new version of Presto, a social knowledge network solution that integrates tightly with SharePoint (and frankly, in the wake of Google's marketplace-shaped bomb, Microsoft could use the love). 

Some of Presto 3.3's improvements are:  

  • Profile customization and personalization, and making the People content type searchable
  • Improved RSS feeds such as customizable display
  • Federated search adapters can be created to access external content sources
  • Cloning of Home Pages allows administrators to easily manage a SKN and users

Come Out and Play

Check out some upcoming enterprise 2.0 events and get your hands dirty:

O'Reilly Where 2.0

"Now in its sixth year, the Where 2.0 Conference is where the grassroots and leading edge developers building location-aware technology intersect with the businesses and entrepreneurs seeking out location apps, platforms, and hardware to gain a competitive edge. In the O'Reilly conference tradition, Where 2.0 presents leading trends rather than chasing them."

Cloud Expo 2010

"Delegates will leave Cloud Expo with dramatically increased understanding the entire scope of the entire cloud computing spectrum from storage to security."

SharePoint.org Conference 2010

"SharePoint Conference .Org 2010 is the only SharePoint Conference to attend this spring! Attend sessions, workshops, and classes taught by some of the world's foremost experts on the SharePoint platform including premiere consultants, speakers, and Microsoft SharePoint MVPs."

Ballmer: 70% of Microsoft Employees are working on Cloud-based Projects

For a company that is known primarily for the desktop, new comments by CEO Steve Ballmer that 70% of Microsoft's employees are doing something "cloud-based or cloud-inspired" seems an odd shift in focus. But then, everyone is in a rush to the cloud these days. Why would Microsoft (site) be any different.

Spreading the Word on Cloud Computing

On March 4, Ballmer spoke at the University of Washington on the topic of cloud computing. He talked about how Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's Chief Software Architect, wrote a memo five years ago talking about the importance of the cloud, and how they were all "stimulated" by it. But, as he points out, Microsoft is really only scratching the surface of what they could be doing.

That being said, Ballmer went on to say that Microsoft, like many other tech companies out there, are "betting on the cloud". Which explains why 70% of the company is "doing something that is designed exclusively for the cloud, or is inspired to serve the five dimensions." And what 5 dimensions are these?

5 Key Dimensions of the Cloud

If you want to know where Microsoft's focus is, Ballmer offered five key opportunities, "five key dimensions in the cloud, five key opportunities, five key things that I think need your best ideas, your best thoughts, your best invention, commercial inventions, academic inventions, product inventions to really drive forward."

  1. The cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities
  2. The cloud learns and helps you learn, decide and take action
  3. The cloud enhances your social and professional interactions
  4. The cloud wants smarter devices
  5. The cloud drives server advances that, in turn, drive the cloud

We already know what cloud-based opportunities Microsoft has been working on: Office Web Apps, Microsoft Azure, SQL Azure, LiveID, SharePoint and Exchange. And it's pretty sure there are some other things happening in Redmond that we don't know about.

A year from now, Ballmer says that 70% of employees working on cloud-based projects will be 90%.

You can read the entire transcript from his speech, or if that's just a little too long a read (because it kind of is).

 

The Cloud Creates Opportunity

To quote Ballmer,

this cloud thing is just another big step that the world is buzzing about, and thinking about, that will create the opportunities for all the folks in this room to do important research, to build important products, to drive forward, and do fantastic things."

 There isn't a day that goes by that we aren't talking about cloud computing in some way, whether it's a new service, new infrastructure or research on organizations today are thinking about or doing with the cloud. Ballmer is right, the cloud does create opportunity. How is your organization taking advantage of it?

Google's Marketplace Spells Trouble for Microsoft

Google set off an enterprise-tastic bomb last night when they announced the opening of Google Marketplace, an online store for business apps. Now, we can’t help but wonder, is Microsoft an impending casualty?  

The Strip

We noted Microsoft’s attempt to be “the very best option” for cloud lovers late last year when they announced their app marketplace for Windows Azure. Dubbed PinPoint, the online store helps users find related experts, applications and professional services.

In addition to PinPoint, Microsoft released an information marketplace called Dallas. This part of Azure is designed to provide developers with content (data, imagery, real-time web services) from third-party providers through clean, consistent APIs. It’s the same idea as Salesforce's AppExchange and Apple's infamous iPhone App store.

Imagine all those little stores residing next to each other in a virtual strip mall. Combined, they form what is undoubtedly the largest directory of IT companies and their offerings we’ve got. Now, picture a Texas-sized, G-shaped supermarket dropping right down in the center of it all.

Google’s Mega Outlet

Google's marketplace will connect developers with their whopping 25 million Apps users and the 2 million businesses that have gone Google. Better yet, from what we can tell, the store is simple and straightforward. Here are some high points from the presentation:

  • Google says everything businesses need is now in the cloud
  • Developers don’t have to use App Engine to build—you can use whatever you want
  • Google asks for a one-time fee of US$ 100, and a 20% rev share
  • Big G already has Over 50 launch partners, including Zoho, Box.net, Atlassian and Aviary

 

This is nice compared to Microsoft which splits its market into two sectors, and even Salesforce.com, which forces you to build your apps on their platform.

 

Microsoft, Oh, Microsoft

This is the second time Google has stepped on Microsoft's toes in the last handful of days.
The first was G's acquisition of DocVerse, a startup that allows people to collaborate with MS Office documents online. 

“The future of productivity applications is in the cloud,” wrote Google Enterprise marketing specialist, Ellen Petry Leanse, on the company’s official blog. “…we recognize that many people are still accustomed to desktop software. So as we continue to improve Google Docs and Google Sites as rich collaboration tools, we’re also making it easier for people to transition to the cloud, and interoperate with desktop applications like Microsoft Office."

Microsoft is doing what it can (moving to the cloud was one of the most popular topic's at the SharePoint 2009 Conference in October). For starters, the new SharePoint Online—a solution similar to today's SharePoint Online, but for internet websites— is slated to come out with SharePoint 2010. 

How much do you want to bet Microsoft will announce a marketplace for SharePoint Online sometime in the near future?

Until then, do you see the Google Marketplace as the very best option? Does Microsoft stand a chance? Let us know what you think.

Bitrix Takes Their Intranet Portal to the Cloud

bitrix_logo_2009.jpg

Continuing on with their Software-as-a-Service adventure thanks to a partnership with Parallels, Bitrix (site) has announced that it’s working on a new initiative for delivering their Intranet Portal through a SaaS deployment model.  

For Hosting/Service Providers

Basically, the new initiative allows hosting/service providers to install Bitrix Intranet Portal in a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a cloud environment powered by Parallels, VMware or Amazon EC2. Customers are then granted the rights to use the solution for a given period of time without the hassle of on-premise deployment. 

By utilizing the offering, Bitrix claims their partners can take advantage of:

  • competitive pricing
  • customization/rebranding options
  • a wide range of vendor support (sales, marketing, technical)
  • fair revenue sharing – paying only for actual users
  • no competition from the vendor
  • fair lead distribution
  • no setup fees

"Our new initiative gives partners a new method of business diversification and ARPU improvement while proving customers a chance to use a new business-oriented service directly from their hosting/service provider," said Dmitry Valyanov, President of Bitrix, Inc.

SaaS

Bitrix's focus on SaaS is inspired by several factors, including some interesting numbers from IDC. The research firm indicates that 41% of businesses have either already purchased, or are evaluating SaaS products. Meanwhile, the SaaS share in IT budgets is expected to double in 2009-2013. Gartner's in on SaaS as well, and predicts revenues will grow approximately four times faster than traditional software over the next four years—that's US$14 billion by 2013.

"The SaaS offering is a perfect market move that will be much appreciated especially by small companies with up to 50 users," said Daniel J. Gilbert, CEO of Aurora Information Technology, Inc., a Bitrix Gold Certified Partner that specializes in medical website design and Internet marketing.

Bitrix will have more information about the initiative at the Parallels Summit on February 23rd. Otherwise, you can get more information here.