Friday, November 5, 2010

HP helps fight poverty in tough economy with charitable CARE sweepstakes campaign

As charities continue to struggle in a down economy, HP recently introduced a new program that shows the tech giant also has a giant heart. HP has begun offering a vehicle to raise donations for CARE, a humanitarian organization that fights global poverty.

Charitable donations declined 11 percent in 2009, according to Corporate Philanthropy. That’s the largest dip in 20 years. Even some of the most well-recognized charities in the United States are suffering, as donors pull back and worldwide crises put new demands on already strained resources.

HP is looking to do its part with the HP Technology Services sweepstakes. Here’s how it works: HP will donate $10 to CARE every time a registered visitor votes for his or her favorite Technology Services Expert on the sweepstakes site. Visitors can vote up to seven times a day. [Disclosure: HP is s sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

“HP is adding the human touch to technology, as well as partnering with CARE to turn our local action into global impact,” says Michelle Weiss, vice president of Marketing, Technology Services at HP. “The awareness generated through the sweepstakes will help to advance CARE’s humanitarian work to empower women and girls as change agents in fighting poverty and its impact around the world.”

Contribute to charity -- and win prizes

The sweepstakes is part of a new HP Technology Services program that showcases the HP team — from engineers to service professionals. IT professionals can register to vote and be entered to win an HP Envy laptop, an HP Photosmart e-All-in-One Printer, and other prizes. IT pros can choose from one of seven candidates: Kfir Godrich, Lee Kedrie, Bill Kosik, Donald Livengood, Patrick Lownds, Bradley Mearns and Chris and Greg Tinker. As of mid-October, HP had already logged 10,736 votes, driving more than $100,000 to the charity.

HP Cares

Founded in 1945, CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Working in 72 countries around the world, women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education, health and economic opportunity.

“HP has been an important and long-term partner for CARE, contributing both technology expertise and generous support to advance our mission,” says Radha Muthiah, vice president, Strategic Partnerships and Alliances, CARE. “We continue to applaud their commitment to connecting people to CARE’s work in innovative and meaningful ways.”

More information on the HP Technology Services Experts sweepstakes, including how to enter a vote to have HP donate to CARE, is available at
BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at and
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Millennials don’t want enterprise IT to party like it’s 1999

This guest post comes courtesy of Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at Zapthink.

There’s an invasion coming. In fact, it’s already under way, and you probably haven’t already realized that you’re about to be taken over.

That’s right – Generation Y has entered the workforce (as anemic as it currently is), and is bound to become the dominant part of your enterprise within the next 10-15 years. What does this mean for your organization? How are the needs of Gen Y different from that of existing markets? And why does this have anything to do with Enterprise IT?

The answers are below, but rest assured, the emergence of Millennials in the workforce is every bit a crisis point for your IT planning as dealing with the downfall of EA Frameworks and Cyberwarfare, albeit with most likely a positive ending.

What makes Gen Y different?

Wikipedia’s Generation Y entry provides some needed detail on what exactly we’re dealing with here:
Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, Generation Next or Net Generation, describes the demographic cohort following Generation X. Its members are often referred to as Millennials or Echo Boomers … commentators have used birth dates ranging somewhere from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, but most agree on birth dates between 1982 and 1995. Members of this generation are called Echo Boomers, due to the significant increase in birth rates between 1982–1995, and because most of them are children of baby boomers. The term Generation Y first appeared in an August 1993 Ad Age editorial to describe teenagers of the day
Okay, so they’re baby boomer spawn. Big deal? Well, not necessarily. Without exception, Gen Y’ers (let’s use the term Millennials from here on to simplify the writing) have grown up entirely in the information age. They don’t know a world without computers, cell phones, and MTV.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were already fighting by the time they were born, and the term minicomputer never even entered their lexicon. But what makes the Millennials most relevant for the enterprise is that their experience of IT is primarily with the vast rate of change happening on the consumer side, rather than in the enterprise.

It’s not just an inherent technical fluency that separates Millennials from their peers. Milennials emerged in a world where instant communication in the form of email, texting, instant messaging, social networks, online gaming, virtual worlds like World of Warcraft and Second Life, and online sharing platforms such as YouTube were the norm. Because much of their lives were conducted in the public sphere, the notion of personal privacy has eroded. Will Millennials have the same respect for corporate information as that of their less publicly verbose colleagues?

The far biggest impact on the emergence of Millennials in the workforce is that their expectations of what enterprise IT can do for them and the company is very different than their older peers.

Likewise, Millennials leverage the power of these mass communication and sharing platforms to revolutionize the way marketing and information sharing is done. Viral marketing, flash mobbing, internet memes, and spontaneous meetups are not only the new social cliques and in-culture of the generation, but the primary way trends are shaped.

This is all backed up by research. In a seminal report by Junco and Mastrodicasa, they cited the following results of a survey of the Millennial group:
College students ... used technology at higher rates than people from other generations. In their survey, they found that 97 percent of these students owned a computer, 94 percent owned a cell phone, and 56 percent owned a MP3 player. They also found that students spoke with their parents an average of 1.5 times a day about a wide range of topics. Other findings in the Junco and Mastrodicasa survey revealed 76 percent of students used instant messaging, and 92 percent of those reported multitasking while IMing.
But the far biggest impact on the emergence of Millennials in the workforce is that their expectations of what enterprise IT can do for them and the company is very different than their older peers. In the eyes of Millennials, they can get sophisticated IT stuff done without the IT department — in fact, many already have. So enterprise IT departments: Prepare to win the hearts and minds of the Millennials, lest they find competition for your services.

How will this impact Enterprise IT?

Millennials see IT as a tool to get things done. For them, however, they have a choice between using the tools of their daily lives (mobile devices, online applications, social networks) or the tools of their business lives (what we currently consider to be enterprise IT). As such, organizations need to understand the core needs of this critical user group:
  • Physical boundaries no longer exist – The fact that enterprise systems and data are behind a firewall are of little concern to folks who are very used to cloud and SaaS-based system, mobile applications, and virtualization writ large. Location agnosticism is a must for future enterprise IT systems. This need is echoed in the Global Cubicle Supertrend, which forms a core part of ZapThink’s 2020 Vision of Enterprise IT. The Global Cubicle represents that realization that the enterprise is no longer confined to the physical boundaries of the office, and all the implications this has on IT and governance.

  • Mobile as a first-class participant – The days of treating mobile apps as a red-headed stepchild or third-class citizen in the enterprise IT landscape are over. There are far more reasons to make enterprise capabilities available inherently on mobile apps than not. Especially when your users spend more time on mobile systems than they do on the ones the enterprise IT department creates.

    Most enterprise IT applications have utterly appalling user interfaces that are only modest improvements from the 1970s green screen era.

  • The Need for Immediacy – The “now” generation wants instant access to data and functionality. And they want it in a consistent manner regardless of the device they use or location they are at.

  • The Era of Function over Form is Over – The market has already proven that functionally equivalent (or even functionally poorer) applications with superior user experiences prevail over functionally superior, but user experience poor applications. Sound familiar? Well it should – most enterprise IT applications have utterly appalling user interfaces that are only modest improvements from the 1970s green screen era. Web based applications are 1990s hold-overs. It’s time to rethink the enterprise app.
How can enterprise IT address these needs? Fortunately, both the technology and know-how exist to solve these problems. As is often the case, the solution is most often design and architecture-centric and less-so technology centric. If someone sells you a Millennial Integration App, you should run quickly in the other direction. Instead, you should adjust your IT development and operations practices to meet the above needs:
  • Provide Immediate Gratification – Provisioning of IT capability has to be as immediate and agile as possible. Data and functionality have to be available and immediate regardless of device or location. The enterprise IT organization has to realize that it is in competition for the hearts and minds of the business users.

    If you haven’t been paying attention to loose coupling for the last 10 years that we’ve been talking about it, you should start now.

  • Design for Location and Device Agnosticism – Design for consistency of experience and action regardless of location and device. This emphasizes truly loosely-coupled services and SOA design principles. If you haven’t been paying attention to loose coupling for the last 10 years that we’ve been talking about it, you should start now. Designing for loose coupling significantly complicates testing, security, privacy, and governance, but we’ve drilled down on these topics many times before.

  • Create a Compelling User Experience – User experience is no longer a luxury. You are competing with online, social, and mobile experiences. There is increasingly a fuzzy line between business & consumer IT. So, start learning from Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook’s examples and eliminate the digital divide.
This sounds like a tall order, but it shouldn’t be anything new for enterprise IT departments that are already looking ahead to the next generation of applications and value creation for the enterprise.

The ZapThink take

The impact of Millennials entering the workforce becomes a crisis point only if organizations turn a blind eye to the different experiences and needs of this age group. The days of enterprise IT departments having sole control of the pace and scope of IT innovation in the organization are long gone.

Millennials already know that they have sophisticated, highly usable, and instant IT capabilities available at their fingertips and online, so why should they be bothered when the comparatively slower and less-sophisticated enterprise IT department can’t get their needs met? A smart enterprise IT department will realize that internal as well as external market forces impact the scope of what they need to get done.

Those that ignore the changing internal dynamics of the workforce will face a crisis point when the new generation takes increasingly more senior management positions. Those that see the emergence of this savvy audience as a good excuse to increase the pace of innovation will not only save their own jobs, but continue to make the enterprise IT department a champion and engine for innovation in the enterprise.

This guest post comes courtesy of Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at Zapthink.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sensing shift in business priorities, HP targets Instant-On Enterprise as new tech-enabled competitive advantage

The rapidly evolving landscape for global business -- and the consequent need for IT to relate differently to businesses so they together serve their customers in innovative ways -- has to mean more than business as usual from technology suppliers.

While a majority of vendors seem to be hunkering down around an entrenched set of core products and aging IT approaches, HP this week shared a different vision, what it calls the “Instant-On Enterprise." [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The Instant-On Enterprise, as HP defines it, is a data-driven organization that leverages technology for everything — but specifically to better address the ever-evolving needs of end-users. As users' expectations and experience change, so too must the ways enterprises relate to them, are perceived by them.

The next several years will form a culmination of now-clear mega trends that have only just begun to roil conventional business practices. We're talking about pervasive mobile applications use, highly responsive cloud computing models, and knowledge-adept social collaboration. More than just these shifts, there also needs to be an increasingly automated, secure, and harmonizing management capability that combines and reinforces them.

It takes a special kind of enterprise to close the expectation gap between what customers and citizens expect and what the enterprise can deliver.

As these trends literally re-arrange business ecosystems and re-established the service delivery order, a gap will surely grow between the companies that master change and exploit enabling technologies -- and those that fall ever further behind.

With that in mind, HP has rolled out new solutions that aim to help both business and government create their own Instant-On Enterprise. Not surprisingly, the driver of the Instant-On Enterprise is everything becoming connected and immediate, people expect responses regardless of sourcing and/or partner ecosystems — and within seconds instead of days.

“It takes a special kind of enterprise to close the expectation gap between what customers and citizens expect and what the enterprise can deliver,” says Tom Hogan, executive vice president of Enterprise Sales, Marketing and Strategy at HP. “The Instant-On Enterprise delivers differentiated competitive advantage, serving customers, employees, partners and citizens with whatever they want and need, instantly…"

Embedding Tech

New HP research reveals that the role of IT is shifting from chiefly being the administrator of the enterprise to becoming one and the same with the enterprise. This means enabling rapid, recurring business process improvements to meet dynamic customer demands, as well as gaining near-instant insights into shifting markets.

Coleman Parkes research conducted for HP in October reveals that 86 percent of senior business and government executives believe they must rapidly adapt the enterprise to meet changes in consumer expectations. The research also indicates that 78 percent believe technology is the key to business and government innovation, and 85 percent indicated that in order to be successful, technology needs to be embedded in the business or government service.

HP’s new solutions work to help enterprises and government leverage technology in ways that will meet those goals. HP sees it as a reinvention of how technology is used to deliver innovation at every point in the value chain. That covers the services that are delivered, the mobile devices that provide the access, and the global data centers required to power the Instant-On Enterprise.

Instant-On Puzzle Pieces

There are several components to HP’s Instant-On Enterprise: HP Application Transformation, HP Converged Infrastructure, HP Enterprise Security, and HP Information Optimization:

  • HP Application Transformation solutions work to help enterprises gain control over aging applications and inflexible processes that challenge innovation and agility by governing their responsiveness and pace of change.

  • HP Converged Infrastructure solutions are engineered to drive out costs and provide the foundation for agile service delivery. HP promises this solution delivers the data center of the future.

  • HP Enterprise Security solutions secures the IT infrastructure by people, processes, technology and content. These solutions aim to aligns security to meet business and government demands without losing flexibility.

  • HP Information Optimization solutions deal with how information is gathered, stored and used. The idea is to harness the power of information and ensure its integrity and protection while delivering it in the context of the enterprise.

Realizing that there is no one single delivery model that meets every end-user need, HP also introduced two new Hybrid Delivery services. HP Hybrid Delivery Strategy Service offers a patent-pending, model-driven framework to introduce hybrid delivery concepts into their existing environments.

HP Hybrid Delivery Workload Analysis Service offers experts that gather service usage and demand profile data, and then develop a set of recommendations on how to best characterize and combine workloads in hybrid environments.

BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at and

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Monday, November 1, 2010

SpotCloud aims to create online spot market for buying and selling cloud capacity

What if you could buy and sell cloud-computing capacity the same way people book hotel rooms on Priceline or Hotwire? Startup SpotCloud, the brainchild of Toronto-based Enomaly, aims to find out.

Acting as an online clearing house, SpotCloud, will allow cloud providers to offer unused capacity to keep servers busy and will allow cloud users to buy spot cloud capacity at bargain prices.

SpotCloud treats providers as a nameless, faceless, and possibly unsecured group of providers of raw, localized computing capability.

SpotCloud uses the concept of Random Access Compute Capacity, similar to cloud bursting or the dynamic deployment of a software application that runs on internal organizational compute resources to a public cloud to address a spike in demand.

However, unlike cloud bursting, which refers strictly to expanding the application to an external cloud to handle spikes in demand, SpotCloud's cloud spanning includes scenarios in which an applications component are continuously distributed across multiple localized cloud providers.

The capacity itself is provided via a global pool of regional cloud providers. SpotCloud treats providers as a nameless, faceless, and possibly unsecured group of providers of raw, localized computing capability. While buyers can purchase capacity based on performance and price and the location of the provider, the name of the provider remains hidden until after the purchase is made. This is to prevent undercutting the provider's retail sales of capacity.

Wasted capacity

According to Reuven Cohen, founder the chief technologist of Enomaly, the idea came about because of numerous cloud providers whose companies -- often the first such enterprise in their respective countries -- weren't well known and had excess capacity. With no way to make themselves known to potential buyers on a broad scale, they were watching that capacity go to waste.

At the same time, cost-conscious buyers would benefit from being able to make quick purchases of capacity, as well as location, at favorable prices. Selecting a provider becomes easier with the clearing house, because potential buyers don't need to scour the Internet looking for potential providers. Also, buyers can continually monitor the site and determine the best price at which to buy computing resources.

The process becomes easier for both sides because SpotCloud will provide the invoicing and billing. Providers avoid the hassle of trying to bill customers for small spot jobs, and buyers who may spread their cloud use among several providers will have to deal with only one payment. SpotCloud will make it's money by charging a fee to the seller.

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