Data Sheet—Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Hello! Welcome to the inaugural edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily digest for people who believe that technology is business. It’s a busy morning, so let’s get down to it.
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Now it’s personal. The feud continues between Hewlett-Packard and Autonomy. The computer giant is threatening in San Francisco court to hold the British company’s founder and former CFO accountable for fraud. HP was forced to write down more than $8.8 billion in 2012 on the ill-fated deal, and shareholders are still looking for someone else to foot that bill.
Watch out Workday. IBM is putting 1,600 consultants behind a new portfolio of cloud services for hiring talent, engaging employees and managing organizational change. The platform is the next evolution of Kenexa, which the enterprise giant acquired for $1.3 billion in 2012.
Should you or shouldn’t you? The return on investment on cloud computing projects is notoriously difficult to calculate: a new survey from InformationWeek suggests just 23% of businesses can accurately compare on-premise costs for servers and storage with the bill for infrastructure as a service, although at least half try to ballpark it. Read it to find out how Airbnb and GE do the math.
Still Alibaba’s secret. According to its IPO papers, the Chinese tech giant could conjure up a credible cloud service in the United States. For now, though, its relatively modest scale and domestic investments make that unlikely.
No downtime, we promise. Not only has Splunk slashed the price for its cloud-based machine intelligence service, it now offers a 100% uptime service level agreement.
STATS & SPECS
Notebook renaissance? Tablet computer sales stalled in the second quarter, with both Apple and Samsung suffering shipment declines because of a slowdown in innovation, reports research firm Canalys. Notebooks picked up the slack: shipments are up 13% and 8% year-over-year in North America and EMEA. Two big factors: the Windows XP migration, and falling prices for touchscreens.
Show, don’t tell. Desk.com is adding a video component to its customer-support service, where businesses can upload self-service product overviews, how-to guides and troubleshooting tips. No in-house production skills? The Salesforce.com unit also forged a partnership with Vimeo.
Make it go away. The good news is Windows 7 is now on double the desktops and notebooks than the aged Windows XP. (Yes, it’s still out there.) The bad news it has an almost 25% share, which can be a drain on support resources.
It’s got you covered. Bitglass, which offers an enterprise security service centered on mobile devices and cloud services, just snagged another $25 million from a large global bank and the investment arm of Asia’s largest telco, SingTel Group.
Which security threat should you address first? Vectra Networks just closed a $25 million Series C round, led by Accel Partners, to help answer enterprises get a real-time view into which malware threats and attacks to prioritize.
We’d like to recommend. Thanks to the merger of marketing software companies Taboola and Perfect Market, digital marketing teams will soon be able to use the “recommended content” promotion widgets that appear on Web sites for paid advertisements.
This week, Fortune published a list of 20 practitioners, data scientists and technologists giving shape to the concept of big data, however you define it.
I liked what Eventbrite’s Pat Poels had to say: “Analyzing data is a lot like poker,” he said. “You play thousands of hands, you learn about people, you process data, you look for things that stick out. The same things are applicable.” (Casinos take note: he’s a former professional card player.)
What makes for a successful big data project? I asked Ron Bodkin, founder and CEO of Think Big Analytics, a four-year-old systems integrator in Mountain View, Calif. that has advised the likes of EMC, Facebook, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, and NetApp on big data strategy and architecture. (Think Big’s list of supported platforms reads like a who’s who list of the Hadoop and business intelligence ecosystem, including Cloudera, HortonWorks and Pivotal.)
He tells me it’s difficult to lure data scientists into traditional enterprise IT departments, which is why they should first better organize their data and find a way to show simple results.
“It’s not a one-and-done,” Bodkin says. “It’s not like implementing an ERP system where you’re just thankful when you’re done and you don’t have to do anymore work on it. Investing in big data is a journey, and as companies make those investments and start to see results from it, they are motivated to do more.”
So get ready to open your mind to data-driven business outcomes that would excite your CEO and CFO. “We’re seeing organizations where they’re creating new roles like chief data officer or analytics officer,” Bodkin says. “On one side, it’s a technology role to work with the business to allow big data and advanced analytics to create value. But if it happens in a company, you have to ask, ‘Why didn’t the CIO get asked to do that?’ The CIO should be aspiring to play that role to champion that, you don’t need to have a new C-suite role open up to champion that.”
Have your own data success story? Tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ONE MORE THING…
Shunning “Titanfall” for CrossFit. The long-lived stereotype of pasty, pudgy “brogrammers” glued 24×7 to their monitors apparently is giving way to a new generation of software developers interested just as much in optimizing their physical “systems” as the code they’re writing or the architecture they’re engineering. Maybe it’s time to restock your in-house kitchen with juicers and ditch the donuts for cricket-based protein bars.
Def Con: Hack to your heart’s content. (Aug. 7 – 10, Las Vegas)
Gartner Catalyst: Architect a digital business. (Aug. 11 – 14, San Diego)
VMworld: Learn about latest virtualization innovation. (Aug. 24-28, San Francisco)
Atlassian Summit: Build software, collaboratively. (Sept. 9 – 11, San Jose, Calif.)
Open Data Center Alliance Forecast 2014: Catch up on enterprise cloud computing trends. (Sept. 22 – 24, San Francisco)
Oracle OpenWorld: Get a roadmap reality check. (Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, San Francisco)
Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2014: Compare notes with peers. (Oct. 5 – 9, Orlando, Fla.)
Splunk .conf2014. Harness operational intelligence from machine data. (Oct. 6 – 9, Las Vegas)
Dreamforce: Pick from 1,400 sessions about the world’s largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)
Strata/Hadoop World: Analyze big data tools and techniques. (Oct. 15 – 17, New York)
AWS re:Invent: Hear the latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)
Gartner Data Center Conference: Get new ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)