Skip to Content

Data Sheet—Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Good morning, Data Sheet readers! Comments by EMC CEO Joe Tucci last week hint at strategy changes early next year. Plus, why your executive team should stop thinking about data privacy as merely a compliance concern: the best policies could become a competitive differentiator when building trust with breach-weary consumers.

Share Data Sheet with every person you know who has an interest in the business of technology. They can sign up here. I’m constantly evolving what I include (and don’t include) in this newsletter. Please send your feedback and coverage suggestions to the “tips” box.

TRENDING

EMC CEO references internal ‘friction.’ During an analyst briefing late last week, Joe Tucci acknowledged that his company’s federation business model is creating “more friction than we should have today.” Tucci dodged a direct question about whether it’s time to spin off VMware, but he said it’s “time to make major corrections” to how EMC aligns around new market opportunities. Look for a better roadmap in January. (The relevant comments are toward the end of the Seeking Alpha transcript I’ve linked to above; registration required to read them.)

Sprint exec shakeup. CEO Marcelo Claure is replacing the struggling wireless carrier’s chief marketing officer and creating two new positions as part of his newly named leadership team: chief experience officer and chief procurement officer. Wall Street Journal

SAP names first chief digital officer. Former marketing lead Jonathan Becher will manage a new business division dedicated to the software’s e-commerce and digital content operations. Maggie Chan Jones, previously with Level 3 Communications and Microsoft, will replace him as chief marketing officer.

STATS & PREDICTIONS

Mobile payments will almost triple in just five years. New projections from Forrester Research call for $142 billion in annual transactions by 2019—much of the spike building on interest in Apple Pay. New York Times

Not so fast. Sure, the DOE just made a big investment in super-fast IBM supercomputer technology, but a research system at a Chinese university is still the speediest one right now. By the way, Hewlett-Packard built more of the systems on the Top500 list than any other company. Re/code

What, me worry? With all the breaches that high-profile retailers have suffered this year, you’d think the industry’s security posture would be improving dramatically (and proactively). You’d think wrong. Close to 60% actually rate lower than a year ago, suggests an analysis by risk management company BitSight Technologies. The not-so-surprising news: most companies that suffered a break-in have made big improvements since the incident.

STARTUPS & DISRUPTORS

Email company snaps up mobile surveys startup. Campaign Monitor, which snagged $250 million from Insight Venture Partners back in April, is buying GetFeedback, which is disrupting online feedback collection. Terms weren’t disclosed, but it reunites two high-ranking former Salesforce executives Alex Bard (who previously ran the Desk.com division) and Kraig Swensrud (who was the Salesforce CMO). An integrated offering is due in the first quarter of next year.

A kill switch for business data. Battery Ventures is leading a $14 million funding round for Veradocs. Barely a year old, the company sells sophisticated access-control technology for email or for documents and images stored in cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Box.

All about the team. Collaboration and videoconferencing technology company Redbooth has raised $11 million in Series B funding from Altpoint Capital and Avalon Ventures. Plus it just signed a big contract with CA Technologies, which will redistribute the software as part of its own products. Redbooth customers include Avis, GE, US Airways, and Warner Brothers. Competitors include Slack and the new Project Squared alliance announced this week by Cisco Systems and Box.

POLICY & STRATEGY

Why data privacy will become a competitive differentiator

If your company doesn’t have a formal, simple policy covering how it safeguards personal information, it could soon find itself at a competitive disadvantage.

The record number of massive security breaches insinuating themselves into headlines (this week’s victim, the U.S. State Department) is making average Americans feel far more vulnerable. They have a right to be paranoid: information-hungry sensors live in everything from automobiles to streetlights to cornfields. More data than ever is collected worldwide—2.5 billion gigabytes (or the equivalent of 100 million Facebook photos). That means more data than ever is at risk. They wonder: will mine be next?

How businesses deal with this dilemma will go a long way toward earning trust. Little wonder that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers—representing automobile manufacturers including Chrysler Group, Ford Motors, General Motors and Toyota (among others)—last week pledged more transparency about how they’ll share and safeguard data generated by autonomous vehicle technologies.

Here’s an abbreviated version of its plan:

“Automakers will employ a variety of methods to provide consumers with clear notices of their privacy practices, including through owners’ manuals and company websites. Second, the most sensitive types of consumer information receive heightened protections. For many, information about where and how they drive is private. … Third, automakers clearly state the limited circumstances where they may share information with government authorities.”

Separately, a consortium representing farmers and data service providers last week published a set of “data principles” intended to assuage concerns about how information collected with precision agriculture technology—such as sensors that test soil moisture—can be used. “The privacy and security principles that underpin these emerging technologies, whether related to how data is gathered, protected and shared, must be transparent and secure,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman, in a statement. “On this matter, we all agree. Farmers are excited about the new technology front, which is why Farm Bureau asked these groups to come together and begin this collaborative dialogue.”

Both developments are a step in the right direction, but businesses need to treat privacy as far more than a compliance issue. Approximately one-third of the executives in charge of defining security strategy view this as a potential competitive differentiator—a number that will grow next year, according to a new report by Forrester Research.

Notes Forrester analyst Heidi Shey:

“Smart organizations that are in tune with their customers’ needs will move to earn and retain customer trust by ensuring that privacy is a competitive differentiator for their business and part of their business technology agenda—not just giving privacy lip service, but following through with appropriate privacy policies, means of enforcement, and building privacy considerations in to business operations and the products or services offered to customers.”

MY FORTUNE.COM BOOKMARKS

Your phone bill could go up to fund schools’ Wi-Fi By Time

Moleskine turns the page with expanded brick-and-mortar stores By Brittany Shoot

Bob Marley, the reggae king of cannabis, may soon have his own line of pot By Tom Huddleston, Jr.

Spotify moves into cards with Uber partnership By Erin Griffith

The 10 biggest R&D spenders worldwide By Michael Casey, Robert Hackett

Uber rides into new PR storm over digging dirt on hostile press By Geoffrey Smith

ONE MORE THING

Want a 10% raise in 2015? You won’t get it by specializing in security, although salaries for those positions are still growing fast, according to an annual guide by Robert Half Technology. You’ll have a better chance if you hold one of these three titles: wireless network engineer, big data engineer, mobile applications developer. InformationWeek

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Gartner Data Center Conference: Ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)

IBM Interconnect 2015: Cloud and mobile strategy. (Feb. 22 – 26, 2015; Las Vegas)

Microsoft Convergence 2015: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19, 2015; Atlanta)

Knowledge15: Automate enterprise IT services. (April 19-24, 2015; Las Vegas)

MicrosoftIgnite: Enterprise tech extravangaza. (May 4 – 8, 2015; Chicago)

SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7, 2015; Orlando, Fla.)

VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)