Daily Tech Digest - June 20, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Has Companies’ Interest, But Not Their Cash

But while companies are interested in what A.I. can potentially do for them, many aren’t willing to invest massive amounts of money in the endeavor. Some 92 percent of respondents reported overall A.I. budgets of less than $5 million, with 52 percent paying less than $1 million. However, most plan to increase their A.I.-related spending over the next year. For companies pursuing an artificial intelligence strategy, Constellation recommends starting as early as possible, as building out platforms and training algorithms takes time. A company’s data scientists and executives must also start thinking about how to structure their existing databases for interaction with the eventual A.I. platform. ... If businesses are willing to spend more on A.I. initiatives in the short term, that means more jobs and projects to work on. Earlier this year, analyst firm McKinsey & Company published a report suggesting that fewer than 10,000 professionals actually have the necessary skills to tackle the biggest A.I. problems, which is a key reason why A.I.-related salaries have climbed into the stratosphere. That report also suggested that A.I.-enhanced industries constitute a multi-trillion-dollar market, placing a high ceiling on the demand for talent.

Istio and the Future of Service Meshes

A service mesh provides a transparent and language-independent way to flexibly and easily automate networking, security, and telemetry functions. In essence, it decouples development and operations for services. So if you are a developer, you can deploy new services as well as make changes to existing ones without worrying about how that will impact the operational properties of your distributed systems. Similarly, an operator can seamlessly modify operational controls across services without redeploying them or modifying their source code. This layer of infrastructure between services and their underlying network is what is usually referred to as a service mesh. Within Google, we use a distributed platform for building services, powered by proxies that can handle various internal and external protocols. These proxies are supported by a control plane that provides a layer of abstraction between developers and operators and lets us manage services across multiple languages and platforms. This architecture has been battle-tested to handle high scalability, low latency and provide rich features to every service running at Google.

No, Culture Does Not Eat Strategy for Breakfast

That much is true: Culture can definitely derail your success. But to imply that culture can eat strategy -- that culture is fundamentally a stronger driver of your success -- is where the metaphor starts to fail us. ... A cohesive culture cannot fix a bad strategy. The deeper truth here is that culture and strategy are really two sides of the same coin. A good friend of mine once said that culture does not eat strategy for breakfast but that strategy and culture need to go out to lunch. They both influence each other, so it is the extent of their alignment that is most important -- not the power one has over the other. Your culture should be intentionally shaped to make your chosen strategy more effective. That means, by the way, that if you make a major change to your strategy, you’ll also have to work to change your culture to match. It’s only when you see strategy and culture as separate that they start to eat each other. Consider the legendary focus on customer service within the culture at Zappos. They have every employee (regardless of the job function) go through customer service training and spend time answering customer calls on the phone. It’s that important to their culture. But what most people don’t mention is that this focus on customer service was a strategic choice.

When it Comes to Digital Transformation, Complacency Is Not an Option

light show
Digital transformation encompasses numerous business considerations, including cost, learning curve, migration strategy and a host of technical concerns. And while it brings with it the possibility of an incredibly positive change for the business, there’s the human element to consider as well. The reality is that people don’t like change. They have a comfort zone, and being forced to leave that zone can lead to a great deal of resistance. Having senior management stand firmly behind the introduction of new systems and new technologies from the outset can go a long way towards alleviating those fears. Buy-in from the senior team sends a message that the new technology is a strategic move wanted by and desired by the business. It also helps to have management articulate the many advantages of embracing new technology … rather than facing the risk of the business being overtaken by competitors. ... Regardless of how smoothly your digital systems are operating today, keep your eye on the horizon. Stay informed. Chat regularly with your customers and vendors. Read what both analysts and editors have to say. Have a discussion with a solution partner that’s closer to the technology than you are.

Microsoft to tighten screws on traditional Office, Gartner predicts

Gartner's prediction, if accurate, would expand a policy that Microsoft put in place more than a year ago. Under rules announced in April 2017, owners of perpetual-license versions of Office - those that, once purchased, let customers run the software as long as they want - can connect to Microsoft's cloud-based services only during the first half of their 10-year support lifecycle. Those services include Microsoft-hosted Exchange email, the OneDrive for Business storage service and Skype for Business. The new policy will be enforced starting Oct. 13, 2020, Microsoft said. By that date, Office 2010, Office 2013 and the current suite, Office 2016, will have dropped out of mainstream support, the label for Office's first five years. (Office 2016's mainstream support will expire on that date.) Office 2019, which is slated for release this fall, will reach the end of mainstream support sometime in late 2023. But Gartner believes that Microsoft will change the rules before then for that edition, telling customers that they must subscribe to Office 365 - and thus have Office 365 ProPlus - to use any cloud services.

Why blockchain won't transform IoT security

When determining whether or not to work with blockchain, IoT developers must ask themselves one of the most basic computer science questions, Corman said: "Can I already do this with a distributed database?" Often, the answer is yes, he added. "It's not new technology," Lord said. "Most of what we talk about with blockchain is a better set of patterns for dealing with decentralized or distributed problems. It's not going to change how we deal with things in IoT." One way that blockchain could be useful is in distributing a policy change across different devices. However, anyone advertising blockchain as a security feature in an IoT device should at this point be met with skepticism, Lord said. IoT manufacturers also want to bring scale to their devices, said Rob Black, founder and managing principal of Fractional CISO. "When you think about blockchain, it's anything but scale—you're bringing along a huge ledger of transactions," Black said. "Compatibility with blockchain and IoT in today's environment is almost nonexistent."

Why digital transformation spending will reach $1.1 trillion – and what happens from here

Driven in part by investments from the manufacturing industries, smart manufacturing ($161 billion) and digital supply chain optimization ($101 billion) are the DX strategic priorities that will see the most spending in 2018. Other strategic priorities that will receive significant funding this year include digital grid, omni-experience engagement, omnichannel commerce, and innovation acceleration. The strategic priorities that are forecast to see the fastest spending growth over the 2016-2021 forecast period are omni-experience engagement (38.1 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR)), financial and clinical risk management (31.8 percent CAGR), and smart construction (25.4 percent CAGR). "Some of the strategic priority areas with lower levels of spending this year include building cognitive capabilities, data-driven services and benefits, operationalizing data and information, and digital trust and stewardship," said Craig Simpson, research manager at IDC. To achieve its DX strategic priorities, every business will develop programs that represent a long-term plan of action toward these goals.

Chief data officers go to summer school

Carruthers said she considers herself “extremely fortunate to be part of a first generation of chief data officers – a role that requires a passion for creative thinking and a love of technology to develop pragmatic solutions for interesting challenges”. “Our CDO summer school combines these key elements, bringing together a community of like-minded CDOs for the first time to create an engaging learning environment for an exciting new generation of data leaders,” she said. Speaking to Computer Weekly, Southern Water’s Jackson stressed the importance of the community-building element of the course among a group of C-level leaders of recent vintage. “At present, there are [only] a few hundred data leaders, at that level, in UK organisations. And there is no well-trodden career path,” he said. The topic of data, and how trusted it can be, is an increasingly common one at boardroom level, and so someone needs to “own” that element of business decision-making, said Jackson. “And there is a real shortage of people, at that senior level, who combine business acumen with technical expertise. There is no university pumping out CDOs,” he added.

What is NVMe, and how is it changing enterprise storage

There are extremely latency-sensitive workloads that will benefit immediately from NVMe’s performance boost, such as real-time big-data analytics or high-performance database environments. Real-time analysis and response are becoming a necessity for businesses, and IDC predicts that between 60% and 70% of Fortune 2000 companies will have at least one mission-critical workload that leverages real-time big data analytics by 2020. “When an enterprise has a workload that, if it runs faster, drives a bottom-line business benefit such as more commissions, higher revenues, better customer service – those are the workloads that might drive a customer to say, ‘I’ve got to have NVMe today,’” Bergener says. The first storage platforms that leveraged NVMe instead of SCSI technology began to ship in 2016 and 2017 from startups including Apeiron Data Systems, E8 Storage, Excelero, Micron and Pavilion Data Systems. These systems are mainly targeted for specialized workloads with extremely latency-sensitive workloads, such as trading analysis.

Ransomware is taking a toll on banks. Here’s how they’re fighting back

Phishing campaigns still work best for delivering malware, Verizon report finds
To shore up its data protection, Glazebrook said the 101-year-old Adams Bank invested in technology and partnered with the IT resiliency firm Zerto. It recently installed a platform that immediately alerts the bank’s IT team if ransomware infects the system and can rewind to the minute it hit to fully recover the data in about an hour. (Glazebrook describes it as TiVo for ransomware.) The new system also allows for near-instant replication of data files, and IT staff can also remotely perform checks on system status. Of course, no matter what technology a bank implements, none can ever be truly safe from cyberattacks like ransomware, as security professionals and cybercriminals continually engage in a cat-and-mouse game, said Michael Hathaway, co-founder of Windmill Enterprise, which operates a blockchain security network called Cognida. “Unfortunately, there are no easy answers,” he said. One the one hand, many banks prefer to “keep all their data secure physically and in a single place, and then that can become point of attack,” he said. Having everything in one place “gives a sense of security but provides a place where hackers can try and continually get access to.”

Quote for the day:

"A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone." -- Henry A. Kissinger

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