Daily Tech Digest - September 02, 2020

Building a viable IT budget for 2021 in a time of uncertainty: Seven critical steps

In 2021, IT budget spends will be diversified over a broader range of categories (digitalization, mobile computing, employee training, for example) than in 2020, when IT budgets were heavily invested in security and cloud services. Security and cloud services will still lead investment categories, but organizations have reached an inflection point and feel they have attained many of their initial goals in these areas. End users will continue to be engaged in technology decision making. However, there are indications that more organizations want to fully understand just how much they spend on IT across the company. From a budgetary standpoint, this has sparked a movement to consolidate more of the IT spend (and assets) under a single umbrella, with IT in charge. Also in 2021, CFOs and other technology budget decision-makers will expect more input from successful trials and proofs of concept before they agree to fund new technology. This is in response to the mixed performance of ROI formulas, and also to cost overruns, which have routinely occurred with cloud services. That's not all. Below are seven additional budget forecasts that IT budget planners should take into account before building a 2021 IT budget.

Improvements in native code interop in .NET 5.0

With .NET 5 scheduled to be released later this year, we thought it would be a good time to discuss some of the interop updates that went into the release and point out some items we are considering for the future. As we start thinking about what comes next, we are looking for developers and consumers of any interop solutions to discuss their experiences. We are looking for feedback about interop scenarios in general – not just those related to .NET. If you have worked in the interop space, we’d love to hear from you on our GitHub issue. Some items mentioned in this post are Windows-specific (COM and WinRT). In those cases, ‘the runtime’ refers only to CoreCLR. ... C# function pointers will be coming to C# 9.0, enabling the declaration of function pointers to both managed and unmanaged functions. The runtime had some work to support and complement the interop-related parts of the feature. ... C# function pointers provide a performant way to call native functions from C#. It makes sense for the runtime to provide a symmetrical solution for calling managed functions from native code. UnmanagedCallersOnlyAttribute indicates that a function will be called only from native code, allowing the runtime to reduce the cost of calling the managed function.

Ducati Motors to leverage IT transformation from Aruba and Lenovo

“Using the latest and most advanced technologies is part of Ducati’s DNA,” said Konstantin Kostenarov, chief technology officer at Ducati. “Relying on the best technologies made available through our partners has significantly contributed to the overall improvement of processes, while at the same time increasing the value of the results achieved. “The choices made two years ago and the projects that have been carried out since then have allowed us to tackle the various complexities of this sport in the most effective way possible.” Giorgio Girelli, general manager of Aruba Enterprise, commented: “Among the technologies that have emerged as a result of Covid-19, the cloud is undoubtedly one that has proven its worth and made it possible to better face crisis situations. “An internal commissioned survey reveals that 59% of those who were able to use cloud solutions during emergency situations considered its use to be fundamental to their operations. “The sharing and combination of the latest technologies between the three companies involved has given life to a very innovative project focused on one goal: obtaining maximum performance.”

Leveraging AI to Deliver a Personalized Experience in the New Normal

It is key to understand how different subscribers perceive different experiences while gaming, attending a smart venue or traveling virtually. Each of these experiences will vary for different individuals: e.g. a man in his 30s who works from home versus a teenager who moves around the city. These experiences need to be predicted across various touch points, such as OTT game apps or smart venues, the network, call center, retail, and billing. It is also crucial to proactively identify anomalies and factors contributing to a negative experience or positive experience in order to act fast to resolve issues before they impact gaming customers, or to target the right customers at the optimal time for an add-on purchase in a smart venue. The application of AI and ML brings intelligent insights that are more precise than those produced by existing processes and systems, and enables the CSP to predict changes or anomalies in their customers’ experiences. AI and ML enable the possibility to look at each subscriber based on their individual profile, including demographics, device used or mobility to predict the experience more accurately, and taking into account the individual sensitivities, biases and expectations. The insights software learns with changing dynamics either at the CSPs network, customer segment or market and adapts predictions accordingly.

To build responsibly, tech needs to do more than just hire chief ethics officers

Just like the early days of digital, ethics can seem complex and remote. Remember thinking, “The internet will never be big enough to disrupt my industry? It can be tempting to assume you need a Ph.D. to debate complex topics like algorithmic bias or exclusion, especially as many of those chief ethics officers have those deep credentials and expertise. Even though tech fancies itself as an industry that welcomes new types of talent and thinking, credentialism is more part of the industry culture than we think – or admit. (If you’re questioning that, just think about how popular it is to put ex-employers in your Twitter biography.) Unless you work on ethics full time or you’re a product VP, it’s easy to feel that you have no say or no role in your company’s commitment to social responsibility, especially if you’re underrepresented at your company or speaking up puts you at risk. Ethical leaders play a powerful central role in coordinating, setting standards and creating incentives, but they wouldn’t want to be the only ones to own this work, either. Responsibility’s a muscle we build and practice. Doing the right thing isn’t a one-off action, but a commitment to values that inform day-to-day behaviors and decisions. So we need to create structures that ensure company values are embedded in roles across the board.

What Is Resilience Engineering?

Resilience engineering today isn’t thought of as a function. However, just as DevOps was a description of culture before it was a role and site reliability was an extension of operations before it was a focus, I wouldn’t be surprised if resilience engineering became a function in the new future. The first question most will ask however is, “Isn’t this just SRE?” The purpose of the term is to change the focus from simply reacting to incidents to developing long-term response strategies for them. Because the expectation in these environments is that things will break, resilience is the responsibility of existing DevOps and cloud operations teams. When applications and services do break, a “fly by the seat of your pants” response strategy will not work. Resilience engineering, while rooted in engineering practices, is largely focused on building strategies and a framework for their execution. This leaves the process of building resilience into a largely unestablished system in part because each system is unique. And, how you respond to issues in that system will likely be unique, even if the management plane that reports issues is not. ... For most, the best part of resilience engineering is taking what is learned from previous incidents and finding ways to automate future resolution.

Sustainability Through a Better 5G

Ericsson talks about ‘breaking the energy curve’ by providing products and solutions that simply use less energy and are the practical choice for companies striving to make a sustainable shift in their digital transformation journey. Swapping old radio equipment with 5G-ready Ericsson Radio System equipment nationwide enables service providers to serve 5G use cases with a single software upgrade and can also save them up to 30 percent on their energy consumption . For some operators these savings equate to paying back the investment made on modernization within just three years – who says sustainability does not go together with business goals? Looking to the future of work and travel post-coronavirus, it’s clear that our global mindset has shifted and that we can’t just go back to the way things were before. It’s all about connectivity, especially during these challenging times where keeping in touch with loved ones, essential services and businesses is more important than ever. The next era will witness technology not only serving our needs to stay connected but also enabling a more inclusive and sustainable world. With a focus on real-time data built upon a framework of sustainability, Ericsson have successfully architected a 5G-aware traffic management solution with AI embedded in its RAN Compute software.

Working from home: The 12 new rules for getting it right

Remote working doesn't change some elements of corporate professionalism. "Don't expect that colleagues, clients, and managers should always be easygoing in terms of dress code, tone of voice and punctuality in the remote workplace," Herman Tse, professor in the department of management at Monash Business School, tells ZDNet. And although there is a screen now separating you from your colleagues, don't take this as an opportunity to prudently check emails or scroll Twitter during a video call, because others can tell when you are multi-tasking, even if virtually. You wouldn't check your phone in front of a co-worker giving an in-person presentation – so there is no reason to act differently online. With 30-minute slots being the default option when setting up a calendar meeting, calls that could take a couple of minutes now last for much longer than necessary. "There is work that needs to be done around calendar norms," Sowmyanarayan adds. "Things that take two minutes should take two minutes." Before setting up a day full of half-hour meetings, therefore, remember how long those chats would have taken in an office. More often than not, you will find that a shorter call is far more appropriate.

App Trimming in .NET 5

Trimming sounds great, but as with most good things, there is a catch. The trimming does a static analysis of the code and therefore can only identify types and members when they are referenced from code. However .NET offers a great deal of dynamism, typically depending on reflection. For example, Dependency Injection in ASP.NET Core uses reflection to select appropriate constructors. This is largely transparent to the static analysis, so it needs to either be told about the required types or be able to detect common dynamism patterns – otherwise it will trim away code that is needed by the application which will result in runtime crashes. ... .NET 5 can take it two levels further and remove types and members that are not used. This can have a big effect where only a small subset of an assembly is used – for example, the console application above. Member-level trimming has more risk than assembly level trimming, and so is being released as an experimental feature, that is not yet ready for mainstream adoption. With assembly level trimming, its more obvious when a required assembly is missing, with member level trimming you need to have exhaustive testing of the app to ensure that nothing has been trimmed that could be required.

Q&A: CTO tips on delivering cloud innovation to avoid disruption

Make sure to develop and leverage an internal requirements matrix of what you are looking for. Be very clear about what you want and need from a particular cloud solution. Stack rank key priorities and progressively implement towards the long-term vision. Ask any vendor: How are things audited? Do they comply with privacy regulations such as GDPR? What technical support do they offer? Get a full picture of what the commitment is by the vendor. Deployments that are measured in quarters are too slow, companies need to think about how they can take advantage of the speed and control of cloud deployments and use an agile approach to incrementally transform. An important element to consider is the vendor’s application user rate and the holistic usability of any cloud applications. One of the most important things is usability and adaptability. Will this be easily adaptable to fit your company’s needs? Look at their roadmap and past innovations to get a better sense of their ability to push on innovation and support the ever-changing needs of various businesses. This will give you a better sense of their ability to adapt to the changing needs of your company. Start a dialogue with vendors about how you need to demonstrate results quickly.

Quote for the day:

"It is easy to lead from the front when there are no obstacles before you, the true colors of a leader are exposed when placed under fire." -- Mark W. Boyer

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