28 Hours as an Industry Analyst at Strata Data

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Last week, I attended Strata Data Conference at the Javitz Center in New York City to catch up with a wide variety of data science and machine learning users, enablers, and thought leaders. In the process, I had the opportunity to listen to some fantastic keynotes and to chat with 30+ companies looking for solutions, 30+ vendors presenting at the show, and attend with a number of luminary industry analysts and thought leaders including Ovum’s Tony Baer, EMA’s John Myers, Aberdeen Group’s Mike Lock, and Hurwitz & Associates’ Judith Hurwitz.

From this whirwind tour of executives, I took a lot of takeaways from the keynotes and vendors that I can share and from end users that I unfortunately have to keep confidential. To give you an idea of what an industry analyst notes, following are a short summary of takeaways I took from the keynotes and from each vendor that I spoke to:

Keynotes: The key themes that really got my attention is the idea that AI requires ethics, brought up by Joanna Bryson, and that all data is biased, which danah boyd discussed. This idea that data and machine learning have their own weaknesses that require human intervention, training, and guidance is incredibly important. Over the past decade, technologists have put their trust in Big Data and the idea that data will provide answers, only to find that a naive and “unbiased” analysis of data has its own biases. Context and human perspective are inherent to translating data into value: this does not change just because our analytic and data training tools are increasingly nuanced and intelligent in nature.

Behind the hype of data science, Big Data, analytic modeling, robotic process automation, DevOps, DataOps, and artifical intelligence is this fundamental need to understand that data, algorithms, and technology all have inherent biases as the following tweet shows:
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Microsoft: The New Player in Quantum Computing

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Doppelspalt

On the week of September 25th, 2017, Microsoft made a huge announcement at its annual Ignite and Envision conference. Microsoft has become one of a small number of companies that is demonstrating quantum computing. IBM is another company that is also pursuing this rather futuristic computing model.

For those who are not up-to-date on quantum computing, it uses quantum properties such as superposition and entanglement to develop a new way of computing. Current computers are built around tiny electron switches called transistors that allow for two states, which represent the binary system we have today. Quantum computers leverage quantum states that give us ones, zeros, and combinations of one and zero. This means a single qubit, the quantum equivalent of a bit, can represent many more states than the bit can. This is, of course, a gross oversimplification but quantum computing promises to deliver more dense and exponentially faster computing.

There are a number of problems with practical quantum computing. The hardware is still in a nascent stage and must be cooled to a temperature that is quite a bit colder than deep space. This makes it much more likely that quantum computing will be purchased via a cloud model than on-premises. The other inhibitor is that there is no standard programming model for quantum computing. IBM has demonstrated a visual programming model that shows how quantum computing works but is clearly not going to be a serious way to write real programs. Microsoft, on the other hand, showed a more standard looking curly bracket programming language. This application layer makes quantum computing more accessible to existing programmers who are more used to the current model of computing.

When quantum computing becomes practical – I would predict that is at least 5 years away, perhaps longer – it won’t be for everyday computing tasks. The current model is already more than adequate for those tasks. It’s also unlikely that the capabilities of quantum computers, especially the information dense qubit, and costs will have much a place in transactional computing. Instead, quantum computing will be used for analyzing very large and complex data sets for simulation and AI. That’s fine because the AI and analytics market is still new and the future needs are not yet completely known. That future computing needs is what quantum computing is meant to address. Even today’s big data applications can stretch computing capabilities and force batch analytics instead of real-time for some use cases.
Microsoft’s entry into what has been an otherwise esoteric corner of the computing world signals that quantum computing is on the path to being real. It has a long way to go and many obstacles to overcome but it’s no longer just science fiction or academic. It will be years but it is on the way to becoming mainstream.

Note: This post was originally posted on Tom’s Take

Microsoft Infuses Products with Machine Learning and the Social Graph

This past week (September 25 – 27, 2017) Microsoft held its Ignite and Envision Conferences. The co-conferences encompass both technology (Ignite) and the business of technology (Envision). Microsoft’s announcements reflected that duality with esoteric technology subjects such as mixed reality and quantum computing on equal footing with digital transformation, a mainstay of modern business transformation projects. There were two announcements that, in my opinion, will have the most impact in the short-term because they were more foundational.

The first announcement was that machine learning was being integrated into every Microsoft productivity and business product. Most large software companies are adding machine learning to their platforms but no company has Microsoft’s reach into modern businesses. Like IBM, SAP and Oracle, Microsoft can embed machine learning in business applications such as CRM. Microsoft can also integrate machine learning into productivity applications as can Google. IBM can do both but IBM’s office applications aren’t close to having the market penetration of Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft has the opportunity to embed machine learning everywhere in a business, a capability that none of their competitors have.
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Amalgam Insights Publishes SmartList on 8 Hidden Gems in Telecom Expense Management

Table listing 8 Hidden Gems of TEM: Asignet, Ezwim, GSG, ICOMM, MobiChord, NetPlus, Smartbill, vCom
Snapshot for AI's 8 Hidden Gems for Telecom Expense Management
SL0917A-AI Vendor SmartList – snapshot

Over the past decade, Telecom Expense Management has evolved substantially from its roots of telecom and network spend to a more holistic combination that also includes mobility, end user computing, Software as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. Because of this expansion of spend, TEM has evolved from Telecom Expense to Technology Expense Management which can be used to manage the majority of enterprise IT.

Amalgam finds that there are a number of high-quality TEM solutions that are hiding under the radar of enterprise buyers despite being market leaders. As an example, in May of 2017 Gartner put together a Market Guide of Telecom Expense vendors including vendors handling multiple billions of dollars in technology spend such as Calero, Cass Information Systems, Cimpl, Dimension Data, MDSL, Tangoe, and WidePoint as well as strong competitors Comview, Mobile Solutions, Network Control, Saaswedo, TNX, and VoicePlus. Although these Gartner-named vendors all provide TEM solutions that are appropriate for various market sectors and needs, Amalgam believes that a number of strong competitors were left out both in the multi-billion dollar management and the strong competitor categories that should be considered in competitive vendor selection environments.

To provide additional insight and to ensure that representative global vendors such as the largest standalone Australian TEM vendor and the largest standalone European TEM vendor were covered, Amalgam is proud to present 8 Hidden Gems for Telecom Expense Management available at no cost for the first 100 downloaders.

Meet Up with Amalgam Insights

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Amalgam Insights

Over the next couple of months, keep an eye or ear out for Amalgam Insights as we show up at an event or webinar near you. Catch up with us at the following times:

  • August 31: BrightTalk Webinar: Eight Telecom Expense Solutions Gartner Missed
  • September 12-14: AI in San Francisco attending Looker’s Join 2017
    September 26: Webinar: Machine Learning, Design Thinking, & the Role-Based Expert Enhancement Platform
    September 27-28: AI in New York City attending O’Reilly Media’s Strata/Hadoop
    October 3-4: AI in Indianapolis attending MOBI’s Untethered Summit
    October 17-19: AI in Las Vegas attending Intacct Advantage
    October 26: Webinar: Making the Leap from TEM to IT Management

What am I missing? Where else should I be? Let me know!

For more details on how to meet up with AI or to attend one of our events, look below!
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Amalgam Insights’ Technology Consumption Management Webinar Schedule for 2017

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BrightTalk

Over the rest of 2017, Amalgam Insights will be holding monthly webinars on our BrightTalk Technology Consumption Management Channel.

1) Eight Telecom Expense Solutions Gartner Missed
2) Machine Learning, Design Thinking, & the Role-Based Expert Enhancement Platform
3) Making the Leap from TEM to IT Management
4) Key Vendors for Managing $40+ Billion in SaaS Costs
5) Cloud Service Management: Managing Cost, Resources, and Security

If you are interested in any of these topics, please sign up to attend by clicking on the webinar title link. And if you are interested in a deeper dive of any of these topics, please email Amalgam’s Director of Client Services, Lisa Lincoln.

For more information on each webinar, please look below:

Upcoming Webinars (All Times in Eastern Time Zone):

1) Eight Telecom Expense Solutions Gartner Missed
Date/Time: August 31, 2017, 1 PM

Recommended Audience: Telecom Directors and Managers, Network Directors and Managers, Mobility Directors and Managers, IT Procurement, IT Finance, IT Architects

Amalgam Insights has been covering the Telecom Expense Management (TEM) market for over a decade. In May of 2017, Gartner released “Market Guide for Telecom Expense Management Services, 2017”. In this guide, Amalgam believes that eight key vendors were overlooked that can provide enterprise-grade services and represent billions of dollars in technology spend including:

* A pioneer in Robotic Process Automation
* The largest standalone TEM in Europe
* A SaaS solution partnering with IBM, Unisys, and Verizon
* A Fortune 1000-focused vendor with 100% referenceable clients
* A fast-growing technology management platform built on ServiceNow
* A commercial and government-focused vendor with over 4 million lines under management
* The largest Australian provider with over 500,000 items under management
* One of the Bay Area’s best rated places to work with IoT, data center, & SD-WAN management offerings

2) Machine Learning, Design Thinking, & the Role-Based Expert Enhancement Platform
Date/Time: September 28, 2017 at 1 PM

Recommended Audience: Chief Data Officers, Chief Analytics Officers, Analytics & BI Managers, Analytics & BI Program Leaders, Enterprise Information Management Managers, Enterprise Architects, Enterprise Applications Managers

Amalgam Insights believes that the key to success for artificial intelligence is embedded AI aligned to role-specific and industry-specific challenges. The goal is to provide focused outputs that enhance the best judgment of subject matter experts. This leads to a core mission of Amalgam Insights: improving the consumption of enterprise technology. Based on these assumptions, Role-Based Expert Enhancement Platforms (REEPs) are the future of embedded Artificial Intelligence.

Based on interviews with dozens of enterprise application platform users, application vendors, and machine learning providers, Amalgam Insights describes how lessons from embedded BI and application analytics can be used to create the next-generation of embedded AI and embedded machine learning applications.

3) Making the Leap from TEM to IT Management
Date/Time: October 26, 2017 at 1 PM

Recommended Audience: CIO, CFO, Procurement officers, IT Finance, IT Sourcing.

Telecom Expense has traditionally been the most challenging of IT costs to manage. With the emergence of Software-as-a-Service, Cloud Computing, the Internet of Things, and software defined networks, the rest of the IT world is quickly catching up.

This webinar will provide best practices for expanding your existing telecom expense management program into a bigger IT management program to take advantage of the robust capabilities and vendor management experience already in TEM. This presentation will include anonymized end user examples and a list of IT, cloud, and telecom management vendors with experience in managing non-telecom expense categories.

4) Key Vendors for Managing $40+ Billion in SaaS Costs
Date/Time: November 16, 2017 at 1 PM

Recommended audience: CIO, CFO, Chief Procurement Officers, Finance Directors and Managers, Controllers, IT Procurement, Procurement Directors and Managers, Sales and Marketing Operations Directors and Managers

In this webinar, Amalgam introduces a new set of solutions focused on enterprise SaaS expense management, a $40 billion+ global market that is largely unmanaged at this point.

Amalgam estimates that less than 5% of SaaS spend is currently centrally managed. The other 95% is hiding in expense reports and one-off accounts that escape corporate control. No rules, no buik discounts, no disputes, no contract enforcement or negotiations.

Stop the insanity! Learn which vendors to consider to manage an expense that may now represent $5,000 or more per employee in your organization.

5) Cloud Service Management: Managing Cost, Resources, and Security
Date/Time: December 14, 2017

Recommended Audience: CIOs, CFOs, Enterprise Architects, IT Project Managers, IT Procurement, IT Service, IT Finance

Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service is growing rapidly as companies replace obsolete data center servers and storage with “The Cloud.” As companies use more services from multiple regions and even multiple vendors, Cloud Computing becomes yet another management headache where discounts, service levels, and IT governance can go unenforced.

This webinar provides key tips on the Cloud Service Management market, including the drivers, best practices and top vendors including, but not limited to:

Cloudcheckr
CloudHealth Technologies
HP New Stack
IBM Cost and Asset Management
Microsoft Cloudyn

Amalgam Insights Publishes Market Milestone on CloudHealth Technologies’ $46M D Round

CloudHealth Technologies Leads Cloud Service Management with $46 Million Series D Round
CloudHealth Technologies Leads Cloud Service Management with $46 Million Series D Round

Recommended Research for: CIOs, CFOs, IT Controllers, Finance, IT Service Managers, and Business Managers purchasing cloud services.

Amalgam Insights has just published a Market Milestone describing why CloudHealth Technologies’ $46 Million Series D round is important for executives seeking to manage their cloud environments. At a time when multi-cloud management is imminent and businesses manage over $40 billion in cloud computing spend, CloudHealth Technologies’ Series D Round provides the resources to pursue international business and larger enterprise deals.

To learn more about CloudHealth Technologies and its role in a Cloud Service Management market that Amalgam estimates will be over $900 million in 2025;

Download the report here.