With myEinstein, Salesforce Embraces that “AI is the New UI”

Astro, Einstein, and other Salesforce Trailhead characters
Salesforce Einstein Airplane - Courtesy of Salesforce
Salesforce Einstein Airplane – Courtesy of Salesforce

Key Takeaway: Amalgam believes that the go-live date of myEinstein will be the most important date for Enterprise AI in 2018 as it represents the day that AI will become practical and available to a broad business audience across industries, verticals, company sizes, and geographies.

On November 6, 2017, Salesforce [NYSE:CRM] announced the launch of myEinstein: services based on Salesforce’s Einstein machine learning platform to support point-and-click-based and codeless AI app development. This announcement was one of several new services that Salesforce built across platform (mySalesforce and myIoT), training (myTrailhead), and user interface development (myLightning).

myEinstein consists of two services:

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4 Key Developer Responsibilities Where Machine Learning Can Help

Note: A version of this post was published to Tom’s Tech Take II

As the fall season of tech conferences starts to wind down, something is quite clear – machine learning (ML) is going to be everywhere. Box is putting ML in content management, Microsoft in office and CRM, and Oracle is infusing it into, well, everything. While not a great leap forward on the order of the Internet, smartphones, or PCs, the inclusion of ML technology into so many applications will make a lot of mundane tasks easier. This trend promises to be a boon for developers. The strength of machining learning is finding and exploiting patterns and anomalies. What could be more useful to developers?

Here are some examples:

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Amalgam Insights Analyzes Sage Intacct and Pacioli AI

Amalgam Insights recently attended Sage Intacct Advantage. In the past, Intacct got AI’s attention for its strong technology foundation that positions it well for a future of predictive analytics, ease of integration, and machine learning while maintaining the core financial responsibilities associated with being a nominative mid-market ERP solution. Sage has traditionally been known as…

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With Oracle Universal Credits, the Cloud Wars Are Truly On

In late September, prior to Oracle Open World, Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) held an event to announce its consumption pricing model of Universal Credits and the ability to reuse existing software licenses across Oracle’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) middleware, analytics, and database offerings. The Universal Credits represent a fundamental change in cloud pricing as they will allow Oracle Cloud customers to switch between Oracle’s IaaS and PaaS services. In addition, Larry Ellison also unveiled a “self-driving” database that would greatly reduce the cost of administration.
Continue reading “With Oracle Universal Credits, the Cloud Wars Are Truly On”

28 Hours as an Industry Analyst at Strata Data 2017

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Companies Mentioned: Aberdeen Group, Actian, Alation, Arcadia Data, Attunity, BMC, Cambridge Semantics, Cloudera, Databricks, Dataiku, DataKitchen, Datameer, Datarobot, Domino Data Lab, EMA, HPE, Hurwitz and Associates, IBM, Informatica, Kogentix, LogTrust, Looker, < MesoSphere, Micro Focus, Microstrategy, Ovum, Paxata, Podium Data, Qubole, SAP, Snowflake, Strata Data, Tableau, Tamr, Tellius, Trifacta.

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

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…

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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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Riverside Partners Acquires Calero: TEM in Transition

Calero Logo
Calero

On September 13th, 2017, Riverside Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, announced the acquisition of Calero Software from Clearlake Capital. Calero manages more than $6 billion of annual telecom, mobility, and cloud spend for more than 3,000 customers in 40+ countries and provides managed mobility services for more than 400,000 devices, making it one of the largest technology expense management solutions overall behind Tangoe’s $38 billion+ in technology expense management and Flexera’s $13 billion+ in software expense management. (Cass does not break out its telecom spend, but Amalgam believes it to be similar in scale to Calero.)

This blog covers Amalgam’s perspective on:

  1. Why Clearlake sold Calero?
  2. Who is Riverside Partners, a relatively new player in the TEM space?
  3. What to expect from Calero going forward?
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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.

IT Asset Management Must Change to Cut SaaS Costs by 30%

Money Bubbles in the Clouds
You Must Change Your LIfe ~ Ranier Maria Rilke
You Must Change Your Life

A generation of IT has been trained on the practice of Software Asset Management, which has been built on the focus of audit-based license agreement compliance. As the enterprise software market has moved to SaaS, the need for regular audits has decreased because of a fundamental shift from vendor-driven contract enforcement to client-friendly policies for adding new licenses and services.

As software shifts from being a license-based capital expenditure asset to a usage-defined operational expenditure service, the foundational nature of software management must change as well. Rather than managing software as a sunk cost with the goal of squeezing the maximum utilization out of an initial license before the software becomes obsolete, companies must now treat Software as a Service as a constantly renewing and updated functionality aligned to specific business roles.

The trade-off for the ease-of-use and support for SaaS is that enterprise software contracts are harder to negotiate because a number of buyers may end up purchasing SaaS and the purchase cycle is built to support consumerized purchases through P-cards, expense accounts, and line-of-business operational budgets rather than through a formal IT process.

As a result, the traditional world of SAM compliance and top-down procurement is being replaced with the need for cost management solutions that focus on:

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