The Second Half of 2019 Has Already Begun! Amalgam Insights Highlights

We’ve reached July 1, 2019. It has been an amazing first half of the year both for Amalgam Insights and the tech world in general! From our perspective, it has been a good half as we’ve written 53 blogs, published 13 reports, and grown bookings 66% over the second half of 2018. Special Thanks to our corporate clients for your financial support that allows us to continue being a voice for changing the future of technology.:

And this gives you an idea of the companies that align with our perspective of technology being more global, usable, efficient, and financially sustainable in the here and now.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer hype of tech news cycles, but the past few months have been part of a fundamental shift in the world of IT that seems to happen once a decade. However, our audience has shown broad interest in topics across data management, cloud management, the future of finance, the neuroscience of learning, and enterprise-grade data science over the last six months. Heres a quick summary of the topics that Amalgam’s audience found most compelling in the first half of this year.

Amalgam Insights’ Top 10 for the First Half of 2019

  1. The Death of Big Data and the Emergence of the Multi-Cloud Era – Author: Hyoun Park

    Just as we saw the emergence of the Internet as a powerful business enabler around 2000 and saw the rise of Big Data and Analytics in 2010, we now face the emergence of Multi-cloud replacing CapEx as a fundamental basis for tech this year as we enter the 2020s.Based on that, it was no surprise that The Death of Big Data and the Emergence of the Multi-Cloud Era has been the most popular piece on Amalgam Insights in the first half of 2019.

  2. Docker Enterprise 3.0 is the Docker We’ve Been Waiting For – Author: Tom Petrocelli

    DevOps Research Fellow Tom Petrocelli describes in this research piece how Docker has been moving away from the commodity business of container infrastructure and reinventing itself as a developer tools company. It provides context to the DevOps community on why Docker 3.0 addresses one of the largest problems in DevOps, today.

  3. Microsoft “Early Adopts” New ASC 606 Revenue Recognition Standard – Author: Hyoun Park

    This piece continues to provide guidance to companies on how businesses prepared for ASC 606 accounting and has been a starting point for some of you to ask us about the likes of Zuora, Aria, Oracle BRM, SAP Hybris Billing, Sage Intacct, FinancialForce, Flexera Software Monetization Platform, Gemalto On-Demand Subscription Manager, and other subscription business platforms.

  4. Analyst Insight: 7 Key Technology Expense Management Predictions for 2019 – Author: Hyoun Park

    This report, published at the beginning of this year, provides7 predictions to help financially-minded technology managers gain 30% savings on operational cloud, network, and telecom expenses while gaining the visibility and governance needed to responsibly manage digital change and technology as a competitive advantage. This report, which comes with free analyst inquiry time, served as a strategic kickstart for enterprise IT and procurement teams in 2019.

  5. Technical Guide: A Service Mesh Primer – Author: Author: Tom Petrocelli 

    This groundbreaking Amalgam Insights Technical Guide on the Service Mesh provides enterprise architects, CTOs, and developer teams with the guidance they need to understand the microservices architecture, service mesh architecture, and OSI model context necessary to conceptualize Service Mesh.

  6. 2019 Top 6 Trends in Learning & Development and Talent Management – Author: W. Todd Maddox Ph.D. 

    Our resident Neuroscientist of Technology, Todd Maddox, provided Chief Learning Officers and enterprise training organizations with a headstart to 2019 with this overview of the six major trends that Amalgam Insights’ research suggests will dominate the Learning & Development and Talent Management landscape including: the Impact of Psychology and Brain Science, AI and machine learning as innovation drivers, the Emphasis on Empathy, the need for Scenario-enhanced Microlearning, best practices for using immersive and augmented reality, and the Power of Personality.

  7. SmartList Market Guide on Service Mesh and Building Out Microservices Networking – Author: Tom Petrocelli

    This piece, a companion to the Technical Guide for Service Mesh, is a comprehensive guide to the roles that top technology vendors play in the world of microservices and service mesh in 2019 including their roles in Istio vs. Linkerd, modern microservice architecture considerations, and the three segments of the service mesh market: Control Plane, Data Plane, and Value-Add.

  8. Amazon Aurora Serverless vs. Oracle Autonomous Database: A Microcosm for The Future of IT – Author: Hyoun Park

    This research document continues to provide guidance on the fundamental decision that IT departments need to choose in the world of cloud. Ease-of-Use vs. Granular Management continues to be a key IT struggle as the need for business agility creates conflict between the need for speed of implementation and management vs. the demand for individualized and customized business model construction.

  9. Amazon Expands Toolkit of Machine Learning Services at AWS re:Invent – Author: Lynne Baer

    The interest for data science and machine learning analyst Lynne Baer’s piece on Amazon re:Invent was driven by the interest in Amazon Textract, a service that extracts text and data from scanned documents, without requiring manual data entry or custom code. The promise of Textract in providing Role-based Expert Enhancement by automating manual work continues to be of interest for our enterprise IT audience.

  10. The CLAIRE-ion Call at Informatica World 2019: AI Needs Managed Data and Data Management Needs AI – Author: Lynne BaerThis research note reflects the synergy between modern data management strategies and evolution of artificial intelligence and Amalgam Insights’ recommendations for the data managers, executives, and enterprises in the Informatica ecosystem trying to figure out what to do next in preparing for the exponentially expanding challenge of billions of daily interactions, billions of daily searches, billions of devices and sensors – combined with a shortage of over 800,000 data science professionals.

As you prepare for the second half of 2019, please keep a look out for our upcoming research and review any of our top pieces that have been influencing technology decisions for our subscribers and advisory clients over the first part of 2019. If you are seeking guidance on the Finance of Tech, the Neuroscience of Tech, or the current state of ITOps and DevOps, please send us a note at info@amalgaminsights.com to set up a discussion. We look forward to supporting a better future for managing technology with you.

Perspectives 2019: The 20th Anniversary of Skillsoft and Todd’s Top Takeaways!

On April 15 – 17, 2019, I attended Skillsoft’s Perspectives 2019 in Orlando, Florida. Last year was spectacular, and I was not sure if Skillsoft could outdo last year, but they did! The conference opened with a keynote from the Executive Chairman, Ron Hovsepian, who reminded the audience that this was Skillsoft’s 20th Anniversary as…

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Leveraging Learning Science: Why Skillsoft’s Technology and Developer Learning Content Drives Continuous Adaptability in the Digital Age: A Market Milestone

In a recently published Market Milestone, Todd Maddox, Ph.D., Learning Scientist and Research Fellow for Amalgam Insights, evaluated Skillsoft’s Technology and Developer Learning Content from a learning science perspective—the marriage of psychology and brain science.
This involves evaluating the training content and delivery to determine whether it engages psychological processes and learning systems in the brain effectively.

Amalgam’s overall evaluation is that Skillsoft’s Technology and Developer Learning Content is highly effective. Skillsoft’s Technology and Developer Content portfolio meets the need for continuous adaptability and effective engagement of the task appropriate learning system in the brain with their “watch”, “read”, “listen” and “practice” content and delivery methodology. Delivering the Technology and Developer Content portfolio with Percipio’s ELSA ensures that the portfolio is efficiently organized, is easily accessible on any device, is searchable and is seamlessly integrated into the employee’s flow of work. Finally, Skillsoft’s newly developed “Aspire” offering helps the employee realize their aspirations and desires by building an “Aspirational Persona” and developing a digital learning journey to support career advancement.

For more information, read the full Market Milestone licensed for distribution by Skillsoft at http://learn.skillsoft.com/Website-AR-Amalgam-Leveraging-Learning-Science-Why-Skillsofts-Tech-Dev-Learn_LandingPage.html.

Why Skillsoft’s Digital Transformation Portfolio Effectively Drives Digital Readiness: A Market Milestone

 In a recently published Market Milestone, Todd Maddox, Ph.D., Learning Scientist and Research Fellow for Amalgam Insights, evaluated Skillsoft’s industry-first Digital Transformation Portfolio from a learning science perspective—the marriage of psychology and brain science. This involves evaluating the portfolio’s content and delivery to determine whether it engages psychological processes and learning systems in the brain effectively. It does. Amalgam’s overall evaluation is that Skillsoft’s Digital Transformation Portfolio is highly effective.

The digital transformation is fundamentally altering the modern workplace and is requiring companies to modify organizational structures, create new roles and develop new skill sets. This transformation affects every aspect of skill learning from “what” we need to know, “how” we need to behave, and the “feel” or awareness that we need to be effective in ever-changing digitally-driven corporate settings. Skills associated with the “what”, “how”, and “feel” are each mediated by a distinct learning system in the brain. Thus, digital readiness requires content construction and delivery that effectively engages each of these systems. Skillsoft’s Digital Transformation Portfolio meets this challenge and is poised to continue to meet this challenge as new and exciting digital technologies transform the workplace.

For more information, read the full Market Milestone.

Why Percipio Excels as a Learning Experience Platform: A Market Milestone

In a recently published Market Milestone, Todd Maddox, Ph.D., Learning Scientist and Research Fellow for Amalgam Insights, evaluated Percipio, Skillsoft’s Learning Experience Platform from a learning science perspective—the marriage of psychology and brain science. This involves evaluating the training content and delivery to determine whether it engages psychological processes and learning systems in the brain effectively.

Amalgam’s overall evaluation is that Percipio is highly effective.
Pecipio’s ELSA (Embedded Learning Synchronized Assistant) addresses the need for organized and easily accessible content as well or better than most competitor’s platforms. ELSA provides just-in-time, searchable and suggested content, all seamlessly integrated into the employee’s flow of work.

Percipio also engages the task appropriate system in the brain. The “watch”, “read”, “listen” framework allows learners to utilize the medium that is most effective in the current context and facilitates microlearning for a targeted and concise understanding of some concept or macrolearning for a deeper dive and understanding. The emphasis on storytelling and scenario-based content, when appropriate, engages emotional systems that upregulate processing in both the cognitive and behavioral skills systems in the brain. The addition of “practice” (to be released in 2019) will facilitate the development of behavioral skills directly in the workplace.

For more information, read the full Market Milestone at http://learn.skillsoft.com/Website-AR-Amalgam-Insights-The-Learning-Science-Perspective-View-Full-Report.html.

Todd Maddox Ph.D.’s Top Four Scientific Observations on HR Tech 2018

HR Tech gets bigger and bigger every year. HR Tech 2018 was no exception. It broke all of the previous records. More importantly, the quality of the offerings, presentations and savvy of the clients continues to grow. I had a great time at HR Tech 2018, and I am already looking forward to 2019. It…

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Amalgam Insights Issues Vendor SmartList™ of Software Solutions That Help Build Better Leadership Brains

BOSTON, September 11, 2018 — A new report from industry analyst firm Amalgam Insights cites nine leaders in software solutions designed to effectively train the hard skills, people skills, and situational awareness of leadership.

The Vendor SmartList™, authored by Amalgam Insights Research Fellow Todd Maddox, Ph.D., takes on added significance given the increasing number of news reports about inappropriate conduct by corporate leaders or the lack of trained behavioral skills among a company’s employees.
“Companies must continuously educate their workers, top to bottom, about the ‘what,’ ‘how,’ and ‘feel’ of effective leadership by leveraging brain science to ensure that their behavior doesn’t land them in trouble,” Maddox says. “The companies in our report have succeeded in mapping these systems to the leadership processes needed in today’s business environment.”

Maddox lists nine companies as leaders, with comments about each company’s strength:
• CrossKnowledge: “Path to Performance uses digital solutions that can combine with facilitator training and a dedicated dashboard to provide effective leadership training paths.”
• Development Dimensions International: “DDI uses a broad range of online and offline solutions, tools for practice and simulation, and ‘what if’ scenarios to train leadership skills that meet tomorrow’s business challenges.”
• Fuse Universal: “(Its) use of science and analytics help clients build content that reflects their company DNA, vision and brand.”
• Grovo: “Its use of microlearning content and training programs that power modern learning and improve business outcomes.”
• Learning Technologies Group: “Its broad portfolio of providers, combined with its emphasis on rich scenario-based training and the importance of business outcomes.”
• Rehearsal: “The use of video role-play training that helps leaders improve their people skills through practice, coaching and collaboration.”
• Skillsoft: “Its combination of content and delivery tools that effectively train hard skills, people skills and situational awareness in leadership.”
• TalentQuest: “The use of personality and behavioral science to empower leaders to better manage, coach and develop their people.”
• Valamis: “Its use of technology and data science to build a system for each client that delivers learning aligned with the client’s business goals.”

Maddox cautions, however, that companies deploying any of the systems listed above, or others, must be prepared to do so on an ongoing basis. “One-off training does not work,” he notes.

The report is available for download at https://amalgaminsights.com/product/vendor-smartlist-2018s-best-leadership-training.

“Walking a Mile in My Shoes” With Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Program: A Market Milestone

In a recently published Market Milestone, Todd Maddox, Ph.D., Learning Scientist and Research Fellow for Amalgam Insights, evaluated Skillsoft’s Leadership Development Program (SLDP) from a learning science perspective. This involves evaluating the content, and the learning design and delivery. Amalgam’s overall evaluation is that SLDP content is highly effective. The content is engaging and well-constructed with a nice mix of high-level commentary from subject matter experts, dramatic and pragmatic storytelling from a consistent cast of characters faced with real-world problems, and a mentor to guide the leader-in-training through the process. Each course is approximately one hour in length and is comprised of short 5 – 10 minute video segments built with single concept micro-learning in mind.

From a learning design and delivery standpoint, the offering is also highly effective. Brief, targeted, 5 to 10 minute content is well-suited to the working memory and attentional resources available to the learner. Each course begins with a brief reflective question that primes the cognitive system in preparation for the subsequent learning and activates existing knowledge, thus providing a rich context for learning. The Program is grounded in a storytelling, scenario-based training approach with a common set of characters and a “mentor” who guides the training. This effectively recruits the cognitive skills learning system in the brain while simultaneously activating emotion and motivation centers in the brain. This draws the learner into the situation and they begin to see themselves as part of the story. This “walk a mile in my shoes” experience increases information retention and primes the learner for experiential behavior change.

For more information, read the full Market Milestone on the Skillsoft website.

Revealing the Learning Science for Improving IT Onboarding

Key Stakeholders: IT Managers, IT Directors, Chief Information Officers, Chief Technology Officers, Chief Digital Officers, IT Governance Managers, and IT Project and Portfolio Managers. Top Takeaways: Information technology is innovating at an amazing pace. These technologies hold the promise of increased effectiveness, efficiency and profits. Unfortunately, the training tools developed to onboard users are often…

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The Adoption Gap in Learning & Development: How Learning Science Can Bridge the Divide


Key Stakeholders: Chief Learning Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers, Learning and Development Directors and Managers, Corporate Trainers, Content and Learning Product Managers

Key Takeaways: L&D vendors offer a vast array of innovative functionality and technology for their clients. Unfortunately, clients are overwhelmed by the breadth of offerings and desire guidance on what technology to use when, all in the interest of increasing adoption and the effectiveness of learning. An extensive body of learning science research exists that should be leveraged to provide clients with the much-needed guidance. This approach will reduce the existing adoption gap and improve the performance.

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