SAP SAPPHIRE NOW – May 2017

SAP Leonardo Tackles Digital Transformation 

SAP has made digital transformation less amorphous by announcing Leonardo – a collection of tools, technologies, and methodologies branded under the “Leonardo” umbrella, that allow for structure in the way businesses can begin to envision and plan for being more digital.

With SAP S4/HANA at its core, Leonardo aggregates IoT, Machine Learning, AI, Design Thinking, Big Data, and Blockchain into a complete system with accelerators (pre-packaged frameworks) for various vertical industries.

Leonardo is clever packaging and branding of multiple technologies and solutions, which will allow businesses to envision and plan the nature of digital transformation they want to undertake and shape. It is an important first step in getting conversations started, and moving business executives away from a state of digital-confusion to structured digital-exploration and activation.

SAP’s Digital Boardroom solution encapsulates how a highly digitized business may work and make data driven decisions in real-time at the highest levels of management.

The go-to-market on Digital Transformation will entail Continue reading “SAP SAPPHIRE NOW – May 2017”

5 Questions & Answers for my new PC

Your intrepid blogger and few other AMI colleagues (not pictured, nor am I) were issued new PCs this week. While it will be difficult to give up the Osborne 1 that was handed out last year, this new notebook appears to be an upgrade. The complete tech specs are available here. There are many, many features that are yet to be discovered (and may never be fully utilized), but here are five answers to five pressing questions about my HP ProBook 440 G4 that I have unofficially named Norrin.

Q.1) What’s in the computer, besides the files?

A.1) Intel Core i7-7500U CPU @ 2.70GHz 2.90 GHz | 16GB of RAM | 64-bit OS | Windows 10 Pro

Norrin has the power and speed to accomplish anything I foresee throwing at it. There are people at AMI who use their computers to run complex simulations and crunch enormous amounts of data. Those devices are customized to handle what those users need to do. While still in its infancy, Norrin appears to be a good match.  When it comes to purchasing computers, the SMB space needs to consider Continue reading “5 Questions & Answers for my new PC”

Storage in the Cyber Attack Era

Ransomware has returned to the front page in the form of the WannaCry threat sweeping the globe. AMI-Partners has written about cybersecurity before and it is a well known fact that being proactive is the best approach to security. In this blog, AMI will take a look at how a robust storage solution can help a company in the SMB space rebound from an attack.

Pay the butcher’s bill?

The WannaCry ransomware has arrived in 150 or so countries. Blame is still being assigned and solutions are being sought. Experts agree that paying a ransom isn’t the best course of action. There is no guarantee your files will be decrypted. The sting of having been on the receiving end of the malicious attack will be compounded by the fruitlessly spent funds filling the coffers of criminals. However, each firm must respond as they see fit. If the rightful owners and users are locked out of files, retrieving duplicate information from storage can get a business up and running again. Of course, when ransoms aren’t paid, Continue reading “Storage in the Cyber Attack Era”

Facebook still looking strong despite issues

Facebook, the evolving and diversifying social media and social networking service, based in California via Harvard University’s Kirkland House Room H33, has posted its latest quarterly results. The figures bode well for the company and those at the helm are determined to have the future of social media marketing revolve around its products and services. Let’s take a look at the figures and see how the SMB space is impacted by the latest news out of Menlo Park.

A Brief Recap

In a previous entry, your intrepid blogger covered the overall usage of social sites such as Facebook (including Instagram), Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat among others. That blog highlighted the importance the SMB space places onsocial media as well as the potential Benefits and Concerns for SMBs in using these services to foster a positive social presence for a business. With only 37% of US Small Businesses actively using social media to market products and services, Continue reading “Facebook still looking strong despite issues”

Business Services: In-House or Outsourced?

Companies of all sizes seek out cost savings. When it comes to deciding what business services to outsource (which can present a significant savings), small businesses must take a measured approach. The reality of giving up control over a facet of one’s business can be difficult for some, but if it makes good business sense, outsourcing can be the right move to make. Some services are more likely candidates for outside support than others. Let’s take a look at what the small business space in the United States is doing for outsourcing.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing 

With any decision, particularly outsourcing, a weighing of the pros and cons must be taken up in order to determine if the correct move is being made. Personal preference plays a big part in the decision making process. Each business is unique and a thorough review should be conducted before reaching a verdict.

Outsourcing of Business Services

Pros

Cons

Frees up time for core competencies Loss of internal control
Access to subject matter experts Potential quality and accuracy concerns
Potential cost savings Time delays for customer support

The above table is not exhaustive of all the benefits and drawbacks. Rather, Continue reading “Business Services: In-House or Outsourced?”

Samsung Galaxy S8: Removing Barriers

Some weeks at AMI are spent entirely in the office. We go about our business and interact with the outside world via conference calls, web meetings, and sometimes people even drop in to see us. Other weeks see AMI-ers out in the field, like when we traveled to hear from IBM in Las Vegas. This week presented a great opportunity to learn about the connected world a bit closer to home. Samsung launched its new flagship smartphones, the S8 and S8+, in addition to showcasing other devices, during UNPACKED2017, at Lincoln Center in NYC. The SMB space is always on the lookout for the latest tech, so let’s take a closer look.

Sharing Experiences

Samsung needed to deliver something special after the Note 7 battery issue and other setbacks last year. Leaving UNPACKED, where your intrepid blogger was asked to pose for a few pictures while holding a Galaxy branded bag (seriously, this happened), it appears Samsung is Continue reading “Samsung Galaxy S8: Removing Barriers”

Global Model 2017

Your intrepid blogger wanted to take some time out to give you an update on the Global Forecast Model that AMI uses to track everything from small business spending on IoT hardware in the UK to shipments of smartphones in Brazil. For brevity, we simply refer to it as the GM. Each year, the GM is updated to give actionable insights on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) space.

Highlights

Aside from the SMB space, which is our primary focus, the GM also provides insights across the entire commercial spectrum as well as the public sector. Home Based Business (HBB), large enterprises (1,000+ employees), and the government and education sectors are analyzed to provide granular insights into the industry. As long as a person is involved, AMI tracks the business. Granted, once Skynet finally goes online, Continue reading “Global Model 2017”

IBM PartnerWorld 2017

Last week, AMI-Partners attended IBM’s PartnerWorld Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, held at the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino. The trio AMI dispatched to the desert came back with new insights and information on how IBM is working with business partners to deliver solutions to customers of all sizes. On a less technical yet allegorical front, we also heard stories ranging from catching a cow to hitting an olive tree with a stick. Keep reading to the end for those accounts, but for now, a brief recap from our trip with highlights from a few breakout sessions.

Viva Las Vegas!

As we entered the opening general session, the lighting rigs were shining bright, the music (Elvis of course) was deafening, and the stage was set for speakers to address the crowd comprised of IBM business partners (more than 1,300 from 78 countries), IBM-ers from various units, the press, and analysts – some of whom very closely follow the SMB ICT space. IBM Chair, President, and CEO Ginni Rometty shared her vision for the future of cognitive business and how Watson will touch some 1 billion people by the end of this year. General Manager for Global Business Partners Marc Dupaquier shared highlights of the partner network and IBM announced several new initiatives to help promote success across all partners in what it dubs “The Cognitive Era”. Without the efforts of business partners, IBM is limited in getting its solutions to end users. The need to work with, nurture, and educate partners is critical to success, not only for Continue reading “IBM PartnerWorld 2017”

To Print, or not to Print?

Be honest: ever hit a printer, fax, or copier because it wasn’t working?

The decision to print at the typical SMB likely does not cause the mind to suffer. While a single printed sheet might not register on the balance sheet, numerous documents sent to print and equipment expenses can have a significant monetary impact on a small business. Managed Print Services (MPS) is a solution that some SMBs are adopting to better control printing expenses. The real question for SMBs then: To manage print, or not to manage print?

So, something else to buy…

Think of MPS as something else available to help address a lack of resources. An SMB has a limited headcount and must focus efforts on revenue generating paths. MPS is a suite of services offered by an outside party to administer a firm’s document output. The MPS provider Continue reading “To Print, or not to Print?”

DRaaS for SMBs?

A disaster may be unavoidable. Predicting misfortune isn’t an exact science. However, recovering from such an event can and should be planned well in advance. With the sizable amount of valuable data generated daily, the risk of losing this information becomes a going concern for businesses of all size. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is becoming a viable option for the SMB space. Should it be?

What is DRaaS and is it contagious

DRaaS is a cloud based solution that allows for the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a 3rd party to provide data recovery in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe. This enables failover of virtual machines to secure cloud locations. The modern business climate is more likely to be disrupted by a human generated event than a natural one. Malicious attacks, honest user error, upgrade issues and a bad line of code can do just as much damage as a storm. As with most services accessed via the cloud, DRaaS is a pay as you need solution and is configured to operate in the background as it automatically performs backups of critical systems and data.  If your business needs ‘n’ TB of storage, you only need to pay for ‘n’ TB of storage. This flexibility allows SMBs to scale accordingly to match evolving business needs.

Solutions such asbut not limited to Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, Quorum onQ Hybrid Cloud Solution, Zetta Backup and Recovery, and Carbonite Server Backup all offer DRaaS to the SMB market. A careful evaluation of business Continue reading “DRaaS for SMBs?”