The Doyle Report: Five Days That Will Reveal Volumes



It’s going to be a busy week. Stay tuned!

With the holidays, bowl games and Presidential inauguration behind us, it’s time to get down to the business of 2017. Come Friday, we will know more about what to expect from this pivotal year.

Beginning Monday, several tech companies are scheduled to report earnings. The list includes Yahoo (Monday), CA (Tuesday), Verizon (Tuesday), Citrix (Wednesday), eBay (Wednesday), Western Digital (Wednesday), Avnet (Thursday), Intel (Thursday), Juniper (Thursday), Microsoft (Thursday) and VMware (Thursday), just to name a few. (Other bellwethers slated to report include 3M, Capital One and Johnson Johnson.)

What should you watch for? Focus on growth in cloud revenue, software services and digitization.

If you’re wondering how things are shaping up, look back to last week when IBM reported 2016 fourth-quarter and year-end results. For the 19th-consecutive three-month period, IBM’s quarterly revenue fell. But profitability beat expectations. Moreover, cloud revenue grew 33 percent year-over-year. The growth helped lift IBM shares to their highest levels in a year.

Microsoft shares are also near they 52-week high, in part because of its embrace of cloud services. When it releases earnings later this week, zero in on the growth of Azure, which is a clear No. 2 in public cloud services to AWS, especially in the enterprise.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Speaking Microsoft, jobs are also in the news this week as people try to get their minds around what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said earlier this month at The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. When discussing the potential of workforce disruption fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), automation and robots, Nadella said, “If we don’t get it right we are going to have a vicious cycle,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

If you follow The Doyle Report, you know job displacement from digital automation is something I’ve written about many times. And it’s something I will continue to write about as individuals, institutions and nations grapple with this issue. In many places around the globe, the race to digitize everything has many foes, especially among ruling elites who fear what massive job displacement could mean to societal tranquility.

On this front, here’s something worth noting: most workers believe that some of their current job could be automated. Even more believe at least some part of their job will be automated in the future, according to a new study funded by 8×8 Inc.

The ramifications of this will be increasingly significant as time marches on.

Channel Chiefs

Also this week, I’ll be reporting (and speaking) from the 2017 Cloud Channel Conference managed by VIStalks Event Marketing.

I’m eager to hear what Tim FitzGerald, vice president of digital transformation at Avnet Technology Solutions; Ross Brown, senior vice president of worldwide partners and alliances at VMware; Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, senior vice president of partner programs at Salesforce, among others have to say about the impacts of digitization on channel programs and partners.

I speak on Wednesday on a panel hosted by former Cisco partner program chief architect Surinder Brar with Salesforce Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist Tiffani Bova.

It’s going to be a busy week. Stay tuned!

MSPmentor Authors
Five Technologies and Trends MSPs Should Embrace


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Cloud Computing Spins Out Of Control (But Maybe That’s Not Such A Bad Thing)

Organizations continue their headlong rush into the cloud – but the people they depend on to manage this adventure are in a scramble to keep up, and, indeed, may be losing control of the situation. That’s the gist of a recent survey of more than 1,071 IT managers and professionals conducted by ScienceLogic, which finds that fewer than one-third have the visibility and control they need to keep things in check. At the same time, cloud adoption is occurring at a faster pace than anyone could have predicted.

Photo: Joe McKendrick

Is this a bad thing, that cloud adoption is running away faster than organizations can control it? To enterprise administrators, yes — it means potential unnecessary and duplicated costs, and security exposures. These are matters that require their full attention and resources.

There’s also something bigger going on. The ubiquitous access to technology resources and services provided through cloud is providing almost unlimited opportunities for innovation at every level of organizations. The best innovation comes from a little bit of chaos, and every business concerned about its future wants a sprinkling of the magic dust.

The cloud explosion is exactly that, and it shows no signs of abating. The most recently available industry stats bear this out — Gartner, for one, estimated that the worldwide public cloud services market was to grow by 17% to total $208.6 billion, up from $178 billion in 2015. Amazon Web Services saw estimated revenues of approximately $12 billion in 2016, a number expected to triple over the next three years. Microsoft says its “Intelligent Cloud” revenue increased $1.3 billion or six percent in the most recent quarter, and that Azure revenues were up by 113%. IBM just announced it had cloud revenue of $11.6 billion over the last 12 months. The company said it has a cloud as-a-service annual run rate of $6.7 billion in the quarter, up 50% year to year.

There is also insatiable demand for private clouds as well. A few months back, IDC projected that IT infrastructure spending for private cloud would increase by 15.5% in 2016 to reach $37.1 billion. Spending on private cloud IT infrastructure will grow by 10.3% year over year to $13.8 billion with more than 60% of this amount contributed by on-premises private cloud environments.

The volume of megabucks flowing toward cloud means enterprises are making enormous investments in the cloud paradigm. A sizable segment of respondents in the ScienceLogic survey, 42%, said they have 25% or more of their infrastructure in cloud environments today – up from 33% a year ago. Notably, the percentage with a majority of their infrastructure in the cloud, 23%, report having the majority of their IT assets in the cloud today – up from only 13% a year ago. Hybrid cloud is gaining traction as well. A majority of respondents, 51%, expect to be running applications within a hybrid cloud infrastructure two years from now. 14% expect to be operating a private cloud exclusively, and nine percent intend to be all public cloud.

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Amazon Web Service Passes Google on Most Popular List – Cloud …

Armed with technologies that give them on-the-go access to a world of information, day or night, people today expect fast, smart and responsive service from the companies they do business with. And if they don’t get it, they’ll take their business elsewhere — and fast, according to new research from customer relationship management (CRM) giant Salesforce.

Based on responses from 2,600 customer service professionals across the globe, Salesforce’s second annual “State of Service” report identifies four key trends driving the customer experiences expected from companies today.

These trends include a new, company-wide focus on customer experience; an expanding range of tools and technologies for customer service agents; a new view of customer service as an opportunity for sales rather than as a cost center; and the growing use of artificial intelligence and other smart technologies to provide more “human” interactions with customers.

Such changes are helping customers and service professionals alike to become more knowledgeable and more empowered in the decisions they make, according to the Salesforce report. And companies that make the most of these trends are gaining competitive advantages, while companies that don’t risk falling behind.

“Customer experience has become the defining line between companies that grow and companies that fall behind,” Adam Blitzer, Salesforce’s executive vice president and general manager of sales and service clouds, said in a statement accompanying the release of the report.

In fact, customer service today is no longer just confined to a company’s customer service team, the report noted. Every part of a business, from service and sales to marketing and beyond, plays a role in the customer experience, and the highest-performing organizations are those that do this best.

“High performers are more focused on improving service and support through enterprise collaboration,” according to the Salesforce report, which added that this approach is taken by 80 percent of top teams, compared to just 45 percent of those deemed underperformers. “Top service teams are 3.4x more likely than underperformers to excel at connecting and collaborating across departments to drive a cohesive customer journey.”

Providing consistent service to customers, no matter which part of the company they’re dealing with, is especially important considering how easy it now is for consumers and business buyers to take their purchasing power elsewhere. According to the report, 69 percent of consumers and 82 percent of business buyers say their loyalty to a company is influenced to a moderate or major degree by how personalized the service is that they receive.

For businesses, providing such personalized service is becoming easier, thanks to emerging technologies for smarter, more predictive customer relationship management, the Salesforce report found.

“While it might sound counterintuitive to say ‘use technology to be more engaging in your service,’ that’s exactly the mindset of forward-thinking teams,” the report stated. “Rather than replace human contact, AI [artificial intelligence] enhances the experience by adding humanlike intelligence to interactions.”

For example, CRM tools with smart analytics can “listen” to the words and tones used during a customer conversation to recommend the best possible next steps an agent should take. In addition to helping to provide better, more responsive service to customers, such technologies also help service professionals to focus more of their time and energies on the most complex customer requests while making other interactions quicker and easier to manage.

Today’s top customer service teams are more than twice as likely as underperformers to be putting such predictive tools to use, according to Salesforce. They’re also far more likely than underperformers to believe that predictive AI will have a “transformational” impact on customer service by 2020.

“This aligns with our finding that 51 [percent] of consumers and 75 [percent] of business buyers expect that, by 2020, companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they reach out,” the report stated.

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