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Future of connected productivity – smart cloud and smart devices?

Future of connected productivity – smart cloud and smart devices?

Is the future of connected productivity spanning across smart cloud and smart devices? Can we expect deeper synergy between cloud and devices?

Today’s trends

Fast trends across industries force many organizations to quickly innovate. Organizations are looking at streamlining and adjusting processes, so it’s no surprise that many IT-related assets and services are under heavy scrutiny. This poses additional opportunities to think outside of IT and focus on what really matters for the business. But what is the role that cloud services and devices play?

Cloud services

Organizations are rightfully looking to simplify the existing IT assets by adopting cloud services. Today – many cloud services need proper implementation, integration and configuration to precisely address the business needs of the organization and to maximize its value – more in this post.

Devices

Many users bring their own devices (BYOD) and demand to use them for productivity, gradually increasing the amount of assets managed (or co-managed) by IT. The footprint of corporate confidential data and corporate boundaries are growing. This further increases the complexity and manageability for the entire IT.

BYOD users yet rightfully expect to use same productivity habits and applications in the multi-dimensional world and don’t expect any compromises. Yet in reality for IT this would be the most difficult environment to set-up and maintain. So rules and standards are invented and implemented to protect the corporate data and it may seem that the user experience is left as last in this process.

User Experience Fragmentation

Devices we carry today are constantly more powerful and thus capable to deliver more. The way this personal computing power is translated into next generation interoperable and seamless user experience is yet to be seen. There are hundreds or thousands of apps and online services that perform related activities, but the integration story among them is weak – mostly none. This is very similar to early IT days where interoperability did not exist. As today on my phone one app does something and accesses a cloud service or two, the other one accesses another cloud service – oh and the third does corporate e-mail. Separate credentials, different user experiences and frustration with one single device… The more app the more frustration. Should not it be the other way around? Or even better just the right apps with great user experience?

Future of connected productivity = Smart Devices * Smart Cloud Services?

It is all about great and seamless user experiences. Devices in the future should work more like hubs, seamlessly bridging apps, cloud services and data, while protecting sensitive work and personal information. Cloud services and devices will start acting as multiplicators of overall value for users – both on business and consumer/personal level. Smart devices will become catalysts of cloud service adoption on many levels. It’s not just about the ability to access the cloud services – from anywhere and from any device – but about seamless and connected productivity.

I’m very excited to experience the future – simple yet rich experiences that would transform the way people consume smart cloud services for any purpose, at any time and from anywhere – using their smart devices.

Is cloud the ultimate answer?

Landscape today

Many businesses outsource their IT infrastructure or parts to the cloud. They do it to reduce time to market and cost – both CAPEX related to ownership of hardware and software and OPEX typically related to operations, maintenance and labor. Time to market? As all IT processes (should) (directly) support the business – the sooner the process is up the better – the sooner the product can be delivered to the end customer the higher chance that the company makes more money.

The IT department challenge

Do all IT departments see clearly the connection to core business? IMHO No. They interact with the business departments but often don’t see beyond that. It could be hard to overcome – but why would you care about a particular IT process if it does not INCREASE the company revenue? Well yes regulatory compliance could be one exception – but what else? Would you as CIO keep investing into an application or infrastructure only because it’s cool? I don’t think so. The business side sees IT as a hurdle to doing more business and being agile. Now that is interesting – the misalignment between business and IT is increasing and it has negative impact on the organization itself – on ability to innovate, get more happy customers and drive more revenue.

Cloud – ultimate solution?

Now how to get out of it? Should the business think about cloud to “by-pass” their very own IT? Should IT step back and rationalize their processes and infrastructure and align it with end business? Should the IT be totally outsourced? Should the exiting IT be looked at as a separate revenue generating business?

It really depends, but the ultimate action should streamline and align the processes in IT with the end business to reach agility. The cloud is indeed a way to move some of the infrastructure out of the way in the restructuralization effort.

The cloud is not answer to all questions however. Business solutions are initiated by business need that should be formulated by the business and include all the ROI math. The same math should be considered in the business solution itself.

Business Need => Business Solution

The challenge of a business solution

From the “IT” side the “Business SolutionEQUALSIT ServicesPLUSSolution Implementation”. Looks like a simple equation for overall effort. Let’s analyze it a little. Moving IT Services to the cloud clearly decreases or *may* decrease the overall effort. Depending on type of business solution the implementation usually plays tremendously important role. Let’s say the business need is to implement e-mail system, the implementation itself could be more automated and simpler than answering complex multi-departmental portfolio need. But is the workload really the right way to look at things? Not really. The cloud can deliver what you need when you need it and it washes away the workload “problem” for “IT Services” today, but not for “Solutions Implementation”.

Getting back to our equation

Business Solution = IT Services + Solution Implementation

– cloud can help with lowering the effort for “IT Services” today. I still think about “IT Services” as a tool – like a wrench that can be used to tighten a bolt. But we need to have just the right bolt and the bolt needs to be tighten with just the right torque and re-torqued as needed – and that is exactly what the “Solution implementation” should take care of.

Conclusion

As no one wants to end up as a fool with a tool, implementation is the real important part that documents details, envisions, implements and trains; drives more adoption and continuously maximizes ROI of the entire solution. We clearly don’t want to under-spend in the solution implementation as it’s the vital part of every successful business solution. The cloud is the CATALYST of IT transformation that SPEEDS implementations of business solutions and REDUCES some cost aspects and complexity. But the cloud is not the ultimate answer to all the questions.

Would there be one day a “smart cloud” that would deliver the entire business solution? I truly believe so!

All the best in 2015!

As the year goes to an end in the Gregorian calendar – I wish everybody all the best in the next year 2015!

Hope your holidays were peaceful and you had the chance to enjoy your traditions and passed them on to your children, enjoyed good food and your family and closest friends. Here is a small photo sneak peak into specialty cookies and braided bread called Vanocka (from word “Vanoce” = Christmas) that my mom and friends did – those are so typical for Central Europe.

Vanoce 2014 105 Vanoce 2014 104 Vanoce 2014 100 

Let’s see what 2015  will bring in the top technology trends – personal wearables? new generation of cloud services?  or “full services” in the cloud? I think the trends are clear – mobile and cloud, so eager to see what will shine the most and how the two will get together and empower us as business users and consumers with yet another advanced innovation. I’m very thrilled I can be part of that!

With the best wishes to all of you!

Jan

P.S. New year resolutions? Well is that approach Agile at all? Well it’s a tradition that in in my mind is little obsolete in today’s fast paced world… But it could be very easily fixed Smile The way I approached it was I wanted to be more active – so my goal was to go running at least three times a week – I ran over 750km in 2014 including my first two half marathons. So there is never to late to get started with anything… Let’s start stacking some other good habits Smile

P.P.S. What was you most favorite book in 2014? For me definitely “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg Mckeown

#WPC14 and @Microsoft @Project

I had the pleasure to participate at WPC14 on Wednesday last week!

The morning was kicked-off by the new Microsoft CEO, he was not running like Steve and screaming to try to pump up the audience by his “entrée” but rather by the depth of his thoughts and demonstrations of innovative technologies. The slide below says “Partners who inspire” – and this is an interesting realization that Microsoft acknowledges partners as not only business partners, but also as a source of “inspirations” going forward. Glad to be on the other side now Smile The Azure predictive algorithms demo from the ThyssenKrupp Elevators – be able to send maintenance before the system breaks – was simply very powerful – see the demo!

Where it got really exiting from the @Project perspective was when @Project and Visio we called-pout on the slide that that talked about differentiating applications for Windows platform…

WPC14 01

The booth – this time Microsoft tried something different – roaming workload/product “experts” in the one Office365 booth space. Interesting idea – unfortunately it showed that when the booth does not have a big green Project logo – people simply will not ask about it…

WP_20140716_007

The first Project session “#CL400: Help Your Customers Choose the Right Project & Portfolio Management Tool” was led by Krishna and provided the overview of the Project family from work-management to high end PPM with Office365, Project Pro for Office365 and Project Online. There were three demos – Raja showed task management in SharePoint, Yahya Project Pro for Office365 and Krishna Project Online. If you have not seen the mock-up of the upcoming work management and resource management – make sure to check it out!

WPC14 03

The second Project session #CL443: Grow your offerings and profitability with Microsoft Project and Project Lite” was led by Yuval @ Microsoft who is the new partner manager on the business group side – congratulations! I’m very excited about his partner and Project background! Awesome!

WPC14 04

Yuval was highlighting partners of the year in the PPM spaceSensei – Kenneth, Projility – Rob, CPS – Ivan and UMT360.

All the partners had a chance to present their solution – Kenneth from Sensei –

WPC14 05

Sorry Rob and Ivan the photos did not turn out well. Since I was talking about the partner opportunity for #msPartners with @UMT360 I did not master to take a selfie at the same time… – here https://cdn.tri-digital.com/WPC/2014/CL443.mp4 is the session recording – highly encouraging to check it out!

Jan

#msProject #msPartners working towards Silver #PPM Competency? Here are few tips…

I have I decided to write a series of posts to help partners “formally” achieve Silver and Gold PPM competencies, this article talks about Silver PPM, the Gold PPM will be out in few weeks Smile The silver PPM requirements officially published on MPN (Microsoft Partner Network) – https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/pages/membership/project-portfolio-management-competency.aspx. This article focuses on working with the MPN tool (further “system”), it does not cover the best practices being a great partner nor best practices conducting great deployments.

I assume you are already registered on MPN (further “system”) – if you have not done so do it http://partners.microsoft.com. You need to use your Windows Live ID (newly called Microsoft Account) to sign-in. MAKE SURE your legal name and “doing business as” (DBA) name is correct. You can change DBA, but changing Legal name requires contacting MPN Support and may take few days to change.

Silver PPM REQIUREMENTS (as or April 2014):

    1. THREE CUSTOMER REFERENCES – I highly advise you to talk to you customer and explain the whole process. The customer has to confirm the reference you submit by opening e-mail sent by Microsoft. The e-mail is sent from “microsoft@e-mail.microsoft.com”, and if your customer is not receiving this e-mail – you need to make sure customer has this e-mail on safe sender list… You are not CC’ed on this e-mail, so you have to trust that the “system” sends the e-mail and validate receipt with your customer. Sometimes you may get “Notification of Customer Reference Request” to your inbox when you send the reference e-mail but sometime you may just get the “Customer Reference Approved”… If you customers is not receiving the e-mail – you can’t re-send it right away (you can after 5 days) and if you need to re-send immediately (e.g. customer added the sender to safe list) you have to contact the MPN Support to sort it out. When you are submitting the reference, make sure you have all details, including the use case and detailed description of the reference. Validating the reference could take anywhere from minutes to days, depending on multiple factors – from speed of e-mail systems, anti-spam filters, time zones – all the way to eruptions on the sun. It’s wise to shoot for one or two more references to be safe that you meet the requirement.
    2. ONE SALES ASSESMENT – the sales assessment is relatively straight forward, Microsoft provides full training and the assessment is based on that training. I have recently published an article on how you can speed-up the training – in this post. Please DO print/PDF the certificate you get at the end in case your assessment does not show as completed. My feeling is that there is a lag after you complete the assessment and before you will see the assessment as completed in the “system”. I have seen anything from several hours to several days.
    3. TWO MCPs with TWO PROJECT EXAMS – you need two MCPs and BOTH have to take the exam 74-343 Managing Projects with Microsoft Project 2013 and 74-344 Managing Programs and Projects with Project Server 2013. Make sure to add the right MCP ID of your Associated People with your Organization.
      1. For exam prep – check http://www.procert.com/finder/ Microsoft –> Microsoft Project 2013. Also Amazon.com has series of good books. Your local fellow training partner may have other ides too Smile
      2. 74-344 Managing Programs and Projects with Project Server 2013 is NO LONGER Technical – the biggest “surprised” feedback I heard. Check the Skills Measured section here http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-74-344.aspx.
      3. 74-343 Managing Projects with Microsoft Project 2013 requires knowledge of the Project desktop, including deep dive in scheduling and usage views. Check the Skills Measured section here http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-74-343.aspx.
    4. Once all above is satisfied – accept the legal agreement (it is 40 pages when pasted to Word so it may take some time to read through it) and pay the Silver fee (plus tax).
    5. Done

The “formal” process and work with “system” might take an extra time, plan for it. Patience. Patience. Patience.

Good luck!

Jan

Moving on and THANK YOU!

Windows

Dear partners, friends and colleagues, I was really blessed to work with you – awesome people – in the past years during my career at Microsoft. I started in Prague subsidiary, later moved to Regional Center in Dublin and then to Corporate office in Redmond – AND it all adds up to wonderful to 18 years that will never be forgotten! It was a great ride on the top of IT wave from a dial-up modem to business critical services in the cloud!

I’m really excited about the latest version Project, it has a TON of potential for many industries and different sizes of customers and I will be a keen supporter of this great product in the coming years!

Hope that we will have a chance to see each other at another major event like SharePoint Conference or World Wide Partner Conference.

What’s next?

The good news is that I’m not going far, I’m joining UMT360 as a Director of Partner Network and Product Management. I’m super excited about their dedication, enthusiasm and recognitions (Cool Vendor and Visionary for IIPA space by Gartner) in their efforts to help transform today’s IT organizations for the future!

Contact information:

Thanks again!

Regards!

Jan