Le tendenze DevOps per il 2017 secondo CA Technologies

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Testing, sicurezza e metriche saranno le tre tendenze principali che caratterizzano il mondo DevOps nel corso del 2017.


Secondo CA Technologies saranno principalmente tre le tendenze che influenzeranno nel corso del 2017 il mondo DevOps. Questa metodologia, che aiuta ad eliminare le barriere esistenti tra i team dedicati allo sviluppo (Development) e gli addetti operativi (Operations), favorisce una migliore comunicazione e collaborazione fra le due funzioni ai fini di una maggiore agilità digitale.

I trend previsti da CA Technologies in materia DevOps non riguarderanno espressamente l’una o l’altra componente del binomio Dev+Ops, ma piuttosto aspetti quali il testing, la sicurezza e le metriche.

Sui temi della metodologia Agile e la filosofia di sviluppo DevOps, CA Technologies ha organizzato un workshop formativo il 9 febbraio a Milano. Trovate qui ulteriori dettagli e il modulo per l’iscrizione gratuita.

Continuous Testing

Mettere rapidamente nuovo codice in produzione consente di ottenere una velocità sempre maggiore, ma può anche essere l’anticamera dell’insuccesso digitale. I ritmi accelerati di sviluppo producono maggiori pressioni sulla funzione di testing, relegandola a una delle tanti fasi del Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

In un contesto in cui le aspettative dei clienti in fatto di esperienza digitale continuano a crescere, questo può influire sulla qualità del codice e incidere sulla customer satisfaction.

L’unico modo per produrre codice di ottima qualità consiste nel sottoporlo a test rigorosi e, soprattutto, continuare a testarlo durante tutto il ciclo di vita DevOps. I controlli non possono più essere solo prerogativa degli addetti QA (assicurazione di qualità); anche gli sviluppatori devono avere infatti gli strumenti per testare il codice e mettere i risultati dei test a disposizione dei colleghi di Operations.

DevSecOps

Anche quest’anno la sicurezza continuerà a essere un argomento di grande attualità, considerata la crescente intensità e complessità degli attacchi informatici. Oltre alla velocità e alla qualità, un codice di qualità dev’essere anche in grado di proteggere gli utenti da eventuali cyber-attacchi e di salvaguardare le aziende da possibili danni reputazionali.

La validazione di sicurezza richiede però un testing speciale perché i requisiti di verifica di sicurezza del codice ricadono in una categoria dinamica a parte, ovvero un trattamento di testing da eseguire con il contributo di esperti e altri soggetti finora esclusi dal processo DevOps.

Metriche DevOps

Fino a poco tempo fa erano pochissime le aziende interessate alle metriche DevOps, ma quest’anno assisteremo probabilmente a un’adozione e standardizzazione più diffusa delle metriche di misurazione dei risultati ottenuti.

Le metriche, collettive o individuali, possono migliorare in vari modi le pratiche digitali. Quelle collettive consentono di rilevare disservizi nei processi e ottimizzare l’allocazione delle risorse, mentre quelle individuali contribuiscono a individuare eventuali esigenze di coaching e a emulare le performance migliori.

Annunci

Power BI Designer – Disruptive BI

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Verdict: Power BI Designer is a business dashboard and data management tool, and it seems Microsoft has at last realised there is an analytical world outside Excel. While Power BI Designer, at the time of writing, is still a work in progress, Microsoft has said that it will likely see more development than the pillars of Excel based analytics – namely Power Query, Power Pivot and Power View. The free subscription to Power BI Preview and the free download of Power BI Designer will seed it into a market desperate for easy to use data exploration and visualisation tools. Designer is easy to use and getting more functionality by the month – it’s going to be a big winner for Microsoft, busy embracing analytics of all types (the Revolution Analytics acquisition and Azure Machine Learning platform).

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Power BI Designer is essentially a desktop data handling and visual analytics tool – bundled together. The extract, transform and load (ETL) capability is a major part of the product, allowing users to merge, clean, explore and transform their data into a useable form. In essence it unifies the Power BI Excel add-ins – Power Query, Power Pivot and PowerView. The charts and reports supported by Designer are placed onto a canvas to create dashboards, and although not as sophisticated as products like Tableau and Qlik, the product is still in the nursery and growing stronger with each of the frequent releases. It is also much, much less expensive than most other products (the free version obviously).

You would expect that Microsoft would major on supporting its own data formats and services, and of course it has. Azure databases and Excel are supported, but other easy to use connectors such as ODBC have already made an appearance.The Query view allows users to merge, transform and create calculated columns. Power Pivot automatic relationship detection has been implemented, and the number of charts and other types of visualisation already exceeds Power View.

Power BI Preview is the cloud based home for whatever reports, dashboards and data a user might want to share. The reports on Preview are HTML5 – useful for mobile viewing, and an iPAD native Power BI app is also available. Preview also allows editing of Designer created reports in a web browser.

So in summary, Designer allows users to create reports and manipulate data on the desktop, which can then be uploaded to Preview for sharing. For many people this will be so much easier than wrestling with Excel, and Microsoft should be congratulated on having the courage to leave its Excel safe haven. It will undoubtedly pay off, creating new competition for the dashboard technology suppliers who have flourished recently. But didn’t Microsoft always enter late (remember the browser wars) and clean up – for a while at least.

Microsoft Power BI vs Tableau

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Microsoft Power BI is rapidly becoming the signature data visualisation platform in an age of democratised business analytics. This trophy has been held very firmly by Tableau for several years, and Tableau came to market claiming that ease of use was its primary differentiator. In reality there are now several data visualisation platforms that can claim similar ease of use, and so the differentiator is becoming diluted. Until recently Power BI was a set of Excel add-ons and a cloud service for sharing reports, data sets, dashboards and charts – and it was not particularly user friendly really. This all changed early 2015 when Microsoft announced what are now called Power BI Desktop and the cloud Power BI service. Power BI Desktop is a data visualisation platform evolving at a frightening rate, and providing pretty much all the functionality of the Excel add-ons in a user friendly drag-and-drop, visual environment. It has also embraced the Q&A natural language interface, and even the Cortana speech capability. So the ease-of-use title is slipping away from Tableau, and the firm will have to seek higher ground, possibly with more advanced forms of analytics.

Microsoft Power BI

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Power BI is the tip of a very large Microsoft business analytics iceberg. It includes the Azure machine learning platform, SQL Server Analysis Services, real time data streaming, and several Azure database offerings. Microsoft also acquired Revolution Analytics, an enterprise environment for open source R analytics. Tableau cannot compete with this, and would be foolish to try and do so. However Tableau is effectively a self-contained data visualisation platform with good scalability and sophisticated visuals. While Power BI can be used as a self-contained environment, it does imply to some extent use of a broader Microsoft architecture.

If data visualisation is the alpha and omega of your business’s analytical activity then Tableau is a good option. However, if a broader analytic landscape is being viewed (reporting, predictive modelling, optimisation etc.), then Power BI and accompanying Microsoft products will be much more suitable. And it should be obvious that Microsoft products will cost less in many cases, and provide pretty much the benchmark for ease-of-use.

Microsoft Power BI is disruptive technology. It upsets the equilibrium in the market for expensive data visualisation tools, and it makes business intelligence available to a whole new genre of user. And no one should think that Power BI is unsophisticated. Microsoft is on a mission, and in September 2015 alone, over 40 significant enhancements were made to the product.

Until recently Power BI was essentially a set of add-ons for Excel with cloud sharing. Power Pivot supports the creation and manipulation of pivot tables, Power View allows users to explore and visualise data, Power Query is a data manipulation tool for joining and preparing data for analysis. Excel aficionados love the power and flexibility of these tools, but they do present a barrier for those without Excel skills. And so early this year Microsoft introduced a desktop data visualisation tool initially called Power BI Designer, later to be renamed Power BI Desktop. In addition to this they also released the cloud based Power BI Preview, a platform to share dashboards and charts.This is now called the Power BI service. All the functionality of Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Query are embedded into Power BI Desktop, and Microsoft has stated that it is this that will see most development above the Excel add-ons. The user interface incorporates Q&A, the natural language query facility, and Cortana, the speech interface, has also been incorporated. Power BI comes as part of Office 365 Enterprise, and it should be remembered that Microsoft products represent the most widely used BI platform on the planet.

Of course full utilisation of Power BI implies some level of buy-in to Microsoft’s wider analytics technologies. A connector exists for SQL Server Analysis Services, and various Azure data sources are also well supported. Real-time dashboards can be created using Azure Stream Analytics, and in a business setting, sharing can be controlled using Office 365 groups. Having said this, the Microsoft Power BI Personal Gateway acts as a bridge to many on-site data sources outside the Microsoft ecosystem.

That Microsoft is serious about business analytics is well demonstrated by its recent acquisition of Revolution Analytics, an enterprise platform for R, the open source statistics and analytics language. It also acquired Datazen, the mobile BI platform, which has been reincarnated as a set of native Power BI apps for all mobile devices. And then earlier this year it introduced Azure Machine Learning – a platform for the development and deployment of predictive analytics.

Microsoft, along with Amazon (who recently introduced its own cloud based business analytics platform) are set to commoditise business intelligence, and the word commoditise should not be read as lowest common factor. Microsoft Power BI is starting to challenge many premium BI and data visualisation platforms, and will ultimately eclipse many of them. It’s a hard world.

Tableau

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Without doubt Tableau Software set the pace for easy-to-use data visualisation and exploration software. In practical terms this means business users can get to their data, typically without assistance from IT, and create graphs, charts and dashboards in a way that is most meaningful to them. Authoring takes place on Tableau Desktop which, as a stand-alone environment, can perform its own analysis, either against the Tableau in-memory database, or against external data sources – databases, cloud data sources, spreadsheets and so on. In a group or enterprise setting Tableau Server acts as a central facility for data access, delivering visualisations, enforcing security and managing user access. Tableau Server distributes visualisations through the web browser to almost any device that supports a web browser – desktops and mobile devices.

The architecture of Tableau Server is scalable, and is well demonstrated by the Tableau Public free service where millions of visualisations (albeit simple ones) are served up every day. It does support some level of extensibility, particularly the coding of bespoke applications that are not natively supported, but users have to resort to XML code to achieve this.

One of the more intriguing aspects of Tableau is its integration with the analytic language R. It is such a stark contrast – the easy to use Tableau product set, and the not so easy to use R programming language. Even so it does give advanced users, and programmers the ability to add other forms of analysis into the Tableau environment, and particularly statistical analysis and predictive analytics. This contrasts with some of the competition (Spotfire particularly) who, in addition to an easy to use visualisation capability also offer easy to use statistics and predictive analytics tools.

I set out by saying that Tableau set the pace, but in reality it is now at least equalled by several other products. Qlik Sense and Spotfire have both been reengineered for an easy to use experience, and there are cloud based products such as Sisense and GoodData. And of course we should not forget Microsoft’s latest foray into the world of data visualisation and exploration with Power BI Designer. It’s immature, but it will be disruptive.

Tableau is not an enterprise business intelligence solution, and the fact that several other suppliers use it as a data visualisation front end betrays its real use. It is a powerful augmentation of a broader business intelligence solution.

As an organisation Tableau is very much in tune with business user sentiment. Their marketing and sales activities are sometimes seen as a bit aggressive, but the rapid growth of Tableau demonstrates its effectiveness. They have taken business intelligence to the masses, and in the process have almost turned business intelligence into a consumer product, with associated marketing style and branding. There are dangers associated with this, but Tableau is addressing the frustrations of business users, who simply want to see their data in a meaningful format.

Managing and Sharing Important Documents – in Small to Mid-Sized Businesses

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Intoduction

Content sharing and document management systems deployed in the cloud can offer unique benefits for small and mid-sized businesses.

But you may well ask, “If we don’t use on-premise document management now, why on earth would we use it in the cloud ?” Why indeed ? And yet many of the most useful aspects of document management become even more useful when you use a cloud solution:

  • Sharing and collaborating on documents inside and outside of the business
  • Accessing and uploading them from anywhere and on any device
  • Restricting access to specific individuals or team members
  • Searching business reports and information wherever and whenever you need to – work, home or on the move
  • Getting project team-sites up and running quickly without big implementation costs
  • Being certain that important documents are backed-up and safe from viruses and malware
  • Supports a disaster recovery plan for your data
  • Lowers your infrastructure and maintenance costs

What is Document Management ?

A document management system is just like a catalog or library of documents. For each document the system will detail what it’s about, who wrote it, who can see it, who can change it, who has changed it – and where and how it can be found. If documents are to be shared internally, or even more importantly, externally, then these things need to be managed and audited. In this way, a document management system helps business with regulatory compliance and annual audit requirements.

If a document arrives on paper, the easiest way to share and manage it is to scan it into a digital file. This not only reduces photocopies and physical storage space, it also “mobilizes” the document immediately, making it available to staff working remotely or at home. Many organizations also process some of their business forms, claim forms and invoices by scanning them in and electronically routing them through the process.

Most business sectors can benefit from a document management system – we’re all subject to health and safety regulation, employee legislation, contracts, invoices, approvals and sign-offs. In many areas like financial service professionals, legal practices, education, real-estate and in construction, the combination of regulation, paper forms and document to-ing and fro-ing create a strong driver for all-electronic document management. In addition, any business that presents its customers with signed agreements, complaints procedures, contract terms, or statutory statements would benefit from a greater degree of electronic document exchange to save costs and improve service. This might include healthcare practices, car sales or rental, property agents, insurance and loan brokers, mobile phone suppliers, gas and power utilities, and a host of other paper-intensive businesses and services.

Why would I want my documents in the Cloud ?

Just like a library, it’s much easier to share things if you put them somewhere that other participants can access easily. Putting documents in a cloud system, setting who can access it, and sending them a link is much easier than trying to give them access into your network and your servers, or sending back-and-forth copies by email. It may also be that the cloud “librarian” is more experienced and more accountable than your own IT staff, and that the electronic “library building” (or cloud data-center) is actually a safer and more secure place to store important documents than your own premises. It is certainly the case that the very act of placing documents in this cloud library will focus the mind on how it should be classified or tagged in order to find it again, and who should have access rights.

It is also the case that most libraries will take care to store only one copy of each book, as the shelf space for multiple-copies is bulky and expensive. The same is true of electronic documents – and you will only have “one version of the truth”.

It’s also much quicker to get a content store up and running in the cloud, with no need to worry about servers, operating systems and back-up. If you have remote, field-based or travelling staff, it’s also much easier to connect to a cloud system from a smartphone or tablet. Unlike a library, where writing comments in a book, or even adding new chapters is somewhat frowned upon, a cloud content store can be much more interactive – if you so choose – allowing multiple participants to collaborate on document creation and refinement. Having multiple commenters work on a single copy is much easier than exchanging multiple marked-up copies by email, and you will always have a record of each version created.

Can I trust cloud security ?

Much like managing your bank account online, you need to take security threats to your cloud content seriously and follow sensible steps on passwords, secure connections, encryption, etc. In many ways, this is simpler than configuring the firewalls and anti-viruses that protect your on-premise network. Enabling access from mobile devices uses the same security mechanisms as from the office, so is simpler and potentially more reliable than punching VPN holes through your firewall.

Just as you would not trust your money to an online bank with no history and no reputation, you need to be sure you know who you are dealing with when it comes to entrusting your data to an online storage provider. Do not be put off by stories of hacked data and system outages: many on-premise systems are just as vulnerable, especially from internal employees and out-sourced IT support staff. Breaches of in-house systems are much more likely to go un-reported.

According to AIIM surveys1, employees in most businesses are already making use of consumer-style cloud file-stores and file shares like Dropbox, Evernote and YouSendIt in an uncontrolled way, and with very basic security, particularly at the “free” end of their offerings. Consolidating and managing cloud services proactively within an approved business-strength system will allow you to prohibit use of these unmanaged “squirrel stores”. In some regions, or in certain sectors such as government or healthcare, compliance requirements may come into play for holding sensitive information in offshore data centers. If this applies to you consult the cloud service provider as most have mechanisms for reassurance in these cases.

Why Cloud ?

Connects other sites or branch offices

  • Accessible from home or on the move
  • Safe document sharing with stakeholders, partners and clients
  • Quick and simple to set up
  • Ideal for joint projects
  • Encourages collaboration and feedback
  • No extra load on IT

What would I use it for ?

Internal network file-shares (the “X-Drive” or “G-Drive”) work fine as long as:

  • You have a well-disciplined filing plan and people stick to it
  • You don’t need to make some of it accessible, some of the time, to people who don’t have a log-in on your network
  • Nobody accidently deletes or more likely moves a folder
  • You don’t run out of space on the server
  • You don’t need to search across the file hierarchy rather than down into it
  • Your back-up works every time
  • You don’t need to make certain types of document confidential to certain groups.
  • You don’t need an audit trail of who has viewed, edited and deleted files

A document management system in the cloud will solve all of these problems. Set up a shared area for your clients or customers to submit their materials, or create a handover-folder at the end of a project. Use a secure cloud-store for your highly confidential Board reports, set up a restricted area for a sensitive acquisition, a re-structuring or a legal project, and cut out all that photocopying of résumés when you are recruiting. You can even set up your scanner or MFP to scan direct to a cloud folder and cut out tedious process steps.

For smaller businesses who rely on access to single sites and servers, disaster recovery can involve expensive stand-by systems and off-site facilities. We all know that we should do it, but it is so often overlooked – until the next big snowstorm or flood. However, the ability to access the most important business documents from anywhere, and the reduced reliance on paper files held in on-site office cabinets is a good starting point for a disaster recovery plan. Of course, your cloud provider will be backing your data up in multiple data centers.

How will it save me money ?

Many of the financial benefits of cloud content storage relate to making staff more effective, improving project coordination, reducing time spent searching for or duplicating information, and improving the quality of decision making. However, there can also be benefits from improvements to the process flow – speeding up document routing, shortening cycle-times, preventing delays, discontinuities and errors, and improving customer satisfaction. This is particularly true where paper forms and associated documents are part of the process flow. Dealing with any claim, bid-process, approval or customer on-boarding through the postal system is time-consuming and frustrating.

Most high-end document management systems include workflow and business process modules, which are generally very effective, but can also be complex and inflexible. Although very useful in larger businesses, these are not the only way to achieve process efficiencies and cost savings. The simplest of electronic document “in-folder” to “out-folder” workflow can still be hugely more efficient and less error-prone than paper-based processes, and it doesn’t need customized and hard-to-maintain interfaces to existing finance, order-processing and HR systems.

For example, handling inbound invoices (paper or PDF) can work with a “scan-to” folder, a “matched-and-ready-for-approval” folder, an “approved” folder and a “paid” folder. Arrival of an invoice in any of these process queues will trigger an alert to the appropriate employee or employees. Equipping the invoice-processing clerk with two screens, one for the scanned invoice and one for the finance application will allow simple cut-and-paste to be the integration mechanism between the two systems. Accounts payable enquiries will involve a simple search across the folders to show up the current status. More importantly, managers can approve the invoice wherever in the world they happen to be as long as they have access to the cloud. For better or worse, the excuse of the “lost invoice” will be less likely to be genuine.

As an extension, trusted suppliers can place their own PDF invoices into the ready-for matching folder, and the auditor can be given access to the paid folder. And with no photocopies to file, print costs are saved and office space is freed up. As a further extension, goods inward can scan delivery notes into a sub-folder – along with any installer instructions or safety notes. Inspection reports or returned goods correspondence can be filed alongside, giving the purchasing clerk, and anyone else who needs to know, a full picture of the transaction history in one place. It’s not difficult to sketch out how a similar process would work for accounts receivable, for staff expenses, for the HR recruitment process, for staff performance reviews, for proposal submissions, for engineering changes, and so on.

What should I look out for ?

For most of these applications to work for you, you need to be certain that they are not only secure, but even more secure than your on-premise servers and infrastructure. So look for strong security, but also security that is straightforward to set up – mistakes in setup generally leave more gaps than generic failings. If you are setting up a system yourself, without IT help, you’ll need to make sure that connecting to scanners and printers is simple. Of course, you’ll need to trust your provider, and you’ll probably be looking for some history of providing comprehensive on-premise document and records management systems, and for someone who is going to be around in the future.

Version control is important in some applications, particularly manufacturing and construction. A level of workflow would also be useful, but as we said before, don’t be wooed by complicated invoice capture or business process management functions. Collaboration and social functions can also be attractive, but stay focused on the core requirement, which is a totally secure, trustworthy and easy-to-use place to store and share files and documents.

Just as you would not chose your surgeon for a heart operation on the basis of price, be just as wary of low cost or free models for the cloud-storage of your most important documents. Ask yourself just how much trust you can put in any service-level agreement that involves no payments. You’ll also be looking for a system that can grow with you in a pay-as-you-grow way as your needs become more ambitious.

How much will it cost ?

Ask more “how much will I save?”! The more you can keep paper documents out of the business the more you save – less paper, less printer ink, lower click-charges, fewer stationary supplies, lower mailroom costs and no need to give up precious office or warehouse space for filing cabinets. And when it comes to electronic documents, AIIM survey2 results suggest that half your server disk space could be saved if you only store one copy of each document.

A cloud-based content management system will be charged just like your broadband connection – a fixed rate per month, per user (generally), up to a given storage limit. The cost of that storage includes backup, anti-virus, adding the latest security fixes, and replacing worn-out discs and servers.

Obviously, you need to be aware that compared to most on-premise software, these costs will appear as operational expenses rather than capital expenditure, but by avoiding the four-year cycle of server upgrades and migration costs, most businesses would welcome this difference.

Conclusion

Cloud-based document storage and sharing has become very popular both in the consumer area and within business (although it’s not always used “officially” within businesses – AIIM research1 shows that rogue usage of free online file-sharing software is prevalent). However, sharing in a business context also needs a degree of management – who can share and edit which document types, on what topics, and with whom. Over and above that, the filing plan needs to be appropriate and intuitive if everyone is to know where to store things, and indexing is needed so that content can be easily found in the future.

Putting these document management concepts in place greatly enhances the efficiency of any business, but utilizing the cloud provides particular benefits. It can be quickly deployed, and will be readily accessible by project partners, business agencies, customers, or clients, including those who are out-and-about with a mobile device. In many cases, a management, HR, or line-of-business controlled cloud document system will be safer and more secure than one provided by local IT resources. It can be difficult to acquire security skills and keep them up-todate, and perhaps your IT staff should not be included in your sensitive document distributions – indeed, they may be an outsourced service

Recommendations

As an exercise, suspend your current perception of cloud security and consider a number of “what if” scenarios of using a cloud-based document management facility. When you have seen the potential benefits, re-consider the security risks, and how you might reduce them by an appropriate choice of cloud service.

Consider where your most important business documents are stored at the moment, and how easy it is to access them, both for those who shouldn’t have access, and those who need access from wherever they are working. If they are held as paper copies they are likely to be even more difficult to access, as well as taking up useful floor space.

Think how useful it would be if you could quickly and easily set up a shared document area accessible only by trusted internal staff and also by external partners, project members, customers, or professional agencies.

Consider whether there are new business models or customer services you could offer by providing electronic submission to you of documents via a shared but secure area in the cloud, or how you might deliver documentation sets to others via a shared space.

Look at a number of basic document-centric processes in your business and see how eliminating paper and defining a simple electronic workflow could improve productivity, speed up the end-to-end process, and reduce print costs and paper-storage space.

Look out for unofficial use of file-sharing and cloud storage applications, explore why they are considered useful and productive, then aim to provide a business-strength system as a safer and more controlled alternative.

 

Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2016)

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You can click on the image above for a larger version — which you’ll obviously need in order to be able to see anything more than a colorful blur. But if you really want to zoom in and explore the landscape, you should download one of the hi-res versions here:

2016 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (PDF)

2016 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (1,200dpi JPEG)

Three important notes before we dive into some discussion:

  1. I expressly grant permission to reproduce copies of this graphic in any media, digital or physical, as long as it is reproduced “as is” and in full. Feel free to share it in blog posts, presentation slide decks, reports, or any other vehicle where you would find it helpful.
  2. I must disclaim that this graphic is only my personal approximation of the marketing technology landscape and is surely rife with errors and omissions. It is intended only for discussion purposes. (Vendors: if I did not include you or you feel I miscategorized you, I apologize — please set the record straight in the comments thread below.)
  3. I want to acknowledge the key sources of data I used in my research to build this graphic: CabinetM (who was kind enough to give me a report of their whole database!), Capterra, G2 Crowd, Google, Growthverse, LUMA Partners, Siftery, TrustRadius, and VB Profiles. I used these services both to discover new marketing tech companies and to triangulate my categorization schema. As always, I owe a large debt of inspiration to Terry Kawaja, the godfather of vendor LUMAscapes.

Whew — 3,874 marketing technology solutions on a single slide

As mind-boggling as it is, the marketing technology landscape grew even bigger. I’ve fit 3,874 marketing technology solutions on to a single 16×9 slide — almost twice as many as last year.

I say “solution” instead of “company,” because some companies are included multiple times in different categories. The big enterprise software firms — Adobe, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP — have the most instances of their logo on the page, but there are others too.

I loosened my restrictions on “one logo per page” a little bit to better reflect vendors who sell solutions in many categories across the landscape. But given space constraints, I was still pretty miserly about putting most companies in only one category — usually the one that seemed to be primarily represented on the home page of their website.

I estimate the de-duped count of logos is closer to 3,500 — approximately 87% growth over last year. That’s really amazing when you consider how large the landscape was last year already.

Here’s a recap of the evolution of this landscape:

Evolution of the Marketing Technology Landscape

You can view and read about the earlier versions of the marketing technology landscape here: August 2011, September 2012, January 2014, and January 2015.

Note that these are not stricly apples-to-apples comparisons. In each landscape edition, I have adjusted the categories — added some, removed some, redefined others — and varied my heuristics for inclusion. We’re living in a rapidly changing industry, and I treat this landscape as a living document that continues to evolve to the environment.

In particular, for the 2016 edition, I removed most of the “infrastructure” categories that were in the 2014 and 2015 editions — databases, cloud infrastructure, big data, web dev — because while they’re important to marketing, they’re more general purpose in nature. And I really needed the space. But I also added new categories.

Here’s the breakdown of the number of solutions in each category:

Category Counts of the Marketing Technology Landscape (2016)

The top 5 largest categories, by number of solutions included, are:

  1. Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence (220)
  2. Social Media Marketing & Monitoring (186)
  3. Display & Programmatic Advertising (180)
  4. Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management (161)
  5. Content Marketing (160)

I know, most of these categories are extremely broad. You could do an entire landscape solely on the subcategories within content marketing (and, indeed, people have). My goal with this landscape is to give you the 50,000-foot overview of the entire space — which forced a trade-off with granularity.

6 Marketing Technology Capability Clusters

This year I restructured the entire way the landscape is organized. The 2014 and 2015 editions were laid out with a kind of “stack” metaphor — infrastructure and platform systems at the bottom, experience and operations applications on top.

This represented my belief that marketing technology would logically coalesce around a single platform in any given organization — with a small oligopoly of platform providers competing for that starring role — which would then be augmented by a collection of more specialized applications that would plug into that platform as third-party solutions.

However, that “one platform to rule them all” model has not materialized in a lot of marketing departments. (Although smaller companies are more likely to have a single solution.)

Marketing Technology: Platform to Multi-Platform

Instead, many companies have multiple platforms in their marketing technology stacks. It’s not unusual for them to have one vendor for their web experience platform, a different one for their marketing automation platform, another for the CRM, and so on.

This has become more viable for two reasons:

  1. Almost every vendor in the space has invested engineering resources in making it easy (or at least easier) to integrate with the rest of the marketing technology ecosystem. Most marketing tech products now come with plug-and-play support for the major CRM and marketing automation platforms.
  2. The category of products known as iPaaS (integration-platforms-as-a-service) — along with new generations of tag management and other “marketing middleware” solutions — has grown significantly, making it easier to connect most or all of an organization’s marketing technology to a common data exchange backbone.

iPaaS Category in the 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape

This has empowered marketers to select “best of breeds” solutions and avoid vendor lock-in with a single marketing technology provider — and, indeed, many are now successfully embracing that more open and heterogenous approach.

6 Marketing Technology Capability Clusters

So I felt this year’s marketing tech landscape should reflect that shift. Instead of a platform-emphasized “stack” metaphor, I decided to organize the landscape around 6 marketing technology capability clusters:

  1. Advertising & Promotion
  2. Content & Experience
  3. Social & Relationships
  4. Commerce & Sales
  5. Data
  6. Management

With many of the marketing teams I’ve met with, these seem to be the clusters that most often divide key vendors in a multi-platform environment. It’s also where practice expertise — the skillsets of different marketers and marketing technologists — seems to vary the most from one cluster to the next.

A dynamic environment with few simple explanations

I’m sure many people will have opinions about this new landscape, and there will be a range of theories about its nature and its future.

I’ll follow up with more thoughts about this myself too, after reflecting on the feedback. But my current thinking about “the nature and future of martech” is mostly captured in these three posts I wrote last year:

But with all theories, however — mine as much as anyone’s — I would just caution that this is a complex space. Visualize the interference pattern of many waves colliding together. There are many different forces acting on this space in parallel — accelerating digital disruption across the whole of humanity as the massive, overarching one. As a result, I believe it’s hard to fit everything into a single, simple explanation.

For instance, “consolidation,” while certainly true to some degree, is an oversimplification on its own. Some marketing technology vendors are exiting (“consolidation”), yet still other new ones continue to enter and innovate:

Marketing Technology Vendors Enter and Exit Dynamically

One thing is certain though: marketing technology is a fascinating space.

ion interactive on the Marketing Technology Landscape

P.S. In addition to my role as editor of chiefmartec.com, I’m also the co-founder and CTO of a marketing software company myself — ion interactive, which makes an interactive content platform for marketers.

Naturally, my own company is included in this landscape graphic, but only once. You can find us in the upper left corner of the Interactive Content category box.

I’ve also included every competitor that I’ve ever heard about in that category box as well — 101 of them, by my count — in the interest of keeping this graphic as neutral and as unbiased as possible.

Critical Considerations for Deploying Cloud CRM within Financial Services Industry.

sales
Salesforce is the world’s leading provider of Cloud CRM solutions. Its rich functionalities and ability to reduce capital expenditures, minimize application deployment times, and eliminate maintenance tasks makes Salesforce the #1 cloud CRM. Many financial services firms have already achieved success and improved business results by deploying Salesforce. In general, Salesforce implementation at big financial services firms is not straightforward though as firms have to consider many factors during the implementation (e.g. data regulation, data security, and application access). As a trusted advisor, I help many financial services firms to adopt Salesforce Cloud and always ensure they are aware of the following critical considerations and have a strategic plan in place to address these issues during implementation.

Controlling Application Access
Cloud applications can be accessed from anywhere. Companies that fall under the financial services sector really need to make careful decisions in terms of how CRM application is being accessed and from where. Salesforce offers robust capabilities for application access so you can control locations and user permissions for application access.  Salesforce lets you set policies for business hours and after-hours access, so you can ensure you have the right strategy for controlling Salesforce access for all users.

Sharing Model and Data Access
Financial services firms that want to adopt Salesforce Cloud must consider key issues for a successful adoption, including top-priority issues of data regulation and data security. You may have over 1000 users in your Salesforce org, but not every user needs to see all Salesforce data. Salesforce offers robust features to structure the sharing model and data access so your business needs can be fulfilled and enterprise privacy can be protected. Leverage profiles, permission sets, role hierarchy, and organization-wide defaults to control data access and sharing.

The Big Factor – Data Model
It’s critical to ensure that the data model gets implemented the right way during the design phase by taking your current and future needs into account. While your business will have different needs over time that does not mean the data model needs to be restructured frequently. In a best-case scenario, your implementation partner will configure the data model to be flexible enough to allow for your future growth and changing needs. This way, even if your business needs change or if you acquire another company and need to merge applications, the data model can scale accordingly.

Data Encryption
Financial services firms who are trusted with maintaining the privacy of their customers’ financial data must comply with a multitude of data privacy and data compliance regulations.  A few years back, many financial services firms were hesitant to adopt Salesforce Cloud due to concerns of data protection and encryption. Thanks to the technology firms like Perspecsys and CipherCloud, these two firms now offer robust and innovative solutions for cloud data visibility, encryption, and protection. To further allay worries, ensure your implementation partner is an expert in this area and has already addressed related use cases at other financial services firms during Salesforce implementation.

Stay Away from Replication
Today, many organizations migrate from an existing CRM to Salesforce. To get the most from Salesforce, don’t just replicate features or functions present in your existing system. Switching is a good time to think differently and be innovative. Stay away from the hidden danger of replicating the same functionalities and instead try to bring new features that will boost users’ productively and efficiency while not compromising your existing business processes.

Dilemma – Single Org vs. Multi-Orgs
Large financial firms typically have many different lines of businesses (LOBs). If your organization is medium or large and has a number of LOBs or divisional structures, you will most likely face the challenge of having to choose single org for all LOBs or multi-orgs for divisions. To make the right decision, think about what’s important for your business. With a solid understanding of impacted areas such as end users, flexibility of the system, management reporting & KPIs, and overall cost, you can easily make the right choice.

Legacy Data Migration
Believe it or not, this is one of the top critical considerations for successful deployment. Many firms underestimate the efforts needed to migrate legacy data and so do not take bold steps necessary for data migration. Imagine that Salesforce is customized the way your business needs, but important data cannot be migrated. Fields mapping, data cleansing, data migration order, and other strategic elements must be planned out ahead of time for successful migration.

Applications Integration
There are many challenges involved with application integrations, from not having synchronized customers’ information across many business applications to bringing duplicate information into Salesforce during integration. The good news is Salesforce provides different types of APIs so your development team can build out the API you need ahead of time. Simple, powerful, and secure APIs make it easy to integrate internal applications. The market also offers solid tools that can streamline application integrations, including Dell Boomi, WebSphere Cast Iron, Informatica Cloud, and SnapLogic. Having the right applications integration plan in place can ensure that integration does not become a lengthy, costly, and complex part of deployment.

Overall Cost for the Deployment
There is no question that Salesforce can cut down the cost for managing CRMs. Indeed, Salesforce can dramatically lower the cost of deployment and maintenance, thereby increasing cash flows. There are two aspects of cost: licensing cost and initial implementation cost. Salesforce offers the best and flexible pricing models that could meet your needs, easily reducing licensing cost over other CRMs. When it comes to implementation cost, businesses need to ensure that the project stays under the planned budget so as not to end up with a higher cost for unplanned activities.

Implementation Partner
Selecting the right implementation partner is one of the key challenges. Many firms question whether or not they need to bring in an implementation partner for the initial deployment. I’d say it entirely depends on your business, since every business is unique and has diverse needs for implementation.  If you are going with an implementation partner, should you choose an existing partner or a new relationship? Ideally, it makes sense to hire an existing partner as they already know your business. Yet it is more important that your organization selects a partner who is a Salesforce expert and offers various Salesforce solutions, which may mean a new relationship. Many organizations use a hybrid approach, which involves multiple implementation partners, internal resources, and Salesforce resources. Ensure whoever you select has a track history of fulfilled promises and has already deployed Salesforce successfully for many other financial services firms.

While these are the top considerations for the deployment, there are many others as well. Before deployment, it is necessary to consider the following:

•    CRM Vision, Goals & Alignment to Business Strategy
•    KPIs and Success Measures
•    Communication Plan
•    Internal Resource Allocation & Expertise
•    User Adoption & Training Plan
•    Application Support Strategy and Plan
•    Mobile & Tablets Access
•    Starting Small & Not Over Engineering
•    Data Management Strategy
•    Adopting Industry Solution