New integrations between Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn, a truckload of new products from Acer, and proof positive that some people hate snail mail a lot are all among the stories we didn’t get around to writing about this week.By Rich Freeman
And what, you wonder, will be our excuse for not reporting so much tech industry news this week? Well, perhaps we take things a touch too literally, but the instructions on our shampoo bottle said “lather, rinse, repeat.” We’ve been in the shower all week.
Or we were, anyway, until the shampoo ran out. Now, as our skin de-puckers, we’re ready to catch you up on all the stuff we didn’t get around to amid our reporting on Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit, Lenovo’s partner conference, and ConnectWise new freebie remote access solution.
Sweets for the (Net)Suite. It stood to reason that NetSuite would use this year’s SuiteWorld conference to reveal how it intends to capitalize on the deep pockets at its disposal now that it’s part of Oracle. The SaaS trailblazer didn’t disappoint either, disclosing plans to tap into its new corporate parent’s “vast global scale and resources” by adding 6 new data centers to the 5 it operates currently and open field offices in 13 countries beyond the 10 it’s in already. That was on top of the introduction of a major update to its ERP solution that included accounting, billing, and supply chain management enhancements, and the official debut of a new offering named SuiteSuccess that pulls all of NetSuite’s ERP, HR, and e-commerce solution together into heavily verticalized bundles.
Speaking of “vast” and “cloud”...Check out the big top line on Microsoft, which reported earnings for the third quarter of its 2017 fiscal year yesterday. Did we say big? We mean BIG, as in 45 percent revenue growth for Office 365, 81 percent revenue growth for Dynamics 365, and 93 percent revenue growth for Azure. Less happily for Microsoft and its shareholders there was also a BIG 26 percent dip in sales of its Surface hardware line, which inspired more than a few analysts to observe that some fresh product is a touch overdue.
Also new from Microsoft this week were:
- Integrations between Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn that lets users research prospects, strengthen relationships, and get contextual advice on recommended next steps with potential buyers.
- The addition to Dynamics 365 of a new HR app that also draws on LinkedIn profiles, as well as a new retail app offering centralized access to information about customers, employees, inventory, and financials.
- The rollout of iOS and web editions of Outlook Customer Manager, a small business-scaled CRM solution, and the addition across editions of new features, like the ability to schedule meetings automatically via the Cortana virtual assistant, get reminders about unanswered emails containing customer inquiries, and automate customer-related business processes with help from Microsoft’s Flow workflow application.
Before we move on past earnings news altogether...Amazon Web Services may still be the public cloud leader in market share, but it trailed Microsoft in top line growth last quarter, racking up a “mere” 43 percent uptick based on numbers released yesterday. Alphabet doesn’t break out results for its Google cloud services, so it’s hard to know what their latest quarter looked like, but the numbers were strong at the parent company level, with revenue up 22 percent.
Intel’s financials, also updated yesterday, were a bit more puzzling. On the plus side, revenue grew 8 percent year-over-year and operating income soared 40 percent. On the less plus side, the company’s data center group, which is supposed to be helping drive Intel into a new future as a leader in cloud computing and Internet of Things platforms, recorded the same 6 percent revenue improvement as the been-there, done-that, yesterday’s news client computing group.
Acer-palooza. Give the folks at Acer credit for one thing, at least. When they stage a new product showcase they keep the catwalk loaded with new stuff. They sure did yesterday, anyhow, at a press briefing that served as the launching pad for:
- 2 new detachables, the Swift 5 (pictured), which features a 7th Generation Intel Core processor and a fanless “LiquidLoop” cooling system, and the comparatively value-speced Switch 3.
- 2 new gaming notebooks, the Triton 700 and Helios 300, both of which feature NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-Series graphics (as any respectable gaming rig must these days).
- 2 new 27-inch Predator gaming monitors with 4K resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate.
- 2 new all-in-ones with slender 0.5-inch chassis.
- New 4K projectors for home cinema enthusiasts and creative professionals.
We’d mention the new smartwatch too, but there is such a thing as overkill, Acer.
Guess what? Other companies managed to bring new products to market this week as well. More specifically:
- Amazon Web Services launched a new online marketplace for subscription-based businesses (and not just the IT kind).
- Comodo introduced a new edition of its DNS-based web security tool with an MSP-friendly consolidated, multi-client management interface.
- Cyberbit released a new version of its end point detection and response solution with “semi-automated threat hunting” functionality.
- Fujitsu unveiled a new 13.3-inch laptop that weighs 1.76 lbs. and offers 15.5 hours of battery life.
- Google and YI Technology introduced a new virtual reality camera (pictured) with 17 lenses and a $17,000 price tag.
- IBM put its multi-talented Watson AI platform to work gleaning insights about images, tone, emotions, and more in video content.
- IGEL added support for VMware Horizon 4.4 to its IZ2 and IZ3 series zero-client hardware, becoming (or so it says) “the industry’s only vendor to integrate the VMware Blast Extreme Protocol on zero client hardware.”
- Intel began selling its innovative, genre-defying Optane memory modules through computer component retailers.
- Kaspersky Lab shipped a new next-generation security tool for fending off targeted attacks.
- ManageEngine added new Office 365 administration, auditing, and reporting features to its O365 Manager Plus system.
- Oracle got in on the artificial intelligence boom with a solution for creating user-tailored customer experiences.
- Samsung, Magellan, and SYNNEX announced plans to roll out Internet of Things-based truck navigation and tracking solutions for fleet managers.
- Schneider Electric opened a new “Digital Services Factory” that it will use to build Internet of Things solutions for its customers in areas like predictive maintenance, asset monitoring, and energy optimization.
- Supermicro pulled the wraps off a collection of 100Gbps and 25Gbps standard networking cards and onboard SIOM solutions, as well as 25Gbps MicroLP networking cards and onboard riser cards optimized for the Ultra SuperServer.
- Toshiba shipped a NoSQL database for Internet of Things solutions.
And when not shipping products...Vendors were making news in other creative ways. For instance:
- Box introduced subscription-based pricing for the Box Platform, a content management and sharing infrastructure that developers can tap into via API.
- Duo Security launched a new partner program for MSPs with pay-as-you-go pricing.
- Guidance Software and kCura completed a pact to release comprehensive e-discovery solutions together.
- Riverbed announced a series of updates to its partner program, including the addition of subscription-based licensing for managed service providers.
- Skyhigh Networks announced an alliance with the non-profit Center for Internet Security to offer cloud access security brokerage services to state, local, and tribal governments.
- SolarWinds named Rani Johnson (pictured) its new CIO
- Upland Software acquired cloud-based knowledge management software vendor RightAnswers.
This week’s stats ticker:
- Cybersecurity spending will rise 8 percent annually over the next five years, but the cost of cybercrime will climb 30 percent to $8 trillion, according to Juniper Research.
- 61 percent of data breach victims analyzed by Verizon were businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees (i.e. SMBs).
- 34 percent of U.S. federal agencies experienced a data breach in the past year, according to Thales.
- 91 percent of businesses have installed Windows 10, but only 10 percent are in full production, according to Ivanti.
Snail mail bail. Some of us are old enough to remember when sorting through the latest bounty from the postal service was a comforting end-of-day ritual. The rest of us are apparently desperate to get paper mail out of our lives.
How desperate? Desperate enough to give up chocolate and alcohol if that’s what it takes, according to new research from Inlet, a provider of digital document delivery services to companies that want to replace outbound snail mail with the “e” variety. We sense a different business opportunity in the offing here though: Give us all your booze and chocolate and we’ll figure out a way to keep letter carriers away from your mailbox. We should be sufficiently drunk and high on sugar to pull it off too.
Inlet also reports that 48.2 percent of respondents to its survey would never let Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or another virtual assistant pay bills for them. Until they grow a little less dim-witted, that’s probably a wise policy.