Technology and Data News and Events

Anaplan releases Third Quarter financial results

Anaplan launches new user experience and mobile application service

by Mike Jones 15/10/2019

Anaplan, a global leader in connected planning recently released an enhanced platform user experience along with a new mobile application at the recent Connected Planning Xperience event in London.

Incorporating an innovative design and a range of custom features, Anaplan’s new UX and mobile application will provide an intelligent, personalised experience. Improved accessibility improves planning across devices, making it simpler for customers to understand intelligent insights from data in real-time.

The mobile application that Anaplan offers is a secure and innovative product that can support enhanced decision making and improve potential collaboration within the business. Decision-makers will be capable of accessing intelligent planning tools and improve overall productivity through complete access to the most crucial information when necessary.

Chief financial officers will be capable of providing approval while on the move, measure a range of scenarios developed by analysts via an individual source and make quick, informed and strategic decisions. Ana Pinczuk, the chief development officer at Anaplan explains that enterprise planning today involves a range of systems, multiple stakeholders and ever-changing data, making it challenging to collaborate and make confident real-time plans. Pinczuk states that their new UX and mobile system create a connected planning platform with added agility, enabling decision-makers real-time visibility and clear insights to allow intelligent plans.

With Anaplan’s new UX and mobile application, users will have access to the following:

Further customisation tools within pages, applications and worksheets, enabling a personal data-focused experience

-Supported end-user experience and simple navigation enabling users direct access to key information.

-Further agility to improve collaboration between users and allow for a faster feedback process

-Improved formatting functionality to support teams in quickly identifying key data and address certain areas of the business

-Intelligent self-service tools that enable users to manage and connect by interaction with Anaplan data.

Anaplan revealed the new UX and Anaplan Mobile products at the CPX event in London. Anaplan Mobile can be used on iOS and Android mobile devices and is available on Google Play and the Apple Store.

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Cloudera Cloud Technology

OneStream XF Cloud focuses on digital finance transformation

by Mike Jones 15/10/2019

OneStream Software, a global leader in corporate performance management (CPM) solutions for mid to large businesses confirmed that approximately 75% of new customers in the last year have selected the OneStream XF Cloud solution, supported by Microsoft Azure.

Customers include AFL Global, Terex Corporation and Steel Dynamics, businesses migrating from traditional on-premise finance systems to the cloud-based OneStream XF cloud solution.

Tom Shea, the CEO of OneStream Software explains that their integration with Microsoft Azure delivers a modern and trusted digital landscape for OneStream customers. Shea highlights that OneStream is leveraging the intelligent data security system of Azure, the flexible scalability and quick time-to-value benefits to generate a unified, large scale cloud CPM platform.

Shea reiterates that larger businesses require a system that won’t impact capability or performance when moving to the cloud. The OneStream XF Cloud platform incorporates Microsoft Azure Active Directory, Azure SQL Database and Azure Key Vault, along with several industry-focused regulatory requirements. Lani Phillips, the VP of Channel Sales at Microsoft believes that OneStream software allows businesses to modernise their finance systems and simplify the move to the cloud with Microsoft Azure. Phillips believes that for financial professionals, OneStream XF Cloud is a singular and cost-effective option compared to the traditional CPM platforms offered by Oracle, SAP and IBM.

Moving multiple systems to a single OneStream XF cloud platform powered by Azure supports businesses in accelerating financial close, planning and reporting processes and providing further insights into key data to create better business decisions.

The OneStream XF market offers a number of solutions that expand beyond the original platform to support other requirements including account reconciliations, tax processes and capital planning. Hundreds of businesses worldwide are now using OneStream XF to enhance finance and support finance digital transformation strategies.

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Focus on Confidence and Ability – Female leadership and participation in the cloud and data analytics industry

by Mike Jones 08/10/2019

In the last month, Forbes released its list of the 100 most innovative leaders in America, based on four core leadership characteristics:-perception in media for innovation, social connections, value creation, and investor expectations. The results clearly showed one significant challenge: Out of the list of 100 leaders was only one woman. Barbara Rentler, CEO of retail business Ross Stories was ranked number 75 with the added exclusion, unlike the others, of no apparent headshot.

Randall Lane, the editor at Forbes explained that the data-focused study influencing the ranking scale was potentially flawed, yet another recent study Forbes Cloud 100 published in September only included 3 companies with female chief executives.
There is clearly a continued challenge with female representation across certain industries, particularly within cloud, data, and STEM. Building female representation in STEM has been an industry goal for many years.

The UK based Women in Data started in 2014 as a short fairly informal gathering, but today has evolved into a collection of events, with its main attraction expected to attract over 1,500 attendees later this year. Technical recruiter Rachel Keane developed the event with co-founding Roisin McCarthy after seeing that the company had placed fewer women in 2014 for data and analytics as done in 2000. Kean believes this was a strange figure, as the business was more profitable, the client base had increased and they had been securing the best talent for each job.

Keane, McCarthy and other industry members highlight the challenges facing women in terms of climbing the career ladder in STEM. Other issues that affect women due to certain changes. Returning from maternity leave into some technology disciplines can mean some return significantly out of the loop by no actual fault of their own. Kean emphasises that technology is evolving rapidly, with some products in use one minute, then replaced the other. There ultimately needs to be a place for all women and as data becomes more pivotal across each industry, this could provide further opportunities. Keane explains that many upcoming school leavers believe that to work in finance they should focus on maths qualifications. Women in Data is currently developing a short film, alongside a number of leading companies to inform young women on the multiple options which they could follow with their chosen degree.

Keane explains that many young women are simply not aware that they can have a job in retail or technology or other industry, yet still, be connected to finance.

Keane highlights that more recently businesses are looking for more than just number-crunching. Companies want people that are capable of telling a story, listening and creating insights that impact business performance, skills that well adept for many women. Female industry leaders have emphasised that women need to have more confidence and understand that careers can progress and regress and that it is okay to take two steps back to then take one step forward.

Keane believes that women need to have more self-confidence in their skills and ability. Keane refers to how men and women look at a job spec, suggesting that men are traditionally more confident that they can meet the criteria, whilst women may be a little hesitant to apply for the role. Keane states that in her 11 years of recruitment, she hasn’t placed one person in a role that matches the job specification completely. Instead, Keane explains that she places people on a combination of their technical ability, their unique skills and how the company will benefit by having this person in their team.

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Maximising your business potential with real time data analytics

The rise of hybrid cloud in financial services

by Mike Jones 08/10/2019

Finance companies today are required to maintain high compliance levels and be capable of generating world-class services to their customers. Industry experts are now suggesting that the hybrid cloud has provided a platform for finance professionals to deliver a sustainable and profitable future.

The finance market includes a number of new technologies. The rise of security concerns, data privacy and compliance have all affected the cloud systems that banks and other financial organisations have developed. Research provided by the IBM Institute for Business Value reported that during 2019, the banking industry investment in cloud services is forecasted to hit $100 billion (USD). IBM believes that the cloud has become an essential part of progression in banking. IBM identifies six vital attributes including cost flexibility, scale, market flexibility, hidden complexity, variation and ecosystem connection all influence the efficiency levels but also are directly connected to business transformation and revenue change.

The integration of a hybrid cloud strategy has been relatively slow, driven by security concerns and a potential loss of data control. Reports, however, suggest this is changing, with a study by Nutanix stating that the financial industry is ahead of other sectors in terms of integrating hybrid cloud.

Chris Kozup, the SVP of Global Marketing at Nutanix explains that rising competition, along with higher security risks and emerging regulations will mean the industry needs to focus on enhancing IT infrastructure. Kozup states that the higher than industry average adoption of hybrid cloud indicates that financial businesses understand the benefits of hybrid cloud systems and their impact on agility, security and overall performance.

As FinTech continues to transform the industry, financial services that utilise the hybrid cloud will be competitive and enable further innovation. John Van Decker, the VP of Gartner explains that studies indicate that over 90% of enterprises believe the cloud can be used for over half of business transactions in the near future. Van Decker believes that the cloud has dramatically changed the shape for financial business applications, highlighting that many vendors have updated their platforms in the cloud and many have reduced their on-premise solutions and replaced it with more profitable cloud implementations.

Dr. Richard Harmon, Director at Cloudera states that open banking is enabling FinTechs to collaborate with financial organisations, providing and delivering innovative products and services that customers want. Harmon believes a hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure has become the perfect area for businesses to tackle some of the most challenging data and analytic issues in the industry. Harmon states that some of the biggest FinTech businesses are capable of using the hybrid cloud to generate core services within data engineering, data warehousing and data science. 

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Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning and its role in Cybersecurity

by Mike Jones 02/10/2019

Cybersecurity experts are constantly exploring techniques to manage new and emerging security threats. Despite a number of new and sophisticated tools, the IT security industry is well aware that a data breach can occur at any time.

Security solutions utilising machine learning have become a popular option for cybersecurity, reducing time spent on detecting potential threats, yet security continues to be a considerable concern. Some industry specialists are suggesting that predictive analytics could be an alternative option to tackle the challenges facing cybersecurity.

Predictive analytics is a rapidly evolving technique that enables businesses to understand what could happen and use insights that previously were not available. This tool is emerging within cybersecurity and allowing to predict potential cyber-attacks, enabling them to prepare the required systems to protect their business against attacks.

Many cybersecurity specialists are combining these systems with machine learning into their core security offerings. The question many experts are asking is how specifically predictive analytics can help in supporting potential cyber-attacks.


How Predictive Analytics can support Cybersecurity

Businesses today need to be capable of analysing data, identifying trends and errors as quickly as possible. Using predictive analytics enables businesses to identify incidents and find patterns to suggest what has worked and what hasn’t with their business. Whenever something out of the ordinary occurs, analysts can quickly step in and assess the scenario. Real-time data can be generated by using predictive analytics, identifying common attack scenarios and techniques to defend against these cases in advance.

Security teams are facing a number of challenges managing large volumes of data. Measuring and understanding big data is a complex task, particularly as big data sources can come from a number of varying databases and systems. Before any of this can be measured, the data needs to be collected and parsed, and this is where businesses need a system to enable this all to work together. Luckily, predictive analytics solutions are well suited to big data. In reality, the higher the number of inputs available, the more insights that can be generated providing an accurate number of predictions.

Combining predictive analytics with machine learning can support analysts in gaining important insights related to potential threats. Machine Learning can reduce the pressure on analysts in other tasks of categorising information and filtering through data streams. ML will also reduce human error that is inevitable due to the large volume of information required for processing. IN reality, predictive analytics combined with ML can only really work with established big data streams. 

An active defense system requires blocking any potential threat at source. Businesses need to deliver a data source into their predictive analytics solution. Launching a domain reputation tool can support potential malicious attacks. Through this application, predictive solutions can be introduced to determine the reputation of domains and the associated site. An API supported by a constantly updated database assures customers that they are gathering accurate domain details.

Predictive Analytics is being viewed as the next big thing within cybersecurity. Businesses that want to stop unknown threats from impacting their business should strongly consider the implementation of predictive analytical systems.


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Recent acquisitions boosts Insightsoftware’s place in the EPM market

SAP and Infosys confirm partnership to support digital transformation in business

by Mike Jones 02/10/2019

Leading global digital service provider Infosys has confirmed the launch of a new platform called Innov8, accelerating digital transformation by using SAP digital solutions. Within the program, Infosys and SAP are in discussion to deliver a partnered engagement model involved Embrace from SAP and the Innov8 program. The partnership model plans to support businesses in speeding up their digital transformation process using SAP S/4HANA to create intelligent enterprises.

The suggested collaboration intends to allow Infosys to become one of SAP’s first global strategic partners for Embrace, created to generate business customer adoption of both cloud and digital systems from SAP. Including in excess of 70 active cases covering artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT and analytics, the Innov8 project opens the potential for businesses to invest in innovative systems and focus on developing intelligent businesses. Innov8 will help businesses transform their processes on to one transparent system and offer easy access to the SAP environment for existing and new cloud customers.

SAP and Infosys intend to offer Innov8 for Embrace on a large scale cloud environment. Clients will be capable of moving financial and human resources toward innovation and business transformation.

Dinesh Rao, the executive VP of Infosys explained that in order to manage the cloud ecosystem involves creating a structured strategy that offers a consolidated view into the complete business journey. Innov8 is focused on leveraging the experience and knowledge at Infosys and accelerating business solutions. Rao believes the partnership will enable Infosys to focus on ensuring their customers can transform and adopt new business models.

David Robinson, the senior VP of SAP Cloud Business Group explained how excited they were to be partnering with Infosys and supporting clients in developing intelligent enterprises. Robinson believes that Innov8 will utilise the knowledge of Infosys and their experience with SAP and cloud systems. Robinson highlights that the platform will offer SAP digital solutions, creating end-to-end business outcomes at a much quicker rate.

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Data Analytics

Qlik relaunches cloud big data analytics service

by Mike Jones 02/10/2019

Big data business QlikTech International has relaunched its cloud-based service offering with a new Qlik Sense Business platform.

Qlik is a business intelligence software specialist providing businesses the capabilities to visualize data in graphical forms and generate metrics to deliver useful insights.

The main technology includes a big-data analysis system that utilizes an open application program interface enabling access to an extensive number of software architecture, platforms, and languages. Qlik is capable of measuring data from up to 40 varied sources and generating automated results via artificial intelligence in a visual representation.

The latest offering from Qlik Sense includes an improvement to their Cloud Business product and intends to offer a more in-depth analytic experience than the previous version. One new function in the updated service includes a natural language processing feature, allowing users to query data via voice control.

Qlik explains that users can use the service to enter search criteria via natural language. The Qlike Cognitive Engine analyses the search string to understands the user’s intent and generate data and insights from this search process. Chief Technology Officer Mike Potter highlights that Qlik is creating a new generation of business intelligence systems with a cloud-focused SaaS analytics platform. Qlik Sense Business will support businesses significantly improve data processes and data-focused decision making via a system that expands their business analytical capabilities.

Qlik Sense Business is now available and the company is offering a free trial to businesses looking to test the new platform.

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Data Analytics

The Evolution of the Chief Data Officer

by Mike Jones 24/09/2019

A large number of businesses include a senior data specialist, such as a Chief Data Officer or Chief Analytics Officer. Gartner recently researched and discussed how the role of a chief data officer has evolved and the distinctive phases that have emerged over the last few years.

Gartner believes that CDOs are facing a number of challenges in regards to gaining executive buy-in and making their work clear to key stakeholders, as well as driving a transformative process within their business. Mario Faria, the VP and Program Director at the Gartner Research Board states there seems to be one common factor associated with successful CDOs and that is applying a product management focus to their position.

Product management refers to segmenting their work into smaller pieces to generate business value quicker, be capable of adapting to market conditions and to have the ability to scale the model within their business. 

Gahl Berkooz, the VP of data and analytics at German automotive manufacturer ZF Group believes the best way to describe his CDO position is as an entrepreneur. At ZF Group, the core term for his position is ‘monetization’ which translates in his job as finding and creating data-driven businesses that will improve or complement their core business. 

As Berkooz explains, all products are electronic, capable of generating data and so if you can create more value through a data product then you will be able to sell more of your main product. Berkooz believes that the other core area to focus on is developing white spaces that lie close to our core business and are heavily focused on data. Berkooz states that if we don’t move towards these areas, it will reduce the overall value of our products.

Berkooz believes the priority is focusing on truly understanding the data and analytics business, and that business conceptualization is a real entrepreneurial activity. Instead of creating a product, taking it to market and hoping it will meet the requirements of your target market, the idea is to generate a minimum viable product (MVP) that has been tested, measured and enhanced.

Applying a product-focused approach in the CDO role translates into varied approaches for different companies. The overall value of a CDO will vary from business to business because each has its own structure and is controlled by differing constraints. 

The role of the CDO is continuing to become more strategic, influenced by changes in the industry environment. What is clear is, the role of the CDO will vary depending on nature and limitations within each business. However, a common theme is that with every new level of maturity creates a new set of responsibilities and expectations and as business is continuing to evolve, as will the role of the CDO.

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Enterprise Resource Planning Finance System

Oracle believe the future of cloud is autonomous

by Mike Jones 24/09/2019

Safra Catz, the CEO of Oracle has stated that she believes that the future of cloud for enterprises lies with autonomous systems and Oracle is planning to integrate all of its products on one cloud infrastructure system.

Autonomous systems provide the benefit of eliminating human errors and ensuring data is kept safe.

At the Oracle OpenWorld 2019 conference, the CEO stated that Oracle Cloud had created a new phase of integration for customers worldwide. Catz explained that Oracle is predominantly focused on users and believes the future for enterprises involves autonomous systems and that they are working together with their customers to provide the highest level of value. Catz reinforced the statement made by Oracle co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison in that autonomous systems remove potential human errors and keep data safe.

Highlighting its strong position and vision within the cloud ERP market, Oracle also confirmed a series of updates to the Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud. The latest updates will allow businesses of any size to boost their productivity, decrease costs and enhance controls by delivering product innovations and sector solutions.

Rondy Ng, the Senior Vice President of Oracle Applications Development recently stated that Oracle continues to reinforce its leading position within the Cloud ERP market with a series of innovative developments, supporting the continued changing demands within finance and operations teams. Ng believes that by combining intelligent systems and machine learning tools with Oracle ERP Cloud will allow customers to minimise the number of standard tasks performed by employees.

In order to ensure businesses and customer interaction is data-driven, Oracle released a number of data-focused updates within the Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud. Oracle CX offers a range of applications within marketing, sales, services, and commerce. Rob Tarkoff, the executive vice president at Oracle CX Cloud and Oracle Data Cloud explains that the latest updates are driven by data and machine learning and are focused on ensuring customers can take advantage of data insights in order to meet customer requirements, creating the best customer experience.

Oracle also launched new updates to the enterprise-level customer data management platform (CDP). The new updates to Oracle CX Unity will allow businesses to offer personalised and detailed experiences within all customer interactions, including website visits through to in-store purchases.

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Cloudera Cloud Technology

Cloudera launches plan for a new era of Cloud Data Analytics

by Mike Jones 17/09/2019

One of three of the original Hadoop distribution businesses has confirmed their plans to launch a number of big data platforms in the cloud. Arun Murthy, the chief product officer at Cloudera confirmed the business was preparing for further movement into modern technology to manage and analyse data.

Cloudera has moved away from promoting themselves as a Hadoop company and has developed a number of technology systems aimed at enterprise customers and their plan is to provide a collection of open source technologies that are available in the cloud to enterprise customers. The new vision is focused on creating a series of emerging large scale data systems, consisting of open source components and solely based in the cloud. 

Cloudera has been working towards this vision with a focus on its Cloudera Data Platform. The business released the technology with a statement that a number of customers were assessing the services within a public cloud deployment. Cloudera highlighted that its sales pipeline had increased since Q1 and were on target for the year. An extended version of the technology is due to be released later this year.

Cloudera also announced this month that it plans to acquire Arcadia Data, a specialist AI-driven company focusing on business intelligence and real-time analytics. Cloudera believes the technology at Arcadia will accelerate delivery time for customer insights by offering self-service access to data and improved analytical response time.

In a recent release and steps recently made by Cloudera, Murthy refers to the concept of Hadoop and how the software is essentially a stack, where each layer i.e. storage, compute platform, etc. are designed in a manner that allows them to be connected together. Cloudera is essentially leveraging open data standards and technology and moving away from systems that are controlled by vendors. Murthy explains that the core goal of the Cloudera Data Platform is to ensure that the cloud service created is simpler for businesses to measure value from the platform without having to understand the complex level of detail associated with power technologies.

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