Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Intronis.
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Recent Posts

The time to address the customer productivity conundrum is now

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 16, 2017 11:51:28 AM

One of the primary reasons companies don't invest more in IT is the simple fact that many of them don’t see enough of a material return on that investment (ROI). Due to a range of socio-economic issues outlined by a report from the U.S. Council of Competitiveness, not only has the economic recovery since the Great Recession been slow, actual productivity has been declining for the best part of a decade regardless of investments in IT.

Most IT budgets are a single-digit percentage of the overall revenues an organization generates, usually in the two to three percent range. Assuming most companies turn 10 percent of their revenues into actual profit after taxes, that would suggest that at least 85 percent of the revenues an organization generates gets allocated to fund things other than IT. Obviously, changing the distribution of that allocation is going to require convincing business leaders that additional investments in IT will fundamentally improve the productivity of their organizations.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

GDPR Promises to Forever Change How Data Gets Managed

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 14, 2017 12:00:00 PM

Given the rise of both Donald Trump and Theresa May, there’s never been more focus on regulations in recent memory. But the regulation that is starting to loom largest in the minds of business executives emanates from Brussels rather than Washington or London.

In a little over a year, the European Union is gearing up to implement its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that requires all personal data collected by companies operating within the EU to be centrally managed under the auspices of a chief data protection officer—and regularly audited. Any security breach pertaining to any of that data must also be reported immediately.

But the GDPR doesn’t just stop there.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

The march toward cloud neutrality

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 9, 2017 11:37:37 AM

At the Google Cloud Next 2017 conference this week, cloud service providers (CSPs) professed much love for the partners they've finally acknowledged are critical to their success in the enterprise. After all, convincing independent software vendors (ISVs) to host their software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications on a cloud is one thing. Getting IT organizations to host enterprise-class workloads on a public cloud requires a level of hand holding that CSPs themselves are not willing to provide directly.

Based on hard-won experience, however, enterprise IT organizations are wary of being locked into a platform. In that light, the most significant announcement at Google Cloud Next was a pledge by SAP to make its HANA in-memory database available on the Google Cloud Platform. SAP already makes HANA available both on a cloud it manages that runs on the IBM Cloud service and on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure clouds.

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Topics: Cloud Trends

IoT solutions will force partners to confront underlying issues

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 7, 2017 11:17:48 AM

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating all kinds of new opportunities for IT service providers. But like most new areas that open suddenly, there’s a rush on as different types of services providers compete to stake their claims.

A survey of 200 IT decision makers conducted by TechValidate on behalf of Red Hat finds that IoT platform providers and systems integrators are tied at 43 percent each in terms of being engaged by IT decision makers on IoT projects. IT providers came in a close third at 37 percent, followed by communications specialists at 31 percent and IoT consultants at 25 percent.

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Topics: IoT

AWS outage creates a teachable moment

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 2, 2017 12:29:39 PM

Undoubtedly phones were ringing and there emails were flying this week in the wake of an Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage that adversely affected organizations all across the Internet. But now that the initial hysteria has passed there’s an opportunity for IT service providers to have one of those teachable-moment conversations with their customers.

Line-of-business executives embraced public clouds because it allows them to both treat IT as an operating expense and, frankly, deploy applications faster. But in the rush to the public cloud many of the fundamentals of data protection have been ignored.

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Topics: Cloud Trends

Tantalizing NFV future lies just over Mobile World Congress horizon

Posted by Mike Vizard on Mar 1, 2017 8:35:02 AM

The future of network services enabled by network function virtualization (NFV) software was on display in full force this week at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 conference.

The working NFV theory is that many of the network services that are processed at the core of the network today will soon be moving out to the edge. To enable that, many of the physical appliances that are currently relied on to both process network services and secure them will be transformed into software that can run on commodity processors at the edge of the network.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Digital business to drive cloud application convergence

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 23, 2017 3:19:25 PM

Arguably, the first phase of cloud computing has been mainly about moving applications and their associated data into the cloud. Whether that involves merely invoking a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application or building a custom application that gets hosted on a public cloud, the business outcome is essentially the same. One way or another, the internal IT organization is getting out of the business of deploying and managing IT infrastructure.

That trend has been playing out to varying degrees for the past 10 years. What should be of paramount interest to IT service providers is what will happen in the next 10 years. Today what runs in the cloud is essentially a mirror image of applications that were once deployed on premise. Thanks to the rise of digital business initiatives coupled with advanced analytics, it’s only a matter of time before many of those applications start to converge.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Digital healthcare creates prescription for MSPs

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 21, 2017 12:11:49 PM

Regardless of political and philosophical differences over how to pay for healthcare, there’s general agreement that at least from an IT perspective the healthcare industry has never been more dynamic. In fact, a 2017 Leadership and Workforce Study published by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) finds that electronic health care records coupled with new types of patient engagement systems remain high priorities across the sector.

At the HIMSS 2017 conference this week, the dichotomy between the need to exploit IT to achieve those goals and the challenges associated with managing and securing patient data will be on display in full force. As is often the case in any industry, though, the primary issue is that the desire to deliver a better customer experience using IT is once again running ahead of the healthcare’s industry ability to secure data.

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Topics: HIPAA and Healthcare IT

If data is the new oil, here's how MSPs can seize the opportunity

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 16, 2017 1:49:12 PM

They say data is the new oil. But just like oil, data is worth much more when it’s refined than when it's in its raw state. In fact, raw data isn’t all that valuable. It’s only when that data is correlated against other data that valuable insights gets created. The challenge IT organizations face is they need to move data from one place to another to refine it and get those types of insights. 

The IT industry is on the cusp of a unique moment in time when many organizations have come to understand the potential value of their data. The trouble is most of them have limited ability when it comes to turning their data into actionable intelligence.

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Topics: IT Services Trends

Growing IT security fatigue bodes well for MSSPs

Posted by Mike Vizard on Feb 14, 2017 2:23:35 PM

The size of the opportunity for managed security service providers (MSSPs) has always been constrained by one dominant factor. Far too many IT organizations believe they can adequately defend their organizations despite all evidence to the contrary.

But, a new report from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), which counts more than 140,000 security and IT professionals among its members, suggests large amounts of “security fatigue” are starting to take a toll on internal IT organizations.

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Topics: Cyber Security

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