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IBM really wants to be your multicloud integrator and can win

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IBM has gone on a shopping spree of companies that manage cloud deployments that span across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

The upshot here is that IBM is aiming to be the Switzerland of multicloud. With Red Hat and open source, IBM can run your hybrid cloud and with newly acquired assets it’ll have a crew of consultants to be a cloud connector.

Multicloud is a big trend in cloud computing as enterprises want to be able to move workloads around to any provider. Traditional data center players are in the mix to be the point guards of multicloud efforts and even hyperscalers have offerings to manage rival clouds. Multicloud is both a selling point and an aspirational goal for enterprises. Companies are well aware of vendor lock-in and want to abstract their applications so they can be moved across clouds. 

Also: Multi-Cloud: Everything you need to know about the biggest trend in cloud computing | Multicloud deployments become go-to strategy as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud grab wallet share

Recent moves by IBM include:

Those recent deals come as IBM has previously acquired Workday and Salesforce consulting firms. Meanwhile, IBM is spinning off its managed services unit to focus solely on hybrid multicloud.

Must read: 

The big question is whether IBM can be that control plane for the cloud. My initial take is that IBM has a strong shot to be that multicloud manager. Here’s why:

  1. IBM has a long history of global services and being able to implement technologies from multiple vendors including rivals. IBM has a history of being a neutral services player and that’ll pay off as enterprises use multiple clouds.
  2. The addition of Red Hat gives IBM a platform to manage internal data centers and hybrid clouds with open source systems. Enterprises appear to be more into allowing a traditional vendor to manage hyperscale clouds as well as their own infrastructure.
  3. It’s unlikely that hyperscale cloud providers are going to integrate well on their own so you’ll need a trusted vendor to sit in the middle. That position has historically been occupied by IBM as well as players such as Accenture.
  4. IBM is following the technology money flows. Recent research from Flexera found that budgets are going to AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud at the expense of traditional enterprise vendors including IBM. 
flexera-tech-spend-3.png

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/ibm-really-wants-to-be-your-multicloud-integrator-and-can-win/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

ZDNET

Presidio Perfect-Clear and Shieldview Glass for iPhone 12 Pro Max: Clear protection for the front and back

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Speck has a rather unique guide to help you install the protector with perfect placement. Follow the directions for placing your iPhone in the correct orientation, then clean the display, peel the plastic backing off, and lower the protector onto your display.

The system worked flawlessly and the only thing I had to deal with was a few specks of dust that fell onto the clean display as I peeled off the protective plastic shipping layer. The included sticky dust removal sticker took care of that and installation was simple.

I did see a couple of glue bubbles at first, but after a couple of hours those went away and the protector looks great.

See also: iPhone 12 Pro Max – Apple’s best phone gets better the more you use it

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/pictures/presidio-perfect-clear-and-shieldview-glass-for-iphone-12-pro-max-clear-protection-for-the-front-and-back/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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ZDNET

I opened Microsoft Edge and Apple got angry

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Microsoft Edge

Annoying Apple now?

Image: Microsoft

It’s been a sneaky one, has Microsoft Edge.

more Technically Incorrect

Having emerged from the technological bosom of Google’s Chromium, the new Edge appeared last year to a fanfare of irritation.

Some Windows customers were annoyed it was being foisted upon them.

Some even believed it was plainly malware.

Researchers concluded it was a purgatory of privacy issues.

I downloaded it fairly early on and was then subject to constant pestering from Microsoft to, well, download the new Edge. Which was an entirely new dimension of irritation.

Still, though I’ve clung to Firefox as my primary browser, I’ve included Edge in my browser repertoire. It’s proved to be a swift, responsive, and quite cheery addition.

Initially, this annoyed Google. When the misguided logged into their Gmail accounts from Edge, Google sent them a helpful message telling them that Chrome was better. You know, fast, simple, and secure. Supposedly.

As the months rolled on, things seem to calm down. Google and Microsoft came to a rapprochement. Edge is now the second most popular browser — it does help that it descends upon all Windows users like manna from Seattle.

Perhaps it’s Edge’s swift rise that has finally made Apple shriek in public.

Last week, I opened Edge, only to get a big surprise. In the top right-hand corner of my MacBook Air, there appeared a message. From Apple.

“TRY THE NEW SAFARI,” shouted the headline. The text added: “Fast, energy efficient and with a beautiful design.”

I gasped in wonder. I stared and then, naturally, took a screenshot.

The notifications in the top right-hand corner of my screen are usually confined to declarations of a pending update, or a nag about my last backup. But never actuall selling.

I’ve never seen an Apple ad appear there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Apple instantly react to my opening any rival’s product on my MacBook Air.

screen-shot-2021-02-25-at-7-50-16-am.png

Cupertino isn’t happy.

Screenshot by ZDNet

It’s not as if, every time I open Microsoft Word, Apple taps me on the shoulder and aggressively suggests I use Pages.

It’s not as if, whenever I open an Excel spreadsheet, Apple whines that I should be using Numbers.

It’s true that Apple has become more aggressive about pushing its various services. My iPhone sees pleas to use Apple News and Apple TV+, for example.

Moreover, I do have Safari on my laptop, but I don’t often use it. I find it a little ugly, which is rare for an Apple product. It feels squished at the top and displeasing to the eye.

Browser beauty is in the eye of the MacBook beholder, I suppose.

Still, Apple’s annoyance worked, in its way. I opened Safari and found it looked exactly as I remembered it. Somehow, it just doesn’t do it for me.

I remain moved, however, that Apple thinks browsers are suddenly so important that it’s going to pester users about using Safari.

What could be next? Apple telling me to use Pages or it’ll mess with my iPhone? Apple insisting I use Keynote instead of PowerPoint?

Or perhaps even an Apple campaign that mocks Microsoft Edge? Now that really would be a new level of entertainment.

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/i-opened-microsoft-edge-and-apple-got-angry/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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ZDNET

Diamond Dog screen protector for Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: Affordable, clear, and easy to install

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Just about everyone I see with an iPhone has a case on their iPhone. With the Diamond Dog screen protector in place, there is just enough room to still support using cases.

The alignment was perfect, no bubbles were present, and the display is fully protected. My fingers slide easily around the glass and it has a great coating to reduce fingerprints.

The clarity of the display was also not impacted in any fashion so the lovely display of the iPhone remains. I never dropped my iPhone on the display to test its ability to resist damage. Diamond Dog states the protectors have been lab tested to protect 3-6 times better against scratches, 5 times better against abrasion, and 3 times better against impact than leading competitor screen protectors.

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/pictures/diamond-dog-screen-protector-for-apple-iphone-12-pro-max-affordable-clear-and-easy-to-install/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Low-code and no-code is shifting the balance between business and technology professionals

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The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated digital transformation, and in the process, pushed more tech-driven work well beyond the bounds of data centers — into executive suites, marketing departments, human resource offices, and even into the front lines. Business-side professionals with a minimum of development experience — beyond creating spreadsheets — suddenly had to become IT departments within their own home offices, not only troubleshooting network issues, but creating or downloading front-end apps and applications to help them in their jobs. 

office-new-york-times-work-area-photo-by-joe-mckendrick.jpg
Photo: Joe McKendrick

This new phase we’ve entered — low-code and no-code, 2020s style — shifts the relationship between IT and business professionals. In this Q&A, Sheryl Koenigsberg, head of global product marketing at Mendix, provided her insights on where the low-code and no-code movement has taken and will be taking us.  

Q: In this time with most knowledge workers and managers working remotely, are end-users getting the IT support they need? Are end-users essentially on their own when it comes to leveraging IT capabilities? Are the IT professionals they depend on more consumed with remote infrastructure support issues? 

Koenigsberg: “I don’t envy anyone who is an IT worker right now. You’re right, they are consumed with numerous challenges nobody planned for.  We do see a rising interest among end-users to take matters into their own hands and solve some of their own digitalization problems. At the same time, IT has less time to help evaluate solutions for the business to use, less time to coach novice developers, and less time to oversee best practice deployment of new technologies. It’s a pretty bad Catch-22 for IT teams right now.”

Q: What’s the professional developer perspective on low-code and no-code through this?  Are they proactively urging greater end-user empowerment?

“IT departments are trying to balance two things. On one side, they see a growing interest from business experts to solve their own workgroup-level problems themselves.  On the other hand, they want to maintain control and governance over any software created in the organization. It’s often the application development managers, struggling with never-ending backlogs and short-staffing who are most bullish on enterprise low-code — they see a way to address both of these sets of demands. With low-code and no-code, they can give business units skill-appropriate tools to solve some of their own problems, while ensuring that anything they build goes through a centralized process for quality and security – the same process their enterprise software development goes through.”

Q. What are the main development tasks that are now within reach for non-technical or non-developer personnel? 

“This is an interesting question, because the definition of ‘who is a developer’ is changing as no- and low-code become more prominent.  People who just five years ago would have opened a ticket to request the creation of a dashboards or workflow are now empowered to create those things themselves.  People who would have had no visibility into how to connect to a core system like SAP or Oracle can drag-and-drop data sources like that into applications today. People who we would have thought of as just BI data analysts are creating custom software today.  Given all this, I’d say it’s less about what development tasks are accessible to non-technical people, and more about what capabilities individuals can create on their own through software, and that universe just keeps growing every day.”

Q: Historically, only a small percentage of technically skilled people were able to create software – No-Code is changing this drastically. What groups of people do you think are benefiting most from that development?

“We are seeing adoption of low-code across many different job titles, from people with obvious adjacent skill sets like data analysts and electrical engineers to perhaps more surprising roles like attorneys and underwriters.  People with this kind of very specific domain expertise can meaningfully contribute to the delivery of software.  Not only are they able to create their own workgroup apps for things like forms and simple workflows, but they can also co-create enterprise solutions alongside professional developers.  As we discussed previously, our platform’s thoughtful governance model allows for this type of work, which is otherwise difficult to foster.”

Q: What are the gaps you are seeing in the abilities of organizations to deliver products and services? And how is no-code helping to adapt to these?

“A year ago, the floor was pulled out from under all of us and everything needed to become digital. From paper forms that couldn’t be walked over to HR, to scanners that sat idle in darkened offices, to customers who couldn’t be greeted in person, everything had to change.  What no- and low-code has done in the past year is not just allowed people to replace paper forms with online forms, but enabled organizations to re-think what it means to digitalize, and easily incorporate advanced capabilities like AI, or text-to-speech, into smart solutions.”

“Prior to the pandemic, though, there was a different gap organizations were facing, and as we return to some normalcy, this gap will still exist. One of the key reasons software development takes so long, and is the biggest bottleneck in most digital transformation, is that traditionally, business domain experts and professional developers don’t communicate very well. Developers get requirements through several layers of bureaucracy, and develop software that, once it’s done, is shown to stakeholders who see how their requirements are interpreted and adjust them at that point.  With no- and low-code, business domain experts can sit alongside professional developers and share the same visual representation of business logic.  This enables organizations to deliver products and services significantly faster, and iterate far more quickly.”

Q. What do you see as the future for professional software developers?  How will their roles change? Would you advise young people to pursue programming careers?

“This wave of low-code adoption is nothing but good news for traditional software developers. In our customer base, developers get to deliver solutions faster, avoid rework and technical debt, and elevate the problem space they operate in. That is, they get to work on harder, more interesting software problems – say software architecture, or working through the creation of complex logic.”

“My advice to young people would be to look for education programs and opportunities that teach them how to think about developing software, a much larger concept than ‘programming.’  The days of someone’s most valuable skill being C++ are dwindling.  But schools are finding valuable ways to incorporate software design and architecture concepts into all sorts of different programs, from MIS to applied math to engineering.  Students and young professionals who learn how to approach different kinds of problems with software will be in high demand, regardless of how much abstraction low-code and no-code platforms bring to software development.”

Q: Do you have data or anecdotal reporting on how end-users working from home are faring with their application needs?  Have those who are already using low-code or no-code platforms been able to make the transition in a more seamless way?

“Certainly, employee engagement is a key area of focus in the past year.  However, where we’re really seeing the power of low- and no-code is in organizations’ ability to quickly create digital systems to interact with external users.  For example, municipal governments from the City of San Antonio to the City of Dubai to Knowsley Council (UK) to the City of Rotterdam have all used low-code in the past year to digitalize things like parking ticket payments, pandemic aid distribution, real estate taxes, and identity verification. Some of these solutions were up and running in just weeks – making citizens’ lives transition to quarantined and locked-down life that much smoother. Furthermore, other customers such as Trane Technologies, Innovapost, and eXp Realty are seeing substantial time and cost savings, some as great at 30%. eXp Realty has seen their agent pool grow from 18,000 to nearly 100,000 since deploying the Mendix architecture.”

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/perspectives-on-low-code-and-no-code/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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