Red Hat technology predictions for the year ahead

Redhat LogoAs some businesses think about planning for the new financial year, it is crucial that they keep up with the latest technology trends. Red Hat provides its outlook for the year ahead.

1. BYOD gives way to BYOC. As if IT didn’t have enough to think about when it comes to supporting associates and their phones and tablets of choice, the coming year will continue the internal adoption of both public cloud-based applications (including SaaS) and in-house deployments of private clouds targeted at specific use cases. This will give way to a whole new set of integration and support challenges for IT.
– Brian Stevens, executive vice president and CTO, Red Hat

2. The cloud will be hybrid. “Traditional” infrastructure deployments are losing ground to hybrid deployments that include virtual and cloud infrastructure. When it comes to new applications, this trend will only accelerate in 2014. During development, companies will increasingly seek to use Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to rapidly build, deploy, and scale applications.
– Mark Coggin, senior director, Product Marketing, Platform, Red Hat

3. Open source offerings will continue to cut into proprietary market share. In 2014 there will be more credible enterprise options for open and interoperable solutions. There will also be a continued growth of KVM (Kernel-based virtual machine) and other open source virtualisation technologies. Also, the use of technologies like OpenStack, which are more cloud-focused, continue to grow.
– Chuck Dubuque, director, Product Marketing, Virtualization and OpenStack, Red Hat

4. Convergence will lead us to the Business-Driven Cloud. Red Hat sees the integration of business rules, cloud management and cloud infrastructure platforms enabling the Business-Driven Cloud (BDC). Decisions about cost, service levels and resource allocation will therefore move up to the business owners.
Bryan Che, general manager, Red Hat CloudForms

5. Compute and storage convergence will force the overhaul of IT operations. With private cloud and SaaS environments proliferating in enterprises worldwide, the integration of compute, networking and storage infrastructure is changing the way technology services are defined, enabled and delivered. This will necessitate re-thinking of core IT tools, principles and staffing to support the converged infrastructure.
– Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager, Storage, Red Hat

6. Government agencies will increase their focus on infrastructure management. This year, Australian government agencies will increase the rate of virtualisation and movement to private and public clouds. As a result, they will allocate more resources towards new solutions for managing and orchestrating their infrastructures. While several government agencies have already started the virtualisation process, over the next year, many more will move to public clouds and adopt virtualised networking and storage solutions.
– Gunnar Hellekson, Chief Technology Strategist, U.S. Public Sector, Red Hat

7. Big data moves from batch to real-time response. Consumers and businesses alike are creating data at an amazing rate. By some estimates, the world’s generated data is doubling every two years*. Turning a problem upside down, the industry is learning how to extract knowledge from these massive data stores, and using it to shape many aspects of their business.
– Brian Stevens, executive vice president and CTO, Red Hat

8. Services and tools for cloud visibility and controlled access on the rise. In 2014, visibility into cloud is going to be the key to security. Businesses will want more visibility into how cloud works – whether it is infrastructure or PaaS. Right now the cloud is still in a “black box” sort of state where users don’t know or understand what’s happening. 2014 will focus on services or tools that enable visibility as well as setting up controlled access.
– Krishnan Subramanian, director, OpenShift strategy, Red Hat

9. A year of challenge and change. 2014 is going to be a year of challenge and change. Many businesses have already embraced change, adopted new business models and are thriving despite the global economic conditions in which we operate. They have already created their competitive differentiation and have already moved to where their customers want to be in the future.
– Max McClaren, general manager, Red Hat Australia

Reference
* http://www.emc.com/leadership/programs/digital-universe.htm

 

UXC Eclipse identifies key business and technology trends for 2014

UXC Eclipse LogoNovember 4, 2013 – Australian businesses looking to overcome current market challenges could benefit by following the key trends predicted for 2014 according to UXC Eclipse, a leading provider of intelligent business solutions to the enterprise and mid-market.

1. Risk mitigation remains key
With continued global economic uncertainty likely to continue into 2014, businesses need to mitigate the risks associated with large projects and software investments. Stakeholders are looking for security and guaranteed project outcomes.

Anne Callaghan, COO, UXC Eclipse said: “Business must demand their implementation partner offers quality assurance for all projects to mitigate the inherent risks associated with the software implementation lifecycle. Large-scale ERP implementations are often business-critical so it’s important to do your due diligence before you start, so that everything can run smoothly.

“It is equally important to have senior executive sponsorship from the implementation partner.  With an ERP implementation, you’re putting your business in the hands of another company, so you want to be sure that they will deliver the project. Having a direct line to management means that any concern can always be addressed immediately.”

Companies should also be aware of upcoming privacy law changes, which come into force in March 2014. Organisations will need to have the correct procedures and safeguards in place when sharing customer data with other entities. Companies will have to appropriately manage and protect their information and that of their customers, since failure to do so may lead to significant fines.

Anne said: “Organisations have to understand how the new privacy laws will impact their business. It’s important to act now to be ready for the changes.”

2. Platform and architecture transformation will speed up
The choice of cloud or on-premise deployment is now available for most applications, from Microsoft Office to large Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.

Cloud has emerged as a great way for organisations to save money, perform more efficiently and flexibly and bring products to market faster. It will only grow in popularity as benefits become more widely documented.

William Moore, Senior Executive – Enterprise Solutions and Services, UXC Eclipse said: “Companies have to decide on the right applications to suit their operational needs and the method of deployment. This platform, whether cloud, on-premise or a hybrid approach, must then be integrated into the business, which adds a new layer of complexity.

“This type of transformation can be extremely valuable to reduce costs and increase flexibility but it is essential for companies to clearly understand their business requirements and options available to choose the right solution.”

3. Business intelligence goes real-time
Large and small organisations continue to seek benefits from data. Used effectively, data can reveal many opportunities for businesses to operate more effectively. In 2014 businesses will keep improving how they interact with data including where and how they can view the data, making sure it is relevant and using it proactively to make informed business decisions.

Mark Weimann, Senior Solutions Architect Manager, UXC Eclipse said: “Stakeholders and end users want integrated, user-driven dashboards that let them see the information they need at a glance. Making smart, informed decisions is more important than ever in the current business environment. That’s only possible when the information you need is available in real time and is accurate and comprehensive.”

4. Mobility will become ubiquitous
Mobility is no longer a hot topic but a mature technology across most businesses. It is expected to be seamlessly integrated into business applications as part of the whole delivery experience for both customers and employees.

William Moore, Senior Executive – Enterprise Solutions and Services, UXC Eclipse said: “Many businesses will be playing ‘catch up’ in 2014 to bring this end-user reality into their work-day application environment. Companies have mainly been focusing on external audiences when it comes to mobility but the internal aspects will be increasingly important.

“BYOD (bring your own device) or CYOD (choose your own device) will become more prevalent as companies realise the benefits of making business applications available securely on users’ own mobile devices.”

5. Projects have to deliver stakeholder value
Projects have to deliver ongoing value to stakeholders to justify the cost and be considered successful. Businesses will increasingly demand proof of value in 2014. Due diligence at the start of an IT project will help to assess the potential return on investment.

Russell Gordon, Practice Director – Business Process Management, UXC Eclipse said: “Delivering value to the stakeholders means understanding and agreeing on project deliverables from the start. Formally documenting business processes and having company-wide agreement on those before a project kicks off is a powerful way to ensure that the desired value and outcomes are understood and then delivered, particularly with ERP and CRM projects.”

6. ERP continues to be relevant
As business complexity increases, the need for an effective ERP system to tie it all together and provide a single source of information also increases. ERP will be highly relevant in 2014 and continue to evolve to suit business needs.

Mark Weimann, Senior Solutions Architect Manager, UXC Eclipse said: “ERP is likely to become more simplified and easier to use and access. User interfaces will become more tailored to user roles and user groups, while more advanced analytics tools should provide better, faster access to data. Specifically, more predictive analytics will help improve the decision-making process.”

(ends)

About UXC Eclipse
UXC Eclipse is a leading provider of intelligent business solutions to the enterprise and mid-market.

Established in 1991, UXC Eclipse’s success has been built by providing the highest levels of service and offering a choice of solutions from leading software vendors.  UXC Eclipse also delivers industry-specific (vertical) solutions on the Microsoft platform to meet ERP and CRM requirements.
 
UXC Eclipse’s service offerings include applications business consulting & project management, applications development, corporate performance management and business process management.
 
With a team of over 400 people across 14 international offices (Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada and the United States), UXC Eclipse is committed to supporting over 1,300 customers.   

For more information, visit our website at http://www.uxceclipse.com.

14 things business owners should do before 2014

RSM_Bird_Cameron_Logo@2xOctober 8, 2013RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, offers 14 suggestions for business owners to think about before 2014 to improve profits, cash flow and reduce stress levels.

Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, said, “Many industries are still experiencing difficult times. The retail sector faces challenges such as the battle for online sales, decreased consumer confidence and unemployment. Resources, mining and manufacturing are encountering challenges caused by exchange rates and the high cost of doing business in Australia.”

The latest RSM Bird Cameron thinkBIG study showed that 64 per cent of SMEs are optimistic and believe their business will grow in the next 12 months.

Graham said, “To make the most of this optimism and ensure they have a clear path to growth business owners need to have strategies in place to end the year and start the new one in the best shape possible. This will also ensure that business owners can make the most of the holiday period.”

14 things business owners should do before 2014

1. Review the products and services you sell. Tailor the mix to appeal to changing customer needs for the holiday and new year season. Also, start considering and planning for other times in the year when customers’ needs change, for example Easter.

2. Review pricing structures to ensure competitiveness and profitability. Put formal procedures in place to monitor and proactively respond to competitor pricing changes.

3. Review stock levels. Make sure you can satisfy customer demand for profitable product and service lines. Identify slow moving stock that can be liquidated as “bargain buys” or bundled with other products as a value-add.

4. Review sales, marketing and promotion plans. Make sure plans are optimised to help achieve the best results not only during the holiday season but well into the new year. Ensure staff are aware of the targets for each week and be proactive in monitoring and addressing shortfalls.

5. Review staffing plans and confirm acceptance of the rosters by all staff. For non-retail businesses, annual leave plans need to be balanced and finalised as early as possible to ensure the business continues to operate effectively. Consider a shutdown period if the Christmas and New Year period is traditionally not busy to use up staff annual leave balances during this quieter time.

6. Review fraud and theft protection systems. Ensure all staff are reminded of their responsibility to be vigilant as customer traffic increases and the pressures of Christmas expectations can motivate increased customer and staff theft.

7. Review debtor lists and actively chase all overdue accounts. Any amount not collected by December 23 is unlikely to be collected until February or later. Collecting money owed to you is critical particularly over this period when the cash cycle tends to tighten.

8. Review the use of finance products for effectiveness. Overdrafts, premium funding, lease facilities and cash flow funding products can all be excellent tools to help match a business’ cash supply with planned outlays, and may be especially useful in managing cash flow throughout the holiday season.

9. Complete a GST health check. Small businesses are in danger of losing time and money because of unreliable or outdated business systems causing them to incorrectly report GST.

10. Set effective goals. The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to review goals set at the beginning of the financial year, ensure you are on track to achieve them and put in place an action if you can see areas that are not working. Important things to consider include retirement planning, present and future investments, maximising your superannuation scheme and reviewing assets.

11. Update your business plan. Make sure your business plan is updated regularly to reflect changing market and economic conditions. Keep in mind a solid business plan is critical in meeting financing requirements as many industries face increased scrutiny from government and financial institutions requiring a much higher quality of management reporting and strategic planning to support funding applications and reviews.

12. Strategically plan end of year gifts and entertainment to key customers, prospects, suppliers and business partners. This will strengthen relationships into the new year rather than simply being a cost of doing business.

13. Carefully plan end of year staff parties to reward and recognise efforts for the year. Remember your workplace obligations to provide a safe environment for the event in relation to alcohol and discrimination.

14. Remember that you deserve a break as well. Plan to take advantage of any public holidays or other time off to protect your own health and wellbeing and reduce the chance of illness disrupting your business activities.

-ENDS-

About RSM Bird Cameron
RSM Bird Cameron is the largest mid-tier accounting firm in Australia with national ownership and profit sharing and offers a full range of specialist advisory services, including business consulting and advisory, assurance and advisory, taxation consulting, corporate consulting and turnaround and insolvency. RSM Bird Cameron is a core member firm of RSM International, the seventh largest network of independent accounting and consulting firms in the world.