The next BriefingsDirect deep-dive IT operations case study interview details how Home Trust Company in Toronto has created a center of excellence to improve quality assurance for improved performance of their critical SAP applications.

How do you properly structure your testing assets in quality control that makes sense for SAP?  What’s your proper defect flow? How do you design a configuration that fits all from the toolset? And where does automation best come in play?

These are some of the essential questions to answer for not only making apps perform well, but to allow for rapid deployment and refinement of new applications, as well as enhance ongoing security and compliance for both systems and data.

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To learn more about building a center of excellence for business applications, BriefingsDirect sat down at the recent HP Discover 2014 Conference in Las Vegas with Cindy Shen, SAP QA Manager at Home Trust. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.


Our next innovation case study interview highlights how Desjardins Group in Montréal is improving their IT operations through an advanced IT services management (ITSM) approach.

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To learn more, BriefingsDirect sat down with Trung Quach, ITSM Manager at Desjardins in Québec, at the recent HP Discover conference in Las Vegas. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

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The next BriefingsDirect innovator case study interview focuses on the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass., and how they're exploring the use of cloud and hybrid cloud to enjoy such use benefits as IT speed, agility and robust, three-tier disaster recovery (DR)

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To learn more about how the MIT Media Lab is using cloud computing, we’re joined by Michail Bletsas, research scientist and Director of Computing at the MIT Media Lab. The discussion, at the recent VMworld 2014 Conference in San Francisco, is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: VMware.


The next BriefingsDirect discussion focuses on an essential aspect of helping businesses make the best use of cloud computing.

We're examining the role and value of cloud services brokers with an emphasis on small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), regional businesses, and government, and looking for attaining the best results from a specialist cloud service brokerage role within these different types of organizations.

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No two businesses have identical needs, and so specialized requirements need to be factored into the use of often commodity-type cloud services. An intermediary brokerage can help companies and government agencies make the best use of commodity and targeted IaaS clouds, and not fall prey to replacing an on-premises integration problem with a cloud complexity problem.

To learn more about the role and value of the specialist cloud services brokerage, we're joined by Todd Lyle, President of Duncan, LLC, a cloud services brokerage in Ohio, and Kevin Jackson, the Founder and CEO of GovCloud Network in Northern Virginia. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: Duncan, LLC.


The latest BriefingsDirect discussion focuses on one of the toughest balancing acts in seeking the best of cloud computing benefits. This balance comes from obtaining the proper degree of centralization or "common good" for infrastructure efficiency, while preserving a sufficient culture of decentralization for agility, innovation, and departmental-level control.

The requirement for empowering centralization is no more evident than in a large university setting, where support and consensus must be preserved among such constituencies as faculty, staff, students, and researchers -- across an expansive educational community.

But the typical IT model does not support localized agility when it takes weeks to spin up a server, if online services lack automation, or if manual processes hold back efficient ongoing IT operations. Too much IT infrastructure redundancy also means weak security, high costs, lack of agility, and slow upgrades.

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We're joined by an IT executive from the University of New Mexico (UNM) to learn more about moving to a streamlined and automated private cloud model to gain a common good benefit, while maintaining a vibrant and reassured culture of innovation. We're also joined by a VMware executive to learn more about the latest ways to manage cloud architectures and processes to attain the best of cloud efficiencies, while empowering improved services delivery and process agility.

They are: Brian Pietrewicz, Director of Computing Platforms at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and Kurt Milne, Director of Product Marketing in the Management Business Unit at VMware. The discussion is moderated Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

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What The Open Group refers to as Open Platform 3.0 encompasses the combined impacts of cloud, big data, mobile, and social. But to each of these now we can add a new cresting wave of complexity and scale as we consider the rapid explosion of new devices, sensors, and myriad endpoints that will be connected using internet protocols, standards and architectural frameworks.

This so-called Internet of Things means more data, more cloud connectivity and management, and an additional tier of “things” that are going to be part of the mobile edge -- and extending that mobile edge ever deeper into even our own bodies.

Yet the Internet of Things is more than the “things” – it means a higher order of software platforms. For example, if we are going to operate data centers with new dexterity thanks to software-defined networking (SDN) and storage (SDS) -- indeed the entire data center being software-defined (SDDC) -- then why not a software-defined automobile, or factory floor, or hospital operating room -- or even a software-defined city block or neighborhood?

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And so how does this all actually work? Does it easily spin out of control? Or does it remain under proper management and governance? Do we have unknown unknowns about what to expect with this new level of complexity, scale, and volume of input devices?

To help answer these questions, The Open Group and BriefingsDirect recently assembled a distinguished panel at The Open Group Boston Conference 2014 to explore the practical implications and limits of the Internet of Things.

The panelist are: Said Tabet, Chief Technology Officer for Governance, Risk and Compliance Strategy at EMC, and a primary representative to the Industrial Internet Consortium; Penelope Gordon, Emerging Technology Strategist at 1Plug Corporation; Jean-Francois Barsoum, Senior Managing Consultant for Smarter Cities, Water and Transportation at IBM, and Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer at The Open Group. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

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It's only been a few years since Waste Management's IT organization began rebuilding their quality assurance processes from the ground up.

"Our availability scorecard was pretty bad. Our services were down. At times, we didn’t know that our services were down. Our first indication of a problem was from customers calling us," remembers Gautam Roy, Vice President of Infrastructure, Operations and Technical Services at Waste Management in Houston, Texas.

"Now, fast-forward a few years -- with making the appropriate choices and investments in technology, such as in people and processes -- and our scorecard is very good. We know of the problems rapidly. We proactively detect problems and fix the problems before they impact our customers," he says. 

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To learn how Waste Management came to deliver 4 9s availability for its critical applications, BriefingsDirect sat down with Roy at the recent HP Discover conference in Las Vegas. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

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It's a shame when the data analysis providers inside a company get the cold shoulder from the business leaders because the data keeps proving the status quo wrong, or contradicts the conventional corporate wisdom.

Fortunately for GSN Games in San Francisco, there's no such culture clash there. "The real thing that's helped us get to the point we are is a culture where everybody is open to being wrong -- and open to being proven wrong by the data," says Portman Wills, Vice President of Data at GSN Games.

"One of the things we use data for is to challenge all of our assumptions about our own products and our own businesses, says Wills. "It's really gotten to a point where it's almost religious in our company. The moment two people start debating what should or shouldn't happen, they say, 'Well let's just let the data decide.' That's been a core change not just for us, but for the game industry as a whole."

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How did GSN Games get to the point where the data usually wins? It took a blazing fast data warehouse of 1.3 trillion rows that consumes, stores and produces analysis from some 110 million registered game-players in near real time. The next BriefingsDirect podcast focuses on just how GSN Games exploits such big data to effectively uncover game-changing entertainment trends for their audience. Oh, and it changes corporate cultures, too.

The discussion, at the recent HP Discover conference in Barcelona, is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Subscribe ot the podcast on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.


The old model of just being an outsourcer or on-premises service provider is dead for many IT solutions providers. Instead, we’re all now in a hybrid world where will have some private-cloud solutions and multiple public clouds. The challenge is to have the right level of governance, and to be in a position to move the workloads, and adjust the workloads with the needs.

These words of wisdom come from European IT services provider Steria, which along with hundreds of its customers are charting a journey to hybrid cloud while maintaining control, automation, and reporting across all cloud or non-cloud infrastructure.

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To learn more about how services standardization leads to improved hybrid cloud automation, BriefingsDirect spoke to Eric Fradet, Industrialization Director at Steria in Paris. The discussion, at the HP Discover conference in Barcelona, is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

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It’s no secret that communication service providers (CSPs) are under a lot of pressure as they make massive investments in upgraded networks while facing shrinking margins and revenues from their eroding traditional voice or broadcasting businesses.

Traditional operators understand that they must go beyond what they did before. They need to offer more compelling services to reduce churn and acquire new customers. But how to know what services customers want most, and how much to charge for them?

A key asset CSPs have is the huge amount of information that they generate and maintain. And so it's the analytics from their massive data sets that becomes the go-to knowledge resource as CSPs re-invent themselves.

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The next BriefingsDirect Big Data innovation discussion therefore explores how the telecommunication service-provider industry is gaining new business analytic value and strategic return through the better use and refinement of their Big Data assets.

To learn more about how analytics has become a business imperative for (CSPs), listen to this interview with Oded Ringer, Worldwide Solution Enablement Lead for HP Communication and Media Solutions. The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.