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IT Industry News for March 2016

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

This post first appeared on Eagle’s CEO Blog on April 7, 2016

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for March 2016. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of March in previous years…

Five years ago, March 2011 saw Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes.  On the tech front Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by Salesforce.com for about Facebook logo$276 million; Facebook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 million for Next New Networks; McAfee bought database security firm Sentrigo; Cisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought data analytics startup Aster data … a continuation of the consolidation in the red hot data space; and OpenText bought a mobile app development tool vendor WeComm.  In March 2012 there was some activity with a couple of (then) young companies receiving significant Cisco logocapital — Appirio ($60 million) and Hootsuite ($20 million).  Cisco made a couple of acquisitions, paying a whopping $5 billion for video software and content company NDS Group in addition to a smaller network management buy, ClearAccess.  NEC paid $450 million for the information management business of Convergys and Avaya paid $230 million for an Israeli videoconferencing and telepresence company Radvision.  Other companies on the acquisition trail were DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and The Utility Company.  Three years ago, March 2013 saw some of the “usual suspects” making acquisitions, but there were no billion dollar deals announced.  Oracle continued its move Google signinto the telco space with the purchase of Tekelec; Google bought a small Toronto University based company DNNresearch in the machine learning vertical; Microsoft sold Atlas Advertiser Suite to Facebook; and Yahoo bought Summly.  In March 2014, Facebook made a, somewhat surprising, $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR.  Intel also expanded its horizons with the $150 million acquisition of smart watch maker, Basis Science.  SAP added to its purchasing software suite with the acquisition of Fieldglass and Telus made a couple of buys, Enode a management consulting company out of Quebec and Med Access an addition, in British Columbia, to their healthcare HP logodivision.  Last year, March 2015 saw some significant M&A activity with HP paying $3 billion for Aruba Networks; Lexmark paying $1 billion for customer management software company Kofax; eCommerce company Rakuten paid $410 million for ebook marketplace Overdrive; Cheetah Mobile paid $58 million for mobile ad networkMobPartner;  TeraGo Networks paid $33 million for cloud provider RackForce; IBM bought natural language and image processing company AlchemyAPI; and in the cable TV world, Charter Communications paid $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks.

Which brings us back to the present…

dell logoMarch 2016 saw the $3 billion sale of Dell Services to NTT, a direct result of Dell’s restructuring following the recent purchase of EMC.  IBM was out bolstering its services business with a couple of acquisitions; the first was Optevia, a UK-based integrator focused on Microsoft Dynamics; and the second was Bluewolf Group, a global Salesforce consulting partner.  Montreal based Yellow Pages picked up Toronto based Juice Mobile, primarily for its mobile marketing capability.  Another Toronto company, Influitive raised some cash ($8.2 million) and bought a couple of mobile app companies, Ironark Software and Triggerfox; and Netsuite bought IOity solutions a cloud based manufacturing software company.

IBM logoWhile IBM was bolstering its services business through acquisitions it was also trimming staff, with a reputed 14,000 jobs on the block.  Other companies laying off staff included SurveyMonkey and smartwatch company Pebble.  Cisco meanwhile was spreading some cash around with significant investments into India’s digital connectivity initiatives and a smart city initiative in Berlin.

In other news, the tech world lost a couple of icons. Andy Grove, founder of Intel, passed away, as did Ray Tomlinson the inventor of email.

On the economic front the US added another 200,000 jobs in February and the various surveys were generally positive.  Canada on the other hand lost 2,300 jobs and the unemployment rate hit 7.3%.

That is it for my monthly look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

IT Industry News for February 2016

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

This post first appeared on Eagle’s CEO Blog on March 7th, 2016

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for February 2016. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous years’ Februarys …

Five years ago in February 2011 IT was a quiet month for M&A with HP buying Vertica; Opentext bought Metastorm ($182 million); and Rackspace acquired Anso Labs.  World news was dominated by the popular uprisings in a growing number of countries and the reactions of those governments including the brutality of Gaddafi’s Libyan supporters.  February 2012 was not a blockbuster month for M&A, but there was some interesting
Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseactivity.  The biggest deal of the month saw Oracle pay $1.9 billion for talent management company Taleo.  Siemens Canada paid $440 million for networking equipment company Rugged.com.  IBM bought BYOD company Worklight; Dell bought backup and recovery company AppAssure; Apple bought mobile search company Chomp; and LM Ericsson bought Ottawa based BelAir Networks.   Three years ago in February 2013 Dell went private in a $24.4 billion deal, that included a $2 billion investment by Microsoft.  Oracle paid $1.7 billion for networking company Acme Packet Inc.; Rackspace bought big data company ObjectRocket; Telus was busy with two acquisitions, electronic medical records division of the Canadian Medical Association and digital forensics company Digital
HP logoWyzdom; HP also sold the Palm operating system to LG for their smart TVs.  February 2014 was busy in M&A. Facebook make a big move with the $16 billion acquisition of Whatsapp.  Comcast made a $45 billion play for Time Warner Cable and regulatory approval or otherwise is imminent; Oracle paid a reputed $400 million for data management platform company Bluekai; LinkedIn paid $120 million for online job search company Bright; and Klout was bought for about $100 million by Lithium Technologies.  Google made a couple of acquisitions, online fraud company Spider.io and secure logon company Slicklogin.  IBM bought database as a service company Cloudant; and Monster bought a couple of companies, social profile company Talentbin and job aggregation and distribution technology company Gozaic. Finally, Microsoft announced Steve Balmer’s
Microsoft logoretirement and appointed a new CEO, Satya Nadella. Last year in February 2015 saw some interesting activity.  The $6.3 billion merger of Staples and Office Depot and the $1.6 Billion purchase of Orbitz by Expedia are two examples of sectors experiencing massive consolidation.  There was a big buy in the communications and IT space with Harris paying $4,75 billion for Excelis to establish a 23,000 person company.  There was a big data center play with UK based Telecity Group paying $2.2 billion for Interxion Holdings.  Microsoft made a couple of acquisitions, paying $200 million for pen-tech maker N-Trig and $100 million for mobile calendar company Sunrise.  Samsung bought a mobile payment company (competing with Apple pay), LoopPay.  Also out buying was Twitter which picked up Niche, a network of social media creators.  There were a number of interesting deals in Asia, including Sapdeal buying luxury fashion estore Exclusively; Foodpanda made six acquisitions of online meal delivery services to establish itself as a powerhouse in that space.  Showing some forethought Australian job board OneShift has bought Adage, which is a job board serving people over 45.

Which brings us back to the present …

Cisco logoFebruary 2016 saw some action in the M&A world.  The biggest deal saw HNA Group of China pay $6 billion for Ingram Micro.  Two other billion dollar deals included Cisco paying $1.4 billion for IoT company, Jasper Technologies and a consortium of Chinese internet firms making a $1.2 billion bid for Opera. Microsoft was busy with a couple of acquisitions, Xamarin a cross platform mobile application development company, and Swiftkey which produces predictive keyboard technology.  Another busy company was Alibaba Group which was investing in a bunch of companies, including a $100 million investment in Groupon, and smaller investments in microblogging site Weibo; software company Momo; augmented reality startup Magic Leap; Chinese retail chain Suning; and Singapore telco SingPost.  Other companies of note out buying included IBM who bought digital agency Aperto and Blackberry acquired cybersecurity company Encription.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itIn other news Apple is in a battle with the US government about privacy concerns after being ordered to develop a back door into its operating system.  It was also interesting to see the projected growth in the mobile space with 5.5 billion users expected by 2020.

There wasn’t much good news on the economic front as both Canada and the US had a bit of a slow month.  Canada lost about 5,700 jobs and the unemployment rate jumped a little to 7.2%.  Various US indicators were down but everything is relative and general consensus is that things overall are still positive for the US economy.

That is it for my monthly look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back in about a month’s time, until then … walk fast and smile!

IT Industry News for December 2015

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for December 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Decembers

Sometimes we think IT news in December can be slow, but the last 5 years might belie that theory! Five years ago, in December 2010, there was probably more activity than previous Decembers. Dell made two storage acquisitions, Compellent Technologies ($820 million) and Insite one. Siemens and Atos Origin formed a new European IT outsourcing company in a deal worth more than $1 billion. J2 global Communications bought (Ottawa-based) Protus IP Solutions ($213 million); Juniper Networks bought Altor networks for $95 million; Salesforce.com bought a software development platform Ruby from Heroku for $212 million; Earthlink paid $370 million for One Communications; BMC Software bought GridApp Systems; and L&T infotech established a significant Canadian presence through the acquisition of Citigroup’s IT outsourcing arm. In December 2011, Ottawa’s March Networks was snapped up by Infinova Canada for $90 million, and Toronto-based Rypple was acquired by Salesforce.com! The BIG deal was SAP’s $3.4 billion purchase of SuccessFactors, who had also announced they were buying Jobs2Web for $110 milion. It was IBM that was the most active acquirer of the month, paying $440 million for DemandTec, also picking up Emptoris in the procurement world and Irish company Curam Software in the government sector. Three years ago, in December 2012, there was a fair amount of M&A activity with Oracle making two acquisitions, marketing automation company Eloqua ($871 million) and Dataraker, which provides analytics for utilities companies. The big deal of the month saw Sprint pay $2.2 billion to take full control of cellular competitor Clearwire. Montreal-based Cogeco paid $635 million for Peer 1 Networks and NCR paid $635 million for retail software and services company Retalix. In the BYOD space, Citrix bought mobile device management company Zenprise for $355 million. Finally, Redknee added 1200 employees and 130 new clients through the purchase of Nokia Siemens Business Support Network. December 2013 was a slow month; however, Oracle pulled off a $1.5 billion buy of marketing software company Responsys; Akamai paid $370 million for cloud-based security solutions provider Prolexic; JDS Uniphase paid $200 million for enterprise performance management company Network Instruments; IBM bought a “big data” file compression company Aspera and Hitachi expended its solutions capability with the purchase of Calgary-based Ideaca. In other company news, Target, although not an IT company, had a major security breach involving details of 40 million debit and credit cards. Last year, December 2014 was not such a slow news month, with the political and technical ramifications of “the Sony hack” causing uproar, some very positive economic indicators out of the US and some big names making acquisitions, albeit not huge deals. Microsoft made two acquisitions, the $200 million purchase of mobile email app startup Acompli and mobile development company HockeyApp (which has nothing to do with hockey). SAP bought travel and expense management company Concur; Intel bought a Montreal-based identity management company PasswordBox; Oracle bought digital marketing company Datalogix; Teradata bought data archiving company Rainstor; and MongoDB bought high-scale storage engine company WiredTiger.

Which brings us back to the present

December 2015 was not a busy M&A month but there was some interesting activity. The big deal saw Canadian telco Shaw make a big play into the cellular space with its proposed acquisition of Wind for $1.6 billion. Meanwhile, Rogers was also out shopping and growing its Maritimes presence through the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc. Other deals in December were not large but did feature some of the big players. Oracle bought Stackhouse, a cloud company with a specialization in “containers”; IBM boosted its video in the cloud capabilities with the purchase of Clearleap; and Microsoft picked up a mobile communications company, Talko. Other deals saw Ingram Micro buy the Odin Service Automation business from Parallels and, in the storage world, Carbonite bought Evault from Seagate.

Other companies in the news include the venerable Toshiba, which has been decimated following the financial scandals it suffered. It looks like layoffs might reach 10,000 as it undergoes a massive restructuring. Oracle announced an investment in Austin, Texas to build a campus attracting new grads and Samsung and Apple might have settled a five year patent dispute. An IDC report was bad news for Blackberry, as it forecasts that iOS, Android and Windows will be the top smartphone platforms for the foreseeable future.

On the economic front, the US economy shows no sign of slowing down, adding another 250,000 jobs in November. All of the indicators were positive, with four separate surveys indicating that companies were going to be growing their tech employee base in 2016. Canada, however, is another story, losing 35,700 jobs in November, albeit many of them temporary jobs associated with the election. The unemployment rate did edge up to 7.1% and while the third quarter saw GDP rise slightly after two quarters of contraction, the economy continues to sputter. Having said that, demand for professionals is increasing faster than supply and Canada is anticipating an increase in skills shortages.

I have to say that 2015 was not a great year in Canada’s economy, but maybe the US recovery will have a drag along effect for Canada in 2016? We can hope! That’s my look at the tech news for December 2015. Until next month, walk fast and smile!

IT Industry News for October 2015

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the tech industry for October 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Octobers …

Five years ago in October Twenty-Ten Bell Canada bought a data center in Montreal (Hypertec) and picked up xwave from its subsidiary Bell Aliant.  Rogers paid $425 million for Atria networks and IBM picked up Toronto based Clarity Systems.  A year later in steve jobsOctober 2011 an industry icon, Steve Jobs passed away and IBM announced Virginia Rometty as their first female CEO.  On the M&A front Oracle made a couple of buys, including RightNow Technologies ($1.5 Billion) and Endeca Technologies; Sony bought Ericsson out of their Sony Ericsson joint venture ($1.5 Billion); Red Hat bought storage company Gluster ($136 million); and Cisco bought BNI Video ($99 million).  Three years ago EMC logothe October 2012 news was dominated by Hurricane Sandy and the US presidential election.   The big deal of the month was a $1.5 billion merger of two US cell carriers, T-Mobile and MetroPCS.  There were also a number of smaller deals, with EMC beefing up in the security area (Silver Tail), Telus expanding its medical solutions portfolio (Kinlogix Medical) and Avnet improving its IBM capabilities (BrightStar and BSP).  In the social networking world Yelp bought its European competitor Qype in a $50 million deal. Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseOctober 2013 was not a dynamic M&A month, although there was certainly some activity.  Oracle announced two acquisitions, both “cloud based companies: Big Machines provides pricing and quote date for sales and orders; and Compendium is a content marketing company.  Other “names” out shopping included Avaya buying the software division of ITNavigator for its call centre and social media monitoring software; Rackspace bought ZeroVM a tech company with a software solution for the cloud; Intuit bought consulting company Level Up Analytics, primarily to acquire its talent; VMWare bought “desktop as a service” company Desktone; Netsuite bought human capital software company TribeHR; and Telus enhanced its mobile offering with the purchase of Public HP logoMobile.  Last year in October 2014 we saw a new trend, with two public companies both choosing to split into smaller entities.  HP announced it was creating a business service focused Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and personal computing & printer company HP Inc.  Interestingly enough this takes effect November 1, 2015.  Symantec also chose to split into two independent public companies, one focused on business and consumer security products, the other on its information management portfolio.  Other interesting news saw IBM pay $1.5 Billion to GlobalFoundries so it would take away its money losing semiconductor manufacturing business.  NEST bought out competitor Revolv; EMC bought three cloud companies, The Cloudscaling Group, Maginatics and Spanning Cloud Apps; and in Korea, Kakao and Daum merged to form a $2.9 billion internet entity.

Which brings us back to the present …

dell logoOctober 2015 brought some big deals with the biggest seeing Dell offer $26 billion to buy storage company EMC.  Interestingly an EMC subsidiary, VMWare was also out shopping, picking up a small email startup, Boxer.  In another deal involving “big bucks”, Western Digital are paying $19 billion for storage competitor Sandisk.  IBM were also writing a big cheque, paying $2 billion in a big data/internet of things play for The Weather Network (minus the TV operations), and IBM also picked up a storage company, Cleversafe.  Cisco paid $522.5 million for cybersecurity firm Lancope; LogMeIn is paying $110 million for IBM logoLastPass; Trend Micro is paying $350 million for next generation intrusion prevention systems company HP Tippingpoint; Red Hat picked up deployment task execution and automation company Ansible; Vasco Data Security is paying $85 million for solution provider Silanis; and Apple is buying a speech processing startup, VocalIQ.  As industries converge it is interesting to see Securitas pay $350 million for Diebold’s US Electronic Security business.

Twitter logoOther companies in the news include Twitter who announced 336 layoffs; Apple lost a patent fight with the University of Wisconsin to the tune of $234 million (of course they also recorded record profits of more than $5 billion).  Google are launching a neat project to bring the internet to 100,000 Indonesian people using balloons (Project Loon).

The US economy continues to impress, adding another 200,000 jobs and having generally positive indicators from surveys and reports.  There are signs that the growth is slowing but this is just to be expected.  Canada added 12,100 jobs in September but the unemployment rate rose to 7.1%.  A new Liberal government was voted in, so we will watch how that works out.

That is my update on tech news for October 2015 … until next month, stay positive, walk fast and smile!

IT: The Engine of Growth in Canada

Depending where you are in Canada, the job market may not be pretty and finding a job can be a challenge.  Fortunately, if you’re an IT contractor, your future is looking bright, no matter where you are located.  This infographic from the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) gives a snapshot of this sector in Canada and proves that you are in the right industry!

IT: The Engine of Growth in Canada

For those of you in Ontario, here’s another infographic from ITAC that provides even more specifics on where your future opportunities lie:

IT: The Engine of Growth in Ontario

IT Industry News for May

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for May 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of May in previous years …

Five years ago in May Twenty-Ten economies were recovering, but there was still plenty of concern including the financial impact of the volcanic ash hitting air schedules and the meltdown of the Greek economy. The big deal was SAP’s $5.8 Billion purchase of Sybase. Google picked up two companies GIPS and BumpTop and invested in a third Recorded Future (a company that claims to forecast the future). Cisco added Moto Development and CoreOptics. The other big dollar deal was Symantec’s $1.28 Billion deal Microsoft logoto buy the security assets of Verisign. In May 2011 probably the biggest news was Microsoft’s record breaking offer of $8.5 Billion for Skype. Other M&A activity included Nvidia paying $367M for Icera; Rambus buying Cryptography Research for $342M in the security space; Sandisk acquiring Pliant Technology in the storage world for $327M; and Twitter paying $40M for TweetDeck. Three years ago, May 2012 saw the long anticipated, but somewhat disappointing start of Facebook’s appearance as a public company! There was also a fair amount of M&A activity, the largest deal being SAP’s $4.3 Billion acquisition of Ariba with CGI’s $2.8 Billion acquisition of Logica PLC of particular interest to those of us here in Canada! EMC continued its pattern of acquisitions with the $430 million purchase of XtremIO: perennial acquirer Oracle paid $300 million for social media marketing firm Vitrue; in the storage space Seagate paid $186 million for a controlling interest in LaCie; Microsoft invested $300 million in a Barnes & Noble subsidiary; and LinkedIn paid $118 million for Slideshare. There was plenty more activity, but with the amounts not published. Twitter bought RestEngine; IBM bought customer analytics company Tealeaf YahooTechnology; VMware bought Wanova; and Cisco bought Truvisco. The big news in May 2013 was Yahoo’s $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr. The $6.9 billion deal to take BMC Software private did not cause the same kind of splash … the power of the brand? Manitoba Tel decided to shed its Allstream division to a holding company for $520 million; McAfee paid $389 million for Finnish security firm Stonesoft; Dell added to its cloud capabilities with the purchase of Estratius; AVG bought PrivacyChoice; and Ottawa based N-Able Technologies became one more Canadian company to be bought by a larger US company, The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itthis time Solarwinds for $120 million. Last year in May 2014 AT&T paid $50 billion for DirectTV and Apple paid $3 billion for Beats. Google continued to invest in its Android strategy this time with a strategy company Divide, that will bring help breaking into the enterprise. Other acquisitions saw Seagate pay $450 million for some flash capability from Avago (the LSI divisions); GE bought cyber security firm Wurdtech; EMC bought a flash (see the trend) start-up DSSD; Time Warner bought Youtube video network FullScreen; and SAP bought behavioral target marketing company SeeWhy.

Which brings us back to the present …

Time warnerMay 2015 saw some very large deals on the M&A front, with the biggest seeing Charter Communications spend $55 Billion to buy Time Warner Cable and a further $10.4 Billion to buy Bright House Networks. This creates the second largest cable company in the US, just behind Comcast. The “Billion dollar club” also saw French Telco Altice pay $9.1 Billion for another US cable company Suddenlink Communications. Keeping with the AOL logobillion dollar deals involving telcos, Verizon paid $4.4 Billion for AOL to bolster its mobile video capabilities. Another Billion dollar deal saw HP unload 70% of its stake in its China server, storage and technology storage unit to Tsinghua Holdings for $2.3 billion. The final billion dollar deal saw EMC pay $1.2 billion for cloud service provider Virtustream. Apple was out buying a couple of companies in May, snapping up mapping company Coherent Navigation and augmented reality company Metaio. In other deals Avaya bought cloud technology company Esna; and Cisco bought cloud programming interface company Tropo.

Another company in the news was Blackberry, but for the wrong reasons, announcing another layoff as it continues the journey back to significant market share in the smart phone world.

canadian flagA Trend Micro security and threat report had Canada scoring quite high as a target for online threats. Clearly not a report in which you want to score high! There was another report highlighting the growing IT skills gap in Canada. Canada’s economy took a bit of a beating primarily due to the low price of oil; however things look better later in the year. Part of that optimism is the uptick in the US economy and almost all indicators, reports and surveys for the US were positive in May.

That is my look at the May tech news. Big dollar acquisitions mostly in the US cable space and AOL, a legend, being swallowed up by Verizon. Is it really 3 years since the Facebook IPO, and five years since that volcanic ash issue in Europe? The next few months will be telling for the Canadian economy, a bit of luck on the oil price side, a weakened Canadian dollar and a positive impact from a booming US economy should see things pick up. Meanwhile it seems like companies are out spending, so we will see what happens!

Scrum Data Warehouse Project

By Mishkin Berteig
President, Co-Founder of Berteig Consulting

The original version of this article can be found on the Agile Advice blog.

Talent Development Centre subscribers can get 25% off Agile training! Visit www.worldmindware.com and use promocode EPR-25-CSM-MV4A for Certified ScrumMaster courses and promocode EPR-25-CSPO-QE7X for Certified Scrum Product Owner courses.

Many people have concerns about the possibility of using Scrum or other Agile methods on large projects that don’t directly involve software development.  Data warehousing projects are commonly brought up as examples where, just maybe, Scrum wouldn’t work.

I have worked as a coach on a couple of such projects.  Here is a brief description of how it worked (both the good and the bad) on one such project:

The project was a data warehouse migration from Oracle to Teradata.  The organization had about 30 people allocated to the project.  Before adopting Scrum, they had done a bunch of up-front analysis work.  This analysis work resulted in a dependency map among approximately 25,000 tables, views and ETL scripts.  The dependency map was stored in an MS Access DB (!).  When I arrived as the coach, there was an expectation that the work would be done according to dependencies and that the “team” would just follow that sequence.

I learned about this all in the first week as I was doing boot-camp style training on Scrum and Agile with the team and helping them to prepare for their first Sprint.

I decided to challenge the assumption about working based on dependencies.  I spoke with the Product Owner about the possible ways to order the work based on value.  We spoke about a few factors including:

  • retiring Oracle data warehouse licenses/servers,
  • retiring disk space/hardware,
  • and saving CPU time with new hardware

The Product Owner started to work on getting metrics for these three factors.  He was able to find that the data was available through some instrumentation that could be implemented quickly so we did this.  It took about a week to get initial data from the instrumentation.

In the meantime, the Scrum teams (4 of them) started their Sprints working on the basis of the dependency analysis.  I “fought” with them to address the technical challenges of allowing the Product Owner to work on the migration in order based more on value – to break the dependencies with a technical solution.  We discussed the underlying technologies for the ETL which included bash scripts, AbInitio and a few other technologies.  We also worked on problems related to deploying every Sprint including getting approval from the organization’s architectural review board on a Sprint-by-Sprint basis.  We also had the teams moved a few times until an ideal team workspace was found.

After the Product Owner found the data, we sorted (ordered) the MS Access DB by business value.  This involved a fairly simple calculation based primarily on disk space and CPU time associated with each item in the DB.  This database of 25000 items became the Product Backlog.  I started to insist to the teams that they work based on this order, but there was extreme resistance from the technical leads.  This led to a few weeks of arguing around whiteboards about the underlying data warehouse ETL technology.  Fundamentally, I wanted the teams to treat the data warehouse tables as the PBIs and have both Oracle and Teradata running simultaneously (in production) with updates every Sprint for migrating data between the two platforms.  The Technical team kept insisting this was impossible.  I didn’t believe them.  Frankly, I rarely believe a technical team when they claim “technical dependencies” as a reason for doing things in a particular order.

Finally, after a total of 4 Sprints of 3 weeks each, we finally had a breakthrough.  In a one-on-one meeting, the most senior tech lead admitted to me that what I was arguing was actually possible, but that the technical people didn’t want to do it that way because it would require them to touch many of the ETL scripts multiple times – they wanted to avoid re-work.  I was (internally) furious due to the wasted time, but I controlled my feelings and asked if it would be okay if I brought the Product Owner into the discussion.  The tech lead allowed it and we had the conversation again with the PO present.  The tech lead admitted that breaking the dependencies was possible and explained how it could lead to the teams touching ETL scripts more than once.  The PO basically said: “awesome!  Next Sprint we’re doing tables ordered by business value.”

A couple Sprints later, the first of 5 Oracle licenses was retired, and the 2-year $20M project was a success, with nearly every Sprint going into production and with Oracle and Teradata running simultaneously until the last Oracle license was retired.  Although I don’t remember the financial details anymore, the savings were huge due to the early delivery of value.  The apprentice coach there went on to become a well-known coach at this organization and still is a huge Agile advocate 10 years later!

About the Author Mishkin Berteig is the President and Co-Founder of Berteig Consulting Inc. He has been Mishkin Berteigtraining, coaching and consulting for organizations adopting Agile methods since 2001 and is committed to helping individuals, teams and organizations apply Agile methods. Mishkin is a Certified Scrum Trainer, and qualified to deliver OpenAgile and Agile Project Management training.  He has developed and delivered Agile training both in public and in-house seminars for over 3000 people in Canada and abroad. Courses have been as short as three hour intro-style and as long as five day boot-camp-style, and audiences have ranged from junior team members to senior executives. He has also assisted organizations of all sizes to make the transformation from traditional methods to Agile/Scrum methods (Extreme Programming, Scrum, Lean, OpenAgile).  Assistance includes Agile Engineering Practices, Agile teamwork, Agile project and product management, Agile management and executive management.

Technology Industry News for March 2015

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

This article first appeared on the Eagle Blog on April 7th, 2015.

Tech pictureThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for March 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of March in previous years …

Five years ago, March 2010 saw a continuation of the economic recovery.  It was a quiet month for M&A activity with CA buying both 3Tera for about $90 million and Nimsoft for $350 million.  Chordiant was bought by Pegasytems for a little over $160 million, and the other notable deal was Avnet’s $340 million purchase of Bell Microproducts.   Three years ago, in March 2011 world events included Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear woes.  Montreal’s Radian6 was snapped up by Salesforce.com for about $276 million; Facebook made a couple of acquisitions in the mobile space Snaptu and Beluga; YouTube paid about $50 million for Next New Networks; McAfee bought database security firm Sentrigo; Cisco logoCisco bought portal company newScale; Teradata bought data analytics startup Aster data … a continuation of the consolidation in the red hot data space;  and OpenText bought a mobile app development tool vendor WeComm.  In March 2012 there was some activity with a couple of (then) young companies receiving significant capital Appirio ($60 million) and Hootsuite ($20 million).  Cisco made a couple of acquisitions, paying a wopping $5 billion for video software and content company NDS Group in addition to a smaller network management buy, ClearAccess.  NEC paid $450 million for the information management business of Convergys and Avaya paid $230 million for an Israeli videoconferenceing and telepresence company Radvision.  Other companies on the acquisition trail were DELL, EMC, SafeNet, Avnet and Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseThe Utility Company.  Two years ago March 2013 saw some of the “usual suspects” making acquisitions, but there were no billion dollar deals announced.  Oracle continued its move into the telco space with the purchase of Tekelec; Google bought a small Toronto University based company DNNresearch in the machine learning vertical; Microsoft sold Atlas Advertiser Suite to Facebook; and Yahoo bought Summly.  Last year in March 2014 Facebook made a, somewhat surprising, $2 Billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus VR.  Intel also expanded its horizons with the $150 million acquisition SAPof smart watch maker, Basis Science.  SAP added to its purchasing software suite with the acquisition of Fieldglass and Telus made a couple of buys, Enode a management consulting company out of Quebec and Med Access an addition, in British Columbia, to their healthcare division.

Which brings us back to the present …

March 2015 saw some significant M&A activity with HP paying $3 billion for Aruba Networks; Lexmark paying $1 HP logobillion for customer management software company Kofax; eCommerce company Rakuten paid $410 million for ebook marketplace Overdrive; Cheetah Mobile is paying $58 million for mobile ad networkMobPartner;  TeraGo Networks paid $33 million for cloud provider RackForce; IBM bought natural language and image processing company AlchemyAPI; and in the cable TV world Charter Communications is paying $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itOther companies in the news includes SAP laying off 3% of its workforce (2,250, jobs); Ericsson is cutting 2,200 jobs and Sharp is cutting 6,000 jobs.  Aplle released details of its new Apple watch, and also had good news about its market positioning of mobile phone sales since its release of the iPhone 6.

oil rigFor yet another month the reports and surveys out of the US were all positive demonstrating a strong recovery in that economy.  Canada’s news was less than stellar with unemployment creeping up to 6.8% from 6.6% in January.  The collapsing oil price is anticipated to cost 8,000 jobs in the Canadian oil patch.  Another report suggests that skills shortages will see Canada short by 182,000 people in the tech sector by 2019.

On a final note the FAA moved a little bit on approval of drone deliveries in the US, however the limitations are likely to limit that industry in the near term.

That is it for my look at what was happening in the technology space over the last month, compared to the same month in previous years.  I’ll be back at the end of April, until then … walk fast and smile!

Technology Industry News for January 2015

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
CEO at Eagle

This article first appeared on the Eagle Blog on February 6th, 2015.

Industry NewsThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for January 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of previous year’s Januarys …

Apple LogoFive years ago in January Twenty-Ten there was cautious optimism about recovering from the recession, but no real blockbuster M&A deals.  Oracle, Apple, EMC, and Cisco did continue to demonstrate their appetite for acquisition.  Perhaps the most interesting acquisition saw PWC here in Canada return to the IT consulting business with the acquisition of Allstream’s non-telecom consulting business, several years after exiting the business by selling it to IBM.  It is worth noting that Apple released its brand new iPad .  In January 2011 economic news was generally positive, Steve Jobs announced his leave of absence from Apple and Larry Page assumed the CEO role at Google.  There were also some big M&A deals, the largest being the $3.1 Billion acquisition of Atheros Communications by Qualcomm.  Verizon paid $1.4 Billion for Teremark Worldwide and IGate paid $1.2 Billion for Patni Computer Systems.  Also out spending money were Dell, Google, Cisco and Salesforce.com. Things were very quiet in M&A three years ago in January 2012.  Former tech giant JDSU was back on the acquisition trail, even if just to pick up a small Vancouver based company, Dyaptive Systems.  Symantec paid $115 million for LiveOffice to help with its storage capabilities, Google bought a bunch more IBM patents, and
Xerox picked up Laser Networks in the managed printing space.  BlackBerryRim (now Blackberry) also announced a change in leadership.  Two years ago in January 2013 Cisco bought mobile network software company Intucell for $475 million and sold its Linksys division to Belkin.  The biggest dollar value deal was AT&T’s purchase of some of Verison Wireless’s airwaves for $1.9 Billion.  Other deals saw NCR buy video software ASTM company uGenius Technology; Canon Canada acquired long-time partner and document management company Oce Canada; NetSuite bought retail management systems company Retail Anywhere; and AVI-SPL bought Duocom-Duologik.  January 2014 was an Oracleinteresting month with a few big M&A deals.  Google was an especially busy player, selling its Motorola Mobility handset unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion but paying $3.2 billion for Nest Labs and the company also bought Bitspin.  The other big deal saw VMware pay $1.17 billion for mobile device management company AirWatch.  Other big names on the acquisition trail included Oracle who bought cloud based service delivery company Corente;  Microsoft paid a reputed $100 million for cloud based service company (seems to be a theme) Parature;  Ricoh purchased IT service company Mindshift from BestBuy; and Hootsuite bought analytics company uberVu.

Which brings us back to the present…

January 2015 in the technology business world was an interesting one, as we deal with dropping oil prices, changing currency rates and their affects, both good and bad on various industries. January did see some interesting M&A activity, a US economy that seems to just keep rebounding and a Canadian economy that seems to be slowing somewhat.

YahooOn the M&A front the biggest deal, should it materialize will impact mobile users in the UK, reducing competition, with Hutchison offering more than $14 billion for O2. Other big dollar news sees Yahoo looking like it might be remaking itself, spinning off its $40 Billion stake in Alibaba to become smaller, leaner and either buy or be bought!  The final M&A activity involving a “B” sees Telco equipment company Commscope offering $3 billion for TE Connectivities network business.

in-facebook-100x100There were also a number of very well-known companies out buying in January, and in no particular order … Amazon is paying something like $300 million (approximate) for chip designer Annapurna Labs; Expedia is buying its online travel competitor Travelocity for $200 million; Samsung is buying Brazil’s largest print company Simpress for reputedly close to $100 million; Google is chasing mobile payments company Softcard (again $100 million seems to be the ballpark); Facebook has bought Wit.ai a company that has a Siri like solution that can be embedded in other products; Dropbox is buying CloudOn a document editing and productivity tools company; Twitter is paying somewhere between $30 million and $40 million fpor Zipdial, an Indian company that does some funky marketing thing with phone hang ups (I don’t get it); and finally Microsoft made two acquisitions, startup text analytics company Equivo and in a departure from its history it bought open software company Revolution Analytics.

IBMOther companies in the news included IBM who refuted rumours that they would be laying off up to 26% of their workforce, with the explanation it would ONLY be thousands.  It appears that EMC results, caused by the strength of the dollar will result in layoffs there.  Spacex got an injection of $1 billion to help fund its projects, which just might mean supersonic train travel … bring on that Hyperloop!

Canadian Maple LeafThe US economy seems to be on fire adding more than 200,000 jobs a month, with 240,000+ in December, a growing GDP and lots of positive indicators.  Canada on te other hand thought it had added 185,000 jobs in 2014 … and had to revise that down by a third to 120,000.  Canada’s GDP was down and the unemployment rate sat at 6.7% in December.  Canada’s dependence on its resource base might be cause for concern as we move through the year, given the price of a barrel of oil.

Finally the Global Talent Competitiveness Index tells is that Canada placed 5th in the world, one place behind the US and 2 places above the UK.  Not sure how real that is … but 5th isn’t so bad in the whole world!

January certainly saw a lot of activity and if Canada can take advantage of the strength in the US economy it could bode well.  An increase in the price of oil wouldn’t go amiss either!   That has been my look at the tech news for January … Walk Fast and Smile!