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Read Like An Analyst: AI Fever, Cloud Consolidation & Life Without Slack

Sean Campbell
Authored bySean Campbell
Isa Gautschi
Authored byIsabel Gautschi

Apparently, developing an artificial intelligence is really hard.

  • Despite being late to the game with artificial intelligence, Facebook is now one of the foremost contributors to AI research. Facebook is dedicating 70 percent of its hours to future research and only 30 percent to near-term development.
  • Google is no longer satisfied with having only a small group of engineers with machine learning knowledge. Instead, Google is creating an army of AI engineers by training employees throughout the company to become “Machine Learning Ninjas”.
  • Despite the hype around AI, it is important to remember where exactly the technology stands today. Roger Schank, very pointedly, reminds us that AI still has its limitations. For instance, Watson just doesn’t get the 60s or Bob Dylan.

Is Slack the only startup anyone talks about these days?

  • Y Combinator has seen an 850 percent (that is not a typo) increase in applications mentioning Slack but only a 172 percent increase in IoT applications. Has Slack become the standard for thinking about startup technologies?
  • Speaking of Slack, what happens when an entire office decides to stop using it for an entire week? One employee at Motherboard puts it bluntly, “With the exception of working with people remotely, I can’t tell you a single problem that Slack solves.”

A storm is brewing in the cloud.

  • It has been rumored for some time that the cloud software industry will begin to consolidate. Vista Equity’s purchase of Marketo  could be the spark to light the fire.
  • The cloud now goes well beyond software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service. Here is the quick guide to the emerging “as-a-service” offerings.

The Sales Cycle is far from static.

  • Mike Baker is blunt, “SaaS sales is changing”. Customers understand the product before they even contact a sales team. SaaS sales reps do not have to explain the product, but must now become experts in showing the product in a POC or demo.
  • “… (T)he consumer-focused side of the technology industry is creating ever more disruptive advances that enterprises are simply required to face more quickly to maintain their relevancy in the market,” writes Dion Hinchcliffe in an article highlighting “The Enterprise Technologies to Watch in 2016.”

Tech Vendors are never too big to adapt.

  • “You don’t hear “Intel Inside” too often these days,” writes Sam Byford. While giving up on mobile, Intel feels that their growth depends heavily on the cloud and IoT.
  • Timothy Prickett Morgan breaks down HPE’s profitability across its business units and the company’s likely next steps after its most recent spinoff.
  • SAP was eating some humble pie at SapphireNow with CEO Bill McDermott acknowledging that the company had not been responding well to customer feedback. In writing about it, Vinnie Mirchandani sounds less forgiving than jaded.
  • In quarterly earnings calls, Yahoo only really started mentioning mobile and smartphone technologies in 2012, three years after the first android release and five years after the first iPhone.

With great data comes great responsibility.

  • Recent research on OkCupid and Facebook profiles has caused fierce kickback by the academic community. This brings up the ethical considerations companies and researchers must consider when conducting big data analysis and research.
  • Kennedy Elliot has aggregated 39 studies on how humans best view and interpret different visualizations, from pie charts to 3D objects.
  • “While we are doing primarily batch processing in Hadoop, Spark will enable more real-time interactions with Machine Learning, as well as streaming functionality,” says Comcast’s lead big data engineer.

The Read Like an Analyst (RLA) roundup is curated by Cascade Insights analysts Philippe Boutros, Colleen Clancy, Jacob Dittmer, Sheila Johel, Harrison May, CEO Sean Campbell, and President & CTO Scott Swigart. It is written by Harrison, edited by Marketing Assistant Isabel Gautschi, and Sean serves as editor-in-chief.

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