By Scott Carey

SAP CEO Bill McDermott appears to be readying the company to lock horns with the cloud CRM incumbent Salesforce with a new product launch in June

SAP is preparing to launch a new cloud CRM product at its upcoming Sapphire event in June, in a bid to overtake the current market leader Salesforce.

Speaking on an earnings call for Q1 2018 last week, SAP CEO Bill McDermott fired the first shots in what could become a heated war of words between the two major vendors.

“So called cloud CRM is nothing more than overpriced software running on first generation SaaS architecture,” he said. “This is probably why so many have responded so eagerly to SAP’s recent statement about a new vision for CRM. They know, change is coming, we are coming.”

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This move comes in the wake of an indirect access scandal which has seen customers like Diageo effectively punished for using Salesforce software on top of their SAP ERP systems. It also follows the recent acquisitions of Callidus Cloud and Gigya, which at the time were referenced as useful assets for SAP to enhance its customer relationship management (CRM) software offering.

Going further McDermott responded to an analyst question by stating: “Basically we are going to rebrand the whole CRM category, it́s going to be a massive movement at Sapphire and we’re going to show every customer that they can be a best run business by running SAP and no longer do they have to be relegated to an outdated sales platform with complex integration layers trying to get that data out of the ERP system.”

Continue reading at IT World

By Linda Hardesty

Last week Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet all reported strong growth in their cloud businesses. Microsoft won the quarter in terms of revenue, compared to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and followed by Alphabet́s Google Cloud.

Microsoft́s commercial cloud revenue for its fiscal third quarter of 2018 was $6 billion, increasing 58 percent year over year. As part of its commercial cloud business, its Azure cloud service revenue grew a whopping 93 percent in the quarter, compared to the same quarter the previous year.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the intelligent cloud and the intelligent-edge era is here. “We took significant steps this quarter to put this at the forefront of everything we do, realigning our entire engineering organization to accelerate innovation,” he said, according to transcripts.

During the recent quarter, Microsoft also announced Azure Sphere, which uses Linux software to power tiny chips for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The technology includes three components: a thumbnail-sized micro-controller unit, a Linux-based operating system, and a cloud-based security service.

On the earnings call with investors, Nadella said, “Wére innovating in silicon to help customers realize the promise of a connected world of devices and things. Our just-announced Azure Sphere is a first of its kind highly secure edge solution that combines chip design and IoT operating system and a cloud service to secure more than 9 billion microcontroller-powered devices entering the market each year.”

For its first quarter of 2018, Amazon reported that its AWS business generated $5.4 billion in revenue, up 49 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Brian Olsavsky, Amazońs CFO, said AWS is seeing an increased pace of new enterprise customers, and they are trying new services. “We are seeing people move more and more of their workflows to AWS and at a faster pace,” said Olsavsky. “And customers are moving databases to AWS as Aurora continues to grow at a very rapid clip.”

Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible relational database built for the cloud. AWS says it combines the performance of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.

AWS recently announced that the Aurora service is the fastest growing service in the history of the company with tens of thousands of users, a number that has increased by about two-and-a-half times in the last year.

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With cybersecurity making its way front and center across the world, major cloud companies are taking measures to ensure their own lessons learned and internal investments are available to everyone. This was evident at last yeaŕs Google Next conference, during which its announcements focused on how Google Next has begun to share its security expertise in cloud computing through new offerings. Following the conference, Google Next came out with more announcements and best practices about data loss prevention, identity controls and partnering with third party security companies. This underscores how much of a priority cybersecurity has become to major cloud companies and helping businesses rethink how they can manage their own data using the same tools that cloud platforms use to secure their own systems based on years of lessons.

Continue reading at Forbes…

Knowing that smart meters can produce an ongoing stream of data for utilities has prompted Illinois regulators to change the states outdated rules that currently discourage companies from investing in apps and software that would allow them to leverage this data. A report from the Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEE) pushes for states to consider changes that would give utility companies a financial incentive to encourage them to move to cloud computing. With smart meters becoming more and more prevalent, the potential benefits for customers and the electric grid grows as well. Danny Waggoner – one of the authors of the AEE report – says, “I think the best interest of the customer is to allow utilities to consider all of its options and equal footing.” Illinois Commerce Commission’s CEO Brien Shehan weighed in as well, saying that regulators need to “level the playing field” between hardwired software and cloud computing. He also said that “new IT models can improve the power transmission system and reduce the cost to utilities and customers.

Continue reading at Energy News…