Monday, April 14, 2014

Workday sees opportunity for cloud financial management in Europe

When browsing through the news headlines of computer weekly, came across a very interesting article regarding cloud computing and it’s persistent integration to various daily practices. As cloud computing technology continues to progress, every day there is more and more news of bigger companies using cloud computing as a means to increase efficiency and productivity, and as a result major companies overseas in Europe are taking advantage. Workday, a cloud service company, has just announced that they plan to change the way they look at financial tasks by competitively offering entirely cloud based financial and accounting software.

Chano Fernandez, the president for Workday in Europe, says that there is huge opportunity to expand it’s financial management technology on a global scale, saying it has twice the sizeable market as their main human resources market. Although this is noted as a breakthrough, many industry analysts are weary of the company’s actions, and whether their future will actually be as bright as it may seem. Workday, as the article states is a very young company, and since it’s founding in 2005 truly made their success from nothing. As apparent as their future success may be, many executives are still skeptical because even though they have made a competitive name for themselves, companies like SAP and Oracle have much larger customer bases, experience in the market, and of course company recognition.

“Workday is still on the journey of internationalizing their business. Compared with the size of the overall business, it is still a teenager in Europe in terms of maturity,” said Wilson. It’s clear that Workday has really taken the spotlight as far as found attention as they plan to internationalize their cloud financial software, it just seems more realistic for companies like Oracle, or SAP to take their idea and apply it to their current customer base, and as a result sort of piggyback off the success that Workday has tried to bring to themselves.

            Out of the few articles I read, this really stuck in my head as the most powerful one. Although my post does not do it justice, this truly is a breakthrough in technology, it’s just so newly found that we wont see it’s true success until he future when it becomes more integrated. Companies every day are pushing the limits and status quo of cloud computing, and with more advancements comes more discoveries, and these brand new advancements haven’t even reached to the US yet. Think back no more than a decade or two ago, when major financial companies would use ledgers, journals, and paper and entirely human operated financials in accounting financing and other sectors. Now in 2014, we’re seeing such advancement that numerous cloud companies are offering software to increase productivity and efficiency in the financial and HR department in these European enterprises. With that all being said it continues to blow my mind how the world of cloud computing, and the market that holds it moves forward with such great strides, most cannot keep up with the advancement.

Alibaba to Acquire Chinese Mapping Firm

            The article that I read for today’s blog reflection is called “Alibaba to Acquire Chinese Mapping Firm as Buying Spree Continues” that I found on The New York Times. The article explained how the powerful Chinese ecommerce company, The Alibaba Group, is planning on buying part of AutoNavi Holdings. AutoNavi Holdings is a Chinese company that deals with mapping and navigation. I decided to reflect on this specific article because it is good to know what is happening in the IT world internationally.
            Firstly, the article assumes that this is the final step for The Alibaba Group before their stock is listed in the United States. This automatically surprised me because I have not heard of many Chinese companies being traded in the American stock market. From this fact, I think that The Alibaba Group is in fact an extremely powerful ecommerce company.
            The specific numbers for this business buy out are extremely high. Alibaba will pay 5.25$ per share to AutoNavi Holdings stockholders. With this the company will be able to control the 72 percent of AutoNavi Holdings that they did not already own. This business deal values AutoNavi Holdings for around 1.5$ billion. This is a very big business transaction that will most definitely affect the market not only in China, but in the United States as well.
            Analysts have examined this transaction very closely, and it seems like this is a big step for The Alibaba Group. The company has been making efforts to implement new mobile offerings in China since the country has had a large surge of smartphone use. One analyst in the article explained that adding AutoNavi Holding’s services into Alibaba’s websites would allow for location specific discounts as well as gathering information on the company’s customer spending behaviors.
            The most surprising fact of the entire article was what Robin Li, CEO of a Chinese online search company called Baidu, had to say. He explained that China’s online commerce grows at around roughly 60 percent on a yearly basis, while online ecommerce in the US only grows at around 10 percent per year. In the last paragraph of the article, it also states how The Alibaba Group recently invested 280$ million in the new Silicon Valley mobile messaging app creator called Tango.
            This article was very informative in a number of ways. I was able to learn about a company that I had no prior knowledge about before reflecting on this article. It was good to learn about international companies because the world is extremely globalized today, and is still growing through international trade. Knowing how other parts of the world are implementing new IT innovations greatly helps us, since we can learn from these international companies. I look forward to seeing how other countries use IT to their advantage in business.

UMD Data Breach

Preventing data breaches is more important to your business than ever before. Headlines on a nearly daily basis include an alarming number of information leakage incidents. On March 15, 2014, the University of Maryland learned of a cyber-intrusion into its network. This was the second intrusion of the year. Working together, the University’s police and IT department, FBI, and U.S. Secret Service successfully stopped the intrusion.  The FBI was later able to inform the University that there was no public release of any data except for the social security and phone number of the University’s president, Wallace D. Loh. David Helkowski, a former contract worker for the University of Maryland said “he hacked into scores of data­bases in the school’s computer system and posted the university president’s “private information” online to draw attention to security problems.” Helkowski told the Baltimore Sun that he saw flaws in the university’s system even before the February breach. He brought up his concerns but his supervisors did not act upon his comments. He grew frustrated that his comments weren’t being taken seriously. David said, “I had to do it, because if I did not do that, they wouldn’t have acknowledged the seriousness of the problem.”
        In the news we see more and more companies getting attacked by hackers, yet do other companies do anything about their security? I do not think that many companies really understand the seriousness of cyber security and the measures that need to be implemented in order to make sure their data is protected. In the University of Maryland case, they received a warning from Mr. Helkowski but did not do anything to check their databases and security. When companies receive threats, they should always check to see everything is running smoothly and that there are no flaws in the system. Even the smallest flaw can cause a breach.  Because University of Maryland has such a large database with sensitive data they should’ve addressed Mr. Helkowski’s comments right away.
        McAfee offers several cyber security tips for companies and even universities like the University of Maryland: They believe companies should train all of their employees to use strong passwords that involve letters and characters. Companies should teach employees to and to avoid dangerous links and emails. Employees should also know where the confidential data is stored. Companies that distribute devices to employees should keep track of all the devices to prevent potential data breaches. By protecting their website, companies can reassure customers by using trust marks on their website and utilizing strong anti-virus software. They also suggest that every company have clear cyber security policies. Companies should write a concise policy that specifies device use and if no longer employed, how to dispose of secure information. Also, by screening their employees prior to hiring them, companies put themselves at less risk.
       Finally, Companies can do everything possible to try and protect their data but unfortunately in today’s technology enriched world, there will never be a theft/fraud free measure.

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Intensifying the Database for Flight 380

Intensifying the Database for Flight 380 

In a recent article found in Bloomberg written by Dina Bass talks about the clues that are being found about the lost Malaysia Flight on rooftop antennas. As it is a mystery to everyone still following this case, some may wonder how with all of the improved technology we have these days, how can we still not find missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Following the disappearance, “a crucial source of data came from four rooftop antennas installed by aviation enthusiasts living near the flight path. The volunteers, who host the gizmos for a Houston-based company called FlightAware, captured clues aiding the search for the plane that went missing more than a month ago.” FlightAware is a nine year old company that “mainly aggregates data from air-traffic-control organizations and airlines, but its able to fill in some holes using the trackers it distributes to anyone willing to climb on top of their houses.” “Customers plug in the blue-and-white box and put an antenna on the roof, which receives signals from transponders inside planes passing overhead.”
Data from a few aviation people was not enough to end what is now the longest search in a missing commercial flight. However, this clearly explains to the world that flight-detection systems need major tweaking. It is crazy to be able to locate a smartphone device on a map but not storing a black box inside a plane seems crazy. The device weights half a pound and is about the size of a soda can. “Bloomberg Businessweek reported that keeping logs trapped on planes is done mostly because of cost. Sending data from each flight in real time via satellite would be extremely expensive.”  FlightAware is now trying to “amass a more comprehensive database to minimize situations where its customers are left in the dark.”
There are many factors that are making this investigation a mystery, which then makes officials question every clue that they receive. It is interesting to read that commercial plane companies say it is to expensive to inset a device a GPS satellite in their planes because most trucks these days have technology with dispatch communications, logging location refrigeration, truck speed etc. If these transmitters could be used on a truck, then an airplane should include something similar. This missing flight should open the eyes to other aviation companies because this could happen to any other flight and an unexpected time. Although we live in an era where technology is extremely advanced and used in our everyday life, it is sad to know that it is still not at its best. Something like this situation should never happen. I believe that in-flight plane data and location information should be transmitted off the aircraft, in real time, by something that could never be destroyed. Although these databases are extremely complex and expensive, it is important that this data be transmitted via cloud or something that is stronger.