Tag Archives: Ecosystem

Accelerate IoMT on FHIR with new Microsoft OSS Connector

Microsoft is expanding the ecosystem of FHIR® for developers with a new tool to securely ingest, normalize, and persist Protected Health Information (PHI) from IoMT devices in the cloud.  

Continuing our commitment to remove the barriers of interoperability in healthcare, we are excited to expand our portfolio of Open Source Software (OSS) to support the HL7 FHIR Standard (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource). The release of the new IoMT FHIR Connector for Azure is available today in GitHub.


An illustration of medical data being connected to FHIR with IoMT FHIR Connector for Azure

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is the subset of IoT devices that capture and transmit patient health data. It represents one of the largest technology revolutions changing the way we deliver healthcare, but IoMT also presents a big challenge for data management.

Data from IoMT devices is often high frequency, high volume, and requires sub-second measurements. Developers have to deal with a range of devices and schemas, from sensors worn on the body, ambient data capture devices, applications that document patient reported outcomes, and even devices that only require the patient to be within a few meters of a sensor.

Traditional healthcare providers, innovators, and even pharma and life sciences researchers are ushering in a new era of healthcare that leverages machine learning and analytics from IoMT devices. Most see a future where devices monitoring patients in their daily lives will be used as a standard approach to deliver cost savings, improve patient visibility outside of the physician’s office, and to create new insights for patient care. Yet as new IoMT apps and solutions are developed, two consistent barriers are preventing broad scalability of these solutions: interoperability of IoMT device data with the rest of the healthcare data, such as clinical or pharmaceutical records, and the security and private exchange of protected health information (PHI) from these devices in the cloud.

In the last several years, the provider ecosystem began to embrace the open source standard of FHIR as a solution for interoperability. FHIR is rapidly becoming the preferred standard for exchanging and managing healthcare information in electronic format and has been most successful in the exchange of clinical health records. We wanted to expand the ecosystem and help developers working with IoMT devices to normalize their data output in FHIR. The robust, extensible data model of FHIR standardizes the semantics of healthcare data and defines standards for exchange, so it fuels interoperability across data systems. We imagined a world where data from multiple device inputs and clinical health data sets could be quickly normalized around FHIR and work together in just minutes, without the added cost and engineering work to manage custom configurations and integration with each and every device and app interface. We wanted to deliver foundational technology that developers could trust so they could focus on innovation. And today, we’re releasing the IoMT FHIR Connector for Azure.

This OSS release opens an exciting new horizon for healthcare data management. It provides a simple tool that can empower application developers and technical professionals working with data from devices to quickly ingest and transform that data into FHIR. By connecting to the Azure API for FHIR, developers can set up a robust and secure pipeline to manage data from IoMT devices in the cloud.

The IoMT FHIR Connector for Azure enables easy deployment in minutes, so developers can begin managing IoMT data in a FHIR Server that supports the latest R4 version of FHIR:

  • Rapid provisioning for ingestion of IoMT data and connectivity to a designated FHIR Server for secure, private, and compliant persistence of PHI data in the cloud
  • Normalization and integrated mapping to transform data to the HL7 FHIR R4 Standard
  • Seamless connectivity with Azure Stream Analytics to query and refine IoMT data in real-time
  • Simplified IoMT device management and the ability to scale through Azure IoT services (including Azure IoT Hub or Azure IoT Central)
  • Secure management for PHI data in the cloud, the IoMT FHIR Connector for Azure has been developed for HIPAA, HITRUST, and GDPR compliance and in full support of requirements for protected health information (PHI)

To enhance scale and connectivity with common patient-facing platforms that collect device data, we’ve also created a FHIR HealthKit framework that works with the IoMT FHIR Connector. If patients are managing data from multiple devices through the Apple Health application, a developer can use the IoMT FHIR Connector to quickly ingest data from all of the devices through the HealthKit API and export it to their FHIR server.

Playing with FHIR
The Microsoft Health engineering team is fully backing this open source project, but like all open source, we are excited to see it grow and improve based on the community’s feedback and contributions. Next week we’ll be joining developers around the world for FHIR Dev Days in Amsterdam to play with the new IoMT FHIR Connector for Azure. Learn more about the architecture of the IoMT FHIR Connector and how to contribute to the project on our GitHub page.


FHIR® is the registered trademark of HL7 and is used with the permission of HL7

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Digital marketing partnerships key to vendors’ channel strategies

For some vendors, the key to a thriving channel ecosystem means engaging and supporting a variety of partner types, including digital marketing partnerships.

Digital marketing organizations were among the earliest firms to recognize the IT budgets for marketing shifting from the purview of customers’ IT departments to marketing executives. Vendors took note of the agencies’ influence and unique reach within customer organizations. While on the surface, digital marketing agencies didn’t appear to be direct competition for traditional channel partners, some industry watchers asserted the agencies did in fact pose a potential threat. For example, agencies working on digital initiatives with a client’s marketing department could hypothetically annex the client’s infrastructure decisions, cutting channel partners out from those deals.

Vendors, however, view their digital marketing partnerships as an important subgroup of their overall partner ecosystems that, if anything, is complementary to a traditional channel base.

Progress cites potential partner synergies

Progress Software, an application development and deployment software vendor, said it sees an opportunity for digital marketing agencies to partner up with traditional channel firms.

Progress began to pursue digital marketing partnerships following its acquisition of app development vendor Telerik in 2014, said Matthew Gharegozlou, vice president of sales at Progress. The Telerik buyout brought with it Sitefinity, a content management system, as well as digital marketing agencies that had been working with the product.

Matthew Gharegozlou, vice president of sales, Progress SoftwareMatthew Gharegozlou

“The acquisition of Telerik and Sitefinity gave us the ability to go after these relationships,” Gharegozlou said.

He noted that about 65% of Progress’ content management business is now derived from channel partners. About 80% of those partners are digital marketing agencies.

Progress’ traditional partners typically share a few traits: They work in the app development space, deal with customers’ IT departments and lack skill sets related to digital experience and digital marketing. “So far, we haven’t had any conflict” between traditional and agency partners, he said, because “the bulk of the experience needed on the digital side, our traditional partners don’t have it.”

Traditional Progress partners also usually have expertise in vertical industries, he said, adding that most are based in markets such as financial services, government, healthcare and education. “Our traditional partners are extremely knowledgeable” and have strong relationships in their vertical spaces, he said.

Because of traditional partners’ strengths, Gharegozlou said Progress looks to pair them up with digital marketing agencies for certain leads. Combining the expertise in back-end work and vertical markets with agencies’ expertise in web development and related technologies can produce compelling offerings. 

But while optimistic about these synergies, he recognized that a “full-service” digital marketing agency, which can do both the front-end and back-end work for a customer, diminishes the value that traditional partners may offer. In this sense, full-service agencies may be preferable to customers “because they can do the entire project,” he said.

Salesforce supports acquisition trend

For Salesforce, digital marketing partnerships play a critical role in advancing its marketing platform.

Stephane Viallet, vice president of global alliances, agencies, at SalesforceStephane Viallet

Salesforce has signed numerous digital marketing agencies over the last six years, spurred by several acquisitions to build out its business-to-commercial and marketing portfolio, said Stephane Viallet, vice president of global alliances, agencies, at Salesforce. Salesforce’s acquisitions have included digital marketing software company ExactTarget in 2013, as well as e-commerce provider Demandware and data management platform Krux in 2016. Viallet also cited Salesforce’s alliance with Google as a driver behind the company’s growing digital marketing agency partnerships.

“Partners, including digital marketing agencies, are the lifeblood of Salesforce, extending our platform in new and exciting ways and fueling our growth,” Viallet said in an email. He said Salesforce and its partners are pursuing opportunities created by “our ability to merge media, adtech and martech to execute on a whole new way for brands to connect with customers.”

Digital marketing organizations use Salesforce’s products such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud to offer “transformative digital experience that enable clients to meet consumer expectations,” he noted.

I think often agencies can help us get into areas of the business or with clients that we may not thoroughly be in today.
Adrianna Bustamantedirector of digital sales and alliances, Rackspace

In addition to having digital marketing and advertising skills, Viallet said Salesforce seeks partners that understand “the importance of merging data, technology and creativity” to deliver customer experience strategies.

Viallet also pointed to a trend among digital marketing organizations acquiring Salesforce practices, such as Publicis.Sapient’s 2016 buyout of Vertiba, a Gold-level Salesforce Consulting partner.

Other notable acquisitions have included the following:

  • Wunderman bought a majority stake in Salesforce consultancy Pierry Inc. in September 2017.
  • Dentsu Aegis purchased Swiss digital marketing company Blue-Infinity in January 2017.
  • MRM//McCann acquired e-commerce service provider Optaros in December 2014.

“Digital marketing agencies haven’t just built Salesforce practices around the globe organically — they’ve been acquiring them as well,” he said. “Salesforce supports these collaborations as we work to provide our partners with an edge that enables them to exceed customers’ expectations.”

Rackspace: Little overlap between the channels

Managed cloud provider Rackspace, meanwhile, looks at digital marketing partnerships differently: Traditional channel firms and digital marketing agencies can do business with the same customers without necessarily encroaching on each other’s turf.

Rackspace’s alliances with digital marketing agencies stem from its digital services practice. Launched in 2014, Rackspace Digital provides application and infrastructure hosting for web content management systems, e-commerce products, and mobile and critical application services. Adrianna Bustamante, Rackspace’s director of digital sales and alliances, noted that the company has formally developed strategic digital marketing partnerships since about 2010.

Adrianna Bustamante, director of digital sales and alliances, RackspaceAdrianna Bustamante

“I think often agencies can help us get into areas of the business or with clients that we may not thoroughly be in today,” Bustamante said.That’s partly because digital marketing organizations tend to target a customer’s marketing department — versus the IT department.

“Nowadays … your traditional agencies have to be more digitally focused. … But still their main focus is very much around the consulting, the service and the creative — potentially integration and development,” Bustamante said.

She noted that the line between digital marketing organizations and systems integrators are blurring. Digital marketing organizations now look a lot more like systems integrators, while systems integrators “look a lot more like agencies,” she said.

Rackspace works with its agency partners in reseller and referral models. The company offers enablement resources for creating “sticky engagements for their customers and successful projects,” she said, while Rackspace focuses on the back end to ensure their projects meet scale, security and compliance requirements.

“We are heavily focused on trying to … accelerate now in certain verticals and certain segments, now in midmarket and enterprise. We can form a strong partnership when the agency realizes and understands that we are that trusted partner for them,” she said.

Rackspace generally doesn’t see any tension between its traditional and digital marketing partnerships, according to Bustamante.

“There might be several partners that we might have within … a certain customer that we are working with, but they might be working on five different projects, 20 different workloads, across three different business units,” she said.

How API-based integration dissolves SaaS connectivity limits

As businesses introduce an ever-growing, complex IT ecosystem of on-premises and SaaS applications, APIs, blockchain and other technologies, how can they possibly tie them together?

For many DevOps teams, the answer is API-based integration to enable communication between applications and platforms. Integration projects, however, pose challenges in security, runtime and management.

In this Q&A, Oracle’s Vikas Anand explores industry trends that drive rapid adoption of API-based integrations. He also lays out the hybrid cloud connectivity integration challenges for DevOps teams and ways to bypass those issues.

Anand is vice president of product management for integration, process and API management cloud services at Oracle.

Which technologies and use cases drive use of API-based integration?

Vikas Anand: SaaS connectivity limitations are the No. 1 reason enterprises adopt and then expand API integration programs. When SaaS is not integrated, it quickly changes to silo as a service. Customers can only derive limited value if their SaaS system is not working well in a very heterogeneous enterprise IT environment.

Vikas Anand, vice president of integration, OracleVikas Anand

APIs power new technologies that create better experiences for customers, such as chatbots and many mobile user experiences. APIs provide information from on-premises and cloud back-end systems, such as CRM [customer relationship management] or ERP.

Those new technologies have to be integrated into the existing IT environments and then extended to customers. For example, adoption is growing in API-driven B2B technologies, which provide a nimbler transaction option than traditional EDI [enterprise data integration] [Standard] X12-based transactions. Another example is growing use of smart contracts with blockchain to do transactions in a trusted way. API integration provides the pathways for these transactions.

What problems do DevOps teams encounter in API-based integration implementation and management?

Anand: The No. 1 challenge is how to secure their APIs. APIs are exposed on the edge, and they are available for everyone to use. A thought-through security model is important. My advice is to focus on using security standards, such as OAuth. Then, you’ll be on the same security level as partners and customers.

Another challenge is documentation of how you define, build and share APIs. Look at standards such as OpenAPI [that] support moving APIs across teams and across API developers.

A third challenge is optimizing API runtime, which relates to monitoring, testing and management. This calls for preproduction work in API interface testing and validating API functionality. In operations, ensure that APIs are not only secured and protected from anomalies, but also can be scaled up as more APIs are consumed by the partners in an ever-growing hybrid environment.

Consider that APIs run not just behind the customer firewall in a data center, but also across multiple clouds and devices. At runtime, you need your APIs to be close to the back-end applications to deliver the timely response, scale and experiences customers want.

Why isn’t integration built into SaaS offerings?

Anand: SaaS only allows you to configure and customize. If you need to extend the applications, API-based integration is a lightweight alternative to legacy, on-premises ESB [enterprise service bus] integration suites.

For example, say you have a CRM application with a coding system, and you might need to have an extension of the business logic to support new discounting rules. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to configure or change the SaaS environment. The vendor will not allow you to do it, because the SaaS product would then be upgrade-unfriendly. So, in such cases, DevOps can use business process automation in alignment with API-based application integration to deliver those extensions.

In hybrid compute environments, how does the business value of APIs and API-based integration play out?

SaaS connectivity limitations are the No. 1 reason enterprises adopt and then expand API integration programs. When SaaS is not integrated, it quickly changes to silo as a service.
Vikas Anandvice president of integration, Oracle

Anand: API integration supports multichannel experiences that improve customer engagement. An example is how integration helps businesses partner with other service providers to offer new capabilities. An example is an API model that makes Uber services available on a United Airlines application.

APIs also spur revenue growth. For instance, a business’s IP [intellectual property] that lies behind firewalls can be exposed as an API to create new revenue channels. Many new-age companies, such as Airbnb and Lyft, leverage the API model to deliver revenue. Traditional companies [in] manufacturing and other [industries] are really applying this to their domain.

API-first design provides modernized back-end interfaces that speed integrations. Doing back-end integrations? You can run the APIs within the data center to integrate SaaS and on-premises applications. A good API, a well-designed API can actually reduce the cost of integration by 50%.

Which best practices do you suggest for API-based integration project success?

Anand: Developers need to transform and route data and apply process automation capabilities. To do integration efficiently, enterprises have to automate data flow, business processes and whatever repeatable, error-prone tasks IT does. This calls for support from automation models, such as robotic process automation, to create single pane of glass for analytics.

Enterprise-level application integration projects used to take a year or two. Now that SaaS applications can be deployed in a matter of months, that won’t do. Fortunately, APIs themselves are now designed so that the integrations can be done more effectively, more efficiently and with better time to market than ever before. For API integration, there are automated, prebuilt connections that can be applied. Also, automated API integrated features are available in some iPaaS offerings now and coming to others soon.

Microsoft launches Azure Location Based Services for geospatial needs across industries | Stories

Together with an ecosystem of partners, Microsoft’s cloud offers enterprise customers choice and options for using location data to solve issues such as asset location tracking, fleet management and traffic congestion

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 28, 2017 Microsoft Corp. is launching Azure Location Based Services to offer enterprise customers location capabilities. Azure Location Based Services are integrated directly into Azure, enabling enterprise customers to add Location Based Services to their existing Azure cloud solutions with the assurance that it meets Azure’s world- class standards of privacy, compliance, scalability, management and simplicity. These new location capabilities will provide cloud developers with critical geographical data to power a multitude of use cases, including Internet of Things (IoT) asset tracking, fleet management, logistics, automotive, urban planning, retail and more.

“As IoT continues to transform businesses by providing breakthrough insights and capabilities for connected assets, location is becoming an important aspect to consider,” said Sam George, director, Microsoft Azure IoT. “For instance, a department of transportation can now use Azure Location Based Services to analyze and improve traffic in congested cities, freight companies can provide improved fleet management and logistics, and all businesses can track the location of assets and be notified when their location changes.”

TomTom will supply location data on Azure Location Based Services, providing Microsoft with advanced location and mapping capabilities. Azure Location Based Services include a set of APIs that provide mapping, search, routing, traffic and time zones that will be available through Azure. Microsoft customers will benefit from high-quality location data from TomTom’s unique global community and its global partner network, whose users continually provide active and passive map and traffic data insights. Azure Location Based Services customers will benefit from contributions of hundreds of millions of connected devices worldwide.

“We chose to partner with Microsoft because it has expertise in scaling globally with enterprise customers and shares a joint vision with TomTom to make location a fundamental aspect of the cloud,” said Anders Truelsen, managing director of BU Licensing at TomTom. “Mapmaking is in TomTom’s DNA. By building on top of Microsoft’s cloud, we believe this will make our data more accessible than ever and will empower developers to use our APIs to light up mapping scenarios for both consumer and commercial customers.”

Several service providers in the mobility space have been testing Azure Location Based Services in private preview. Cubic Telecom, an Irish-based global telecommunications service provider in the IoT and automotive sectors, has built a proof of concept that uses the services to rank the effectiveness of the charging station placements and suggest new charging locations based on network hotspots using their aggregated (and anonymous) connectivity data. Fathym, a U.S.-based IoT solutions company, is using the services to help cities and government agencies visualize road weather conditions on a map and optimize for other routes if weather conditions are unsafe.

Esri, an enterprise mapping and geographic information system (GIS) technology leader, also intends to join Azure Location Based Services to provide business customers with a complete set of location data management, digital mapping and geographic analytics, provided through Esri’s ArcGIS suite and developer APIs.

“We are excited to partner with Microsoft on its Azure Location Based Services,” said Christopher Cappelli, vice president of Global Business Development and Sales, Esri. “Microsoft and Esri have been strategic partners with one another for more than 20 years and have joint customers all over the world. Our joint customers have already benefitted from incorporating their existing Esri ArcGIS systems using our GeoEvent Server with Microsoft’s Azure cloud and Azure IoT solutions. Others interested in incorporating location services into their apps and systems can also immediately take advantage of our complete array of capabilities for mapping and analytics.”

With the addition of Azure Location Based Services to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, developers and enterprises can seamlessly build location-aware solutions on Azure, leveraging the same billing, account and Azure infrastructure as all other Azure services. Currently in public preview, Azure Location Based Services will launch in calendar year 2018 and will be available globally in more than 30 languages.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777,
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IT Nation 2017: ConnectWise sets sights on a ‘connected ecosystem’

ORLANDO — ConnectWise has revealed a vision for a broad and connected ecosystem of third-party technology vendors that will plug into its PSA software.

At its IT Nation 2017 conference this week, the professional services automation (PSA) software provider discussed its push to bring a seemingly infinite variety of vendor integrations to ConnectWise partners through an upcoming Developer Kit. ConnectWise also highlighted its recent partnership with Cisco to make it easier for partners to use several Cisco technologies within its PSA software. ConnectWise currently integrates with about 200 vendors.

“The whole message [of IT Nation 2017] is really that of choices in the ecosystem, and then, ‘Let’s do more of that. Let’s connect the entire ecosystem,'” said Arnie Bellini, co-founder and CEO of ConnectWise.

Cisco integration

At last week’s Cisco Partner Summit, ConnectWise unveiled the pilot program for ConnectWise Unite, a new offering that lets Cisco partners use Cisco Spark, Meraki, Umbrella and Stealthwatch through the ConnectWise management console. In addition to Amazon Web Services, ConnectWise previously integrated with Microsoft Office 365 and Azure through its CloudConsole product, which Bellini said will be merged with Unite in the first quarter of 2018.

Cisco technologies available under Unite will eventually expand, according to Nirav Sheth, vice president of solutions, architectures and engineering for the global partner organization at Cisco. “We definitely have some cloud-managed assets that we are also exploring to continue to evolve and have more offers enabled by the Unite platform,” he said.

Additionally, ConnectWise Unite will expand with other vendors, including Google, which Bellini said “is a perfect additional integration that we think will help drive more value for Cisco.” Google and Cisco announced a partnership around hybrid cloud at the Cisco Partner Summit.

The Cisco-ConnectWise partnership serves a means for Cisco to grow its market share in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) space, Sheth said, noting that Cisco is trying to change the perception that it is a vendor focused solely on the enterprise segment. This means working more closely with ConnectWise partners such as managed services providers (MSPs) that generally target SMB customers.

Cisco and ConnectWise plan to roll out MSP University, an enablement program for Cisco value-added resellers to expand into managed services. “We have committed to working with Cisco to create an amazing university that helps get Cisco partners started down the path of managed services,” Bellini said. He added that all ConnectWise partners will have access to MSP University as well.

Integrations ahead: The Developer Kit

ConnectWise has several releases on the integration front slated for 2018, the company revealed. Among these is the Developer Kit, a tool for development teams to connect products to the ConnectWise platform. The Developer Kit has a tentative launch date for the second quarter of 2018.

“The idea on the ConnectWise Developer Kit is … [to] make every solution available to our partners and … put it in one pane of glass … so they can manage it and monitor it and bill it,” Bellini said.

Bellini noted the company has put together a $10 million fund to support the Developer Kit initiative. Using the fund, which is provided through ConnectWise Capital, ConnectWise will act as an “angel investor,” investing in ideas that further connect the ecosystem, Bellini said. ConnectWise is looking to increase that fund to $25 million, he said.

Another unique feature of the Devloper Kit is that it allows channel partners to build their own integrations and customize their own experience in the ConnectWise platform without the need of development expertise. “If you want to develop with SDKs and APIs, we still have that, but we are making it easier,” said Craig Fulton, chief product officer at ConnectWise.

Gavin Gamber, vice president of channel sales and alliances, said ecosystem expansion has become a major initiative for ConnectWise leadership, driven by partner demand. Partners “are our best gauges on where we should be heading. … That’s how a lot of these integration partners pop up.”

He added that there are virtually no limits on how large the ConnectWise ecosystem could grow. “The ecosystem is just getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” he said. With a large ecosystem of integrated partners to balance, he said there are “certainly sensitivities” pertaining to ConnectWise’s competing vendor partners, but “it all boils down to who has got the best solutions for the partner and fits their needs the best at a price that they like and is affordable.”

ConnectWise software enhancements

At the IT Nation 2017 keynote presentation, ConnectWise showcased upcoming features of the ConnectWise suite, often to the applause of conference attendees.

ConnectWise Automate, the company’s automating tool, is being moved to the web and more tightly integrated with ConnectWise Manage. New web-based functions will include a computer management function and network map feature, slated for availability in the first quarter of 2018.

ConnectWise Automate “has been a tool you need to install on a Windows machine. Now we’re taking it to the web so you can now use it from any browser,” Fulton said.

Adding to remote control functionality, ConnectWise Perspective will provide a smartphone video connection between customers and technicians, available in the second quarter of 2018. Using the feature, customers can send a live video feed from their smartphones to technicians, creating an additional layer to a partner’s service delivery capabilities. Perspective will contain features for auto-scanning barcodes, recording session time and adding workstation information into tickets, ConnectWise said.

After Fulton demonstrated Perspective onstage during his IT Nation 2017 keynote presentation, he said he was surprised by the audience response to the upcoming feature. “I wasn’t sure how that was going to go, but man, that was the biggest applause. A lot of people approached me and said … ‘Now I can see what [customers] are seeing.'”

Ceridian Dayforce HCM updates, more unveiled at Insights 2017

The Ceridian Dayforce HCM suite will become the hub of an HR tech ecosystem built around integrating outside applications with Dayforce.

Ceridian said its new Dayforce Software Partner Program, which the company expects to be ready by the end of the year, will enable customers to more easily use specialized HR applications, even if the customer is already using the Ceridian Dayforce HCM platform.

“Essentially, we’re building an ecosystem for partners, whether they be software partners or systems integrators, to be able to extend or enhance the Dayforce product,” Jim Jensen, senior vice president of global partners and alliances, told SearchHRSoftware in an interview.

Comparison to Salesforce ecosystem

Jim Jensen, CeridianJim Jensen

Jensen compared the Ceridian plan, unveiled at the company’s Insights 2017 user conference, to a nascent version of what Salesforce has developed into an expansive customer relationship management ecosystem, with hundreds of co-developers, partners and customers using the giant CRM vendor’s underlying technology.

Essentially, Ceridian will make its APIs available to partners and customers that want to extend Ceridian Dayforce HCM data across other HR tech applications. Ceridian also sees the concept as a service-oriented architecture built with the same code, Jensen said.

In addition to the partner program, Ceridian said it will have a native United Kingdom payroll system by the end of 2017; the vendor now has U.S. and Canadian payroll versions. The HCM vendor also unveiled a new learning module, Dayforce Learning, which uses content from learning management system vendor Docebo.

Specialized applications

As for the partner program, Jensen said in addition to its potential to widen Ceridian’s market reach, it will give Ceridian Dayforce HCM users the opportunity to add the applications they prefer, while remaining with Ceridian’s recruitment, onboarding, benefits and talent management tools.

He cited Cornerstone OnDemand as an example, saying customers could perhaps choose a hybrid approach by using Cornerstone’s established learning management system alongside Ceridian’s learning module. Or, users could opt for Cornerstone or another vendor’s HR subsystem.

Essentially, we’re building an ecosystem for partners, whether they be software partners or systems integrators, to be able to extend or enhance the Dayforce product.
Jim Jensensenior vice president of global partners and alliances at Ceridian

Also, Ceridian envisions the partner system partly as relieving it of the burden of building customized third-party integrations.

“We kind of have to do it new each time, and the customers [have] to pay for that,” Jensen said. “And so we thought what if we flip the model, build this platform and this ecosystem and the plumbing, and give partners the power and the tools to build, manage and administer the integration to us?”

Ceridian is planning to charge partners annual subscription rates ranging from $10,000 to $20,000, depending on the level of integration.

Jensen said Ceridian has about 25 customers signed up for the program and expects to quickly add another few dozen. “It’s moving quick,” he said.

Analyst sees Ceridian progression

Ceridian’s moves show the vendor is serious about growing strategically, said Brent Skinner, principal analyst for HCM at Boston-based Nucleus Research, who was briefed on the partner program and other new Ceridian Dayforce HCM capabilities.

“The software partner program is the next logical step for Ceridian with Dayforce,” Skinner said. “Ceridian is executing faithfully on an extremely aggressive product roadmap.”

Skinner noted that other full HCM suite vendors that are among Ceridian’s competitors already have similar programs.

“So, this is a big milestone for Ceridian,” he said.

Skinner said Ceridian’s alliance with Docebo makes Ceridian a kind of HR tech “omnivore,” able to provide its own learning technology, while also playing well with others, such as Cornerstone and Skillsoft.

As for the native U.K. payroll application, Skinner said few vendors other than ADP “are truly viable options when it comes to global payroll.”

Ceridian — which said it would soon release native payroll capabilities for Australia and other countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe — showed it is moving in that global direction, Skinner said.

Continued Growth of the Windows Phone Ecosystem

This is an exciting time to be in the technology industry! We’re seeing incredible and rapid change, from smaller and more powerful components that enable ultra-mobile devices to immersive computing and blended reality. This week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it’s all about mobility.  One of the most important capabilities for a mobile device to be always-connected in all markets is mobile broadband (MBB), or more specifically, support for 3G, 4G, LTE. We have an incredible selection of MBB Windows devices from smartphones to phablets, tablets, 2-in-1s and laptops from our partners, with the latest additions being announce this week.

Continuing the impressive growth of the Windows Phone ecosystem we are excited more partners are unveiling Windows Phone devices. In the past year we have worked with 25 partners to bring 31 Windows Phone models to market.

A broader, stronger ecosystem is good for everyone. Customers can count on a consistent Windows experience across any device, while having the ability to choose from a wide range of designs, sizes, price points, capabilities, services and solutions offered by our hardware partners.

We’re welcoming new partners with new devices on new networks with broader global coverage in every region. At MWC in particular, we’ve seen a wave of new mobile broadband devices including phones, tablets and notebooks. This is an exciting time for us and for our partners.

MS OEM World Map Partners_V4-01

Click the above image to see larger version!

Kicking off the news earlier this week, our British-based mobile partner KAZAM announced new Windows tablets and Phones. The KAZAM Thunder 450W and 450WL are their two new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones and they include Microsoft services like OneNote and OneDrive so users can sync files across devices.

Also announced ahead of MWC is the next Windows Phone from XOLO for the India market. The Win Q1000 comes with 1.2 GHz Quad Core Snapdragon Processor and 1GB RAM to ensure quick switching between favorite apps and games without any lag.

We have worked with Philippine-based Cherry Mobile on their previous Windows Phones and we are glad to see their next generation of devices that includes the 5″ Alpha Neon and 6″ Alpha View devices announced during MWC.

We also have the pleasure of working with new Windows Phone partners including K Touch, Coship and Acer.

Microsoft partnered with the Chinese mobile phone manufacturer, K-touch to release two new Windows Phones: K-touch 5757A and K-touch E8. The 4.5-inch 5757A Windows Phone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processer and supports TDD-LTE, WCDMA, EVDO, and GSM, and it will also have the FDD-LTE version to meet the international market’s needs.

Microsoft has also been working more closely with ODMs to expand the Windows device portfolio. An example of this work is Coship Mobile who unveiled its first Windows Phone 8.1 device, the BVC X1, a 4G LTE smartphone available in Europe, the United States and Asia for OEM partners. We will help facilitate connections between ODMs, OEMs and retailors to bring this device to market.

Another first and very exciting announcement comes from our long-time partner, Acer.  Today, they unveiled the Liquid M220 Windows Phone for the EMEA market. This 4-inch 233 pixels per inch (PPI) display, 5MP auto-focus main and 2MP front cameras and elegant design will come to market in April.

While smartphones and other small devices are poised to take center stage at MWC, some of our PC partners are also making big news. Today, Lenovo announced the MIIX Windows Tablets for the European market. The Lenovo IdeaPad MIIX 300 offers the extreme portability of an 8-in tablet and proves productivity can come in any size with Office applications (1 year subscription included).

Finally, we are excited to see HP reveal the new Spectre x360 and Spectre Pro x360. These devices bring the beauty of the Spectre line and the functionality of a 13.3” convertible PC together in one amazing device. When asked about the new Windows 2-in-1 device, Mike Nash, vice president, portfolio strategy and customer experience, Personal Systems at HP said, “Customers told us that for a mobile PC to truly be the center of their life, it needs to deliver exceptional quality while combining an uncompromised, powerful experience with tablet capabilities. Starting with an innovative industrial design, we worked closely with Microsoft to curate the hardware and software in the HP Spectre x360 to offer customers the versatility, quality and power they crave.”

It’s great to see the continued device innovation from our hardware partners across the Windows ecosystem. We continue to work closely with our hardware partners to design and build devices, across categories and price points that will take advantage of the new capabilities and experiences that Windows 10 will enable.

For more information on all the devices announced by Microsoft partners, see a slideshow and product images on our News Center.