Tag Archives: giant

Amazon Chime app adds dial-out, single sign-on features

Amazon Web Services has been gradually building out the features of Amazon Chime, as the tech giant struggles to attract corporate interest in the online messaging and meetings platform.

AWS added a dial-out function to the Amazon Chime app this week so that users can program the app to call a phone number at the start of a meeting. The feature will simplify the process of connecting to meeting audio for attendees who are away from their desks. 

AWS also recently announced it would integrate the Amazon Chime app with the software of Okta, a leading single sign-on vendor. Okta’s platform consolidates the username and password information of an organization’s apps so that users only have to remember one set of sign-on credentials.

Last month, AWS made it possible to conduct a Chime video meeting in Google Chrome. While all major browsers support messaging and most non-video meeting features, Chrome is the only internet client that supports Chime video conferencing. (Users can also install a desktop app.)

“I see these largely as incremental improvements that allow Amazon to better compete with the likes of Zoom, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, Cisco Webex, etc.,” said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

Businesses expect all online meetings platforms to support in-browser video conferencing at this point, while single sign-on is a must-have feature for many large organizations, Lazar said.

Amazon Chime app trails rivals as AWS seeks greater share of collaboration market

Launched in February 2017, Amazon Chime is still playing catch-up with more established online meetings platforms. Amazon has stepped up efforts to penetrate the enterprise market in recent years, including with the release of the contact center platform Amazon Connect.

Alexa for Business, an enterprise version of the vendor’s popular AI voice assistant, has the potential to gain traction in the enterprise market, said Wayne Kurtzman, analyst at IDC. The Amazon Chime app, however, is not yet on the radar of many companies, he said.

“While Alexa for Business will gain traction over time, mostly integrated with other products, Amazon has to prove that Chime will be here for the long haul, be better than competitors and be a trusted part of a custom, cloud-based IT stack,” Kurtzman said.

Amazon is not the only consumer tech giant making a play at the enterprise collaboration market. Google also recently released a team collaboration app, Hangouts Chat, and an online meetings platform, Hangouts Meet.

AWS, a $17.5 billion division of Amazon, has sought to use low and flexible pricing to attract businesses to Amazon Chime.

When Chime first launched, AWS gave customers the ability to prorate the subscription fees of individual users by activating and deactivating their licenses on demand. Later, the vendor implemented a usage-based pricing system that costs $3 every time a user hosts a meeting, for a maximum of $15 per user, per month.

In announcing usage-based pricing in March, AWS said it expected the new scheme would reduce the bills of virtually all premium customers of Amazon Chime. Nevertheless, aggressive pricing hasn’t been enough to draw attention from tech buyers.

“I rarely hear about Chime,” said Alan Lepofsky, analyst at Constellation Research, based in Cupertino, Calif. “I think Chime could have an interesting differentiation if Amazon made it very easy for developers to add voice and video features to custom applications. That would make Chime more of a competitor to Twilio than to Webex.”

At OpenText Enterprise World, security and AI take center stage

OpenText continues to invest in AI and security, as the content services giant showcased where features from recent acquisitions fit into its existing product line at its OpenText Enterprise World user conference.

The latest Pipeline podcast recaps the news and developments from Toronto, including OpenText OT2, the company’s new hybrid cloud/on-premises enterprise information management platform. The new platform brings wanted flexibility while also addressing regulatory concerns with document storage.

“OT2 simplifies for our customers how they invest and make decisions in taking some of their on-premises workflows and [porting] them into a hybrid model or SaaS model into the cloud,” said Muhi Majzoub, OpenText executive vice president of engineering and IT.

Majzoub spoke at OpenText Enterprise World 2018, which also included further updates to how OpenText plans to integrate Guidance Software’s features into its endpoint security offerings following the Guidance’s September 2017 acquisition.

Will the native AI functionality from OpenText compare and keep up? What will be the draw for new customers?
Alan Lepofskyprincipal analyst, Constellation Research

OpenText has a rich history of acquiring companies and using the inherited customer base as an additional revenue or maintenance stream, as content management workflows are often built over decades of complex legacy systems.

But it was clear at OpenText Enterprise World 2018 that the Guidance Software acquisition filled a security gap in OpenText’s offering. One of Guidance’s premier products, EnCase, seems to have useful applications for OpenText users, according to Lalith Subramanian, vice president of engineering for analytics, security and discovery at OpenText.

In addition, OpenText is expanding its reach to Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, but it’s unclear if customers will prefer OpenText offerings to others on the market or if current customers will migrate to public clouds.

“It comes down to: Will customers want to use a general AI platform like Azure, Google, IBM or AWS?” said Alan Lepofsky, principal analyst for Constellation Research. “Will the native AI functionality from OpenText compare and keep up? What will be the draw for new customers?”

Oracle HCM Cloud AI, UX, analytics unveiled at Open World 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Against the backdrop of the Oracle Open World 2017 conference, the software giant unveiled upgrades to its Oracle HCM Cloud system, adding artificial intelligence, analytics and user experience capabilities.

The announcement came as Oracle extended its concerted push into the cloud by further automating with new algorithms the Oracle HCM Cloud software-as-a-service suites.

The moves around artificial intelligence (AI) dovetail with a general progression in HR technology toward tools that make core HCM and specialized HR software, such as recruiting, more intuitive and more capable of applying advanced analytics to HR data storehouses.

The AI and user experience functionalities are part of a new release of Oracle HCM Cloud: Oracle Cloud Applications Release 13. Also included are new recruiting, workforce health and safety management and governance, risk and compliance modules.

“The latest additions to Oracle HCM Cloud incorporate simple but powerful features that enable organizations to leverage the latest innovations to anticipate and plan for the future,” Chris Leone, senior vice president, Oracle Applications Development, said in a release. “By combining innovations in artificial intelligence and user experience with major enhancements to core HR modules, we are able to help HR leaders drive digital transformation and positive business outcomes.”

HR tech analyst Holger Mueller, of Constellation Research, said the Oracle news was “more than Oracle has released in years.”

Mueller noted that Oracle added native recruiting to further integrate its HCM suite and that the company is trying to make its talent management technology work better.

“And AI is always key these days, though it’s less than I’d like to see yet,” Mueller said.

Noting additions such as for volunteering, Mueller said, “It’s good to see innovation across the portfolio.”

He also said it will be interesting to see how users of Oracle’s Taleo talent management system will react to the company’s new moves in that area.

Keeping up with innovations

Meanwhile, HR tech analyst Brian Sommer said that with the Oracle HCM Cloud play, Oracle appears to be trying to keep pace with innovations around AI and chatbots in HR recruiting software.

Now they’ve added this chatbot capability … for job candidates trying to navigate all the available positions. It’s kind of nice, but it just maintains competitive parity.
Brian Sommerfounder, TechVentive Inc.

Sommer also noted that Oracle has previously included AI components in career development and learning modules.

“So, now they’ve added this chatbot capability … for job candidates trying to navigate all the available positions,” said Sommer, founder of the tech consulting firm TechVentive Inc. “It’s kind of nice, but it just maintains competitive parity.”

Sommer said the new Oracle HCM Cloud algorithmic capabilities for HR hiring managers to help screen candidates could be a significant move, but it was unclear if Oracle had corrected for existing biases in employment data sets.

“I hope they’re going to open up the black box around the algorithms to make it incredibly transparent and make it tailorable for customers to adjust as the algorithms and the recruiting operation get more savvy,” he said.

As for the UX capabilities, Sommer said all major HR tech vendors need to revamp and upgrade user interfaces and usability to stay competitive, and Oracle appears to have met those aims with this release of Oracle HCM Cloud.

HCM part of broader outlook

As Oracle unveiled the Oracle HCM Cloud updates, Mark Hurd, the company’s CEO, said in a keynote that Oracle is responding to a rapidly changing global economy with technology accelerating and countries’ gross domestic products stagnant, but consumer spending and expectations high.

The Oracle HCM Cloud announcement came during the height of the run-up to the HR Technology conference, the biggest U.S. HR tech show, which starts Oct. 10 in Las Vegas.

Two major native HR tech vendors in the HT tech space, Ceridian and Workday, are holding their annual user conferences in the same time frame. These Oracle competitors and others traditionally also release what they consider significant product upgrades or sometimes new products at the events.

The Workday Rising 2017 conference is Oct. 9-12, overlapping with the HR Technology show. Ceridian’s Insights customer forum is Oct. 2-6.

Smaller but still influential HR tech vendors such as SmashFly and Entelo are also competing vigorously in the recruiting arena against Oracle and other HCM suite vendors, Sommer said. Some of Oracle’s moves are more of a reaction to them than to the bigger vendors, he added.

Oracle said the new release of Oracle HCM Cloud also includes new applications for:

  • recruiting, with stronger sourcing and wider recruiting capabilities;
  • workforce health and safety, management; and
  • governance, risk and compliance.

The company also said additions to existing modules include:

  • software to help employees who want to volunteer;
  • knowledge management tools to improve the Oracle HR Help Desk Cloud; and
  • a continuous employee feedback function.

Microsoft changes antivirus policy under Kaspersky pressure

Kaspersky has dropped an antitrust case against Microsoft after the operating system giant promised to change a contentious antivirus policy in future Windows updates.

Microsoft had been criticized because Windows antivirus policy had been to automatically disable third-party antivirus software in favor of Windows Defender if the antivirus software was not compatible with a Windows update.

Microsoft was warned in June by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) that such practices were illegal after Kaspersky had filed a complaint. Kaspersky also filed antitrust complaints with the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office.

In response, Microsoft announced it would “evolve” its antivirus policy in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update in order to give developers more time to make their software compatible.

Rob Lefferts, partner director for Windows Enterprise and Security at Microsoft, detailed the changes, saying Microsoft would work more closely with AV vendors, increase the time vendors have with new Windows 10 updates, and change how Windows notifies users of antivirus products expiring.

Andrei Mochola, vice president of consumer products for Kaspersky Lab, wrote in a blog post that Kaspersky is “absolutely satisfied” with the antivirus policy changes and “will be taking all necessary steps to withdraw our claims and inform all regulatory bodies that we no longer have any matters for Microsoft to address.”

Experts applaud Microsoft’s antivirus policy changes

Rob Sobers, director of inbound marketing at Varonis, said Microsoft likely learned its lessons from past antitrust cases surrounding Internet Explorer.

“With so many vendors offering AV protection, the reality is that companies and consumers are choosing the AV products that fit their needs and are not defaulting to products from Microsoft,” Sobers told SearchSecurity. “By making this decision, Microsoft is acknowledging the widespread adoption of third-party AV solutions and ultimately doing what’s best for their customers.”

Gabriel Gumbs, vice president of product strategy at STEALTHbits Technologies, the data security company based in Hawthorne, N.J., said Microsoft’s original antivirus policy wouldn’t have held up over the long term anyway.

“The impact is a positive one for enterprises, however, it is far more important for Microsoft,” Gumbs told SearchSecurity. “If enterprises do not have confidence that they could upgrade because their end-point protection software could possibly not be effective, that would have a direct impact on Microsoft’s revenue.”

Mike Shultz, CEO of Cybernance, the cyber risk governance company based in Austin, Texas, said Microsoft would have been foolish to fight in this case.

“Microsoft holds fairly substantial risk, particularly in the EU around anti-competitive measures, and they don’t need this fight right now — one that they would likely lose. It’s better to compromise and live to fight another day,” Shultz told SearchSecurity. “The implied positive relationship between Microsoft and the third-party providers can only be good for the enterprise user. The more capability and compatibility that is provided to the enterprise, the better for all.”