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The Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2014

Job Growth2014 continues to be a year marked by the accelerating hiring cycles across nearly all cloud computing companies.

Signing bonuses of $3K to $5K for senior engineers and system design specialists are becoming common, and the cycles from screening to interviews to offers is shortening.  The job market in the cloud computing industry is leaning in favor of applicants who have a strong IT background in systems integration, legacy IT expertise, business analysis and in many positions, programming as well.

One of the most common questions and requests I receive from readers is who the best companies are to work for.  I’ve put together the following analysis based on the latest Computer Reseller News list The 100 Coolest Cloud Computing Vendors Of 2014.  

Using the CRN list as a baseline to compare the Glassdoor.com scores of the (%) of employees who would recommend this company to a friend and (%) of employees who approve of the CEO, the following analysis was completed.  You can find the original data here .  There are many companies listed on the CRN list that don’t have than many or any entries on Glassdoor and they were excluded from the rankings below.  You can find companies excluded here. If the image below is not visible in your browser, you can view the rankings here.

results

The highest rated CEOs on Glassdoor as of February 23rd include the following:

  • Jeremy Roche of FinancialForce.com (100%)
  • Robert Reid, Intacct (100%)
  • Randy Bias, Cloudscaling (100%)
  • Sridhar Vembu, Zoho (98%)
  • James M. Whitehurst, Red Hat (96%)
  • Larry Page, Google (95%)
  • Christian Chabot, Tableau Software (95%)
  • Aneel Bhusri, Workday (94%)
  • Bill McDermott & Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP (93%)
  • Marc Benioff, Salesforce (93%)
  • David Friend, Carbonite (93%)

21 Most Admired Companies Making IT A Competitive Advantage

time-and-IT-competitive-advantage1-300x215All enterprises, regardless of what they produce or the services they deliver, are really information businesses.

The accuracy, speed and precision of IT systems means the difference between winning or losing customers, keeping supply chains profitable, and solidly translating new concepts into revenue-producing products and services.  The world’s best-run services businesses have customer-driven IT as part of their DNA; it is very much who these companies are internally.

In the recently published Garter report CEO and Senior Executive Survey 2013: 21 Top Companies Admired for Competitive IT  completed between October and December, 2012, which was part of the 2013 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey, C-level respondents were asked to name the companies they most admired in terms of their ability to apply IT-related business capabilities for competitive advantage.   Respondents were also asked to limit their responses only to their own and related industries.

391 respondents participated in the survey with 147 being CEOs, 149, CFOs; 49, COOs; and 46 being board members including Chairman of the board and president.  Geographic distribution included 152 respondents from North America; 124 from Europe; 78 from Asia/Pacific; 20 from Brazil; 12 from South Africa; and 5 from the Middle East with minimum company size being $250M in annual sales or above.

The following is the list of the world’s most admired companies using IT for competitive advantage.

Most Admired Companies Making IT A Competitive Advantage

Accenture
Amazon
Apple
Cleveland Clinic
General Electric
Goldman Sachs
Google
Hospital Corporation of America
IBM
Intermountain Healthcare
JP Morgan Chase
Kaiser Permanente
Mayo Clinic
Microsoft
Nestle
Proctor & Gamble
Progressive Insurance
Schlumberger
Target
Toyota
Wells Fargo

Key Take-Aways

  • Customer-driven IT is the single most admired trait of all 21 companies in the list.  Associated with this attribute is the proven ability of these enterprises to manage complex e-commerce systems & platforms, support multichannel management, in addition to continually show the ability to innovate quickly.
  • Enterprises need to consider how the business successes their investments in  IT are enabling can be used for branding and recruitment.   Providing benchmark performance data and stories of how IT helped create entirely new markets and solve customer problems needs to be used for recruiting.  Many of the 21 companies mentioned are doing this, using success stories as a catalyst for driving recruitment efforts for analytics, cloud computing and systems integration experts.
  • Don’t underestimate the disruptive power of cloud computing and mobility to completely re-order enterprise systems quickly.  Gartner mentions that there are enterprises whose IT organizations would have made the list had they not slowed down.  While not directly stated, Gartner warns IT departments to not become complacent over time.  From personal experience working in IT departments however, it is clear that complacency is a leading career hazard.  It’s imperative for CIOs to keep challenging their organizations to stay intensely focused on new developments, seeking out how they can be used to strengthen business strategies.
  • Four of the top five factors that most impressed respondents about the admired companies are customer-related.  Customer-facing IT (15%); followed by an integrated/standardized/unified IT organization and process framework (13%); exceptional use of CRM (11%); customer-centered innovation (9%);  and product design & offerings (9%) are the most mentioned attributes of the highest-performing companies. Multiple responses were allowed to this area of the survey.  The following graphic provides an analysis of which factors most impressed the C-level executives who were respondents to the survey.

What Impressed Business Leaders Most

The Best Cloud Companies and CEOs to Work For in 2013

???????????????Hiring great people and creating a culture of achievement that is fun, focused and able to get challenging tasks done is not an easy task.

Keeping that culture strong and focused on the customer takes a unique leader that consistently earns trust and respect.  Those are the qualities I think of whenever I’m asked to recommend the best cloud computing companies to work for.  Using the scores from Glassdoor.com I’ve put together the table below comparing cloud computing companies and when available, the percentage of employees who approve of their CEO.

If you’re not familiar with Glassdoor, it’s a website that gives employees the chance to rate their companies and CEOs anonymously, along with reporting salaries.  Friends in the Human Resources community tell me it’s an effective recruitment site as well.

Cloud computing companies are sorted based on the percentage of employees would recommend their company to a friend.  I added in CEO scores to get a sense of which companies have a significant gap between morale and the perception of the CEO.  As of today according to employee rankings, Microsoft has the largest gap between percentage of employees who would recommend the company to a friend (77%) and  CEO rating (48%).

Glassdoor rankings for cloud computing

The highest rated CEOs you’d want to work for based on their Glassdoor ratings are as follows, with their ratings shown as of today:

Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics (100%)

Drew Houston, Dropbox (100%)

Aneel Bhursi, Workday (100%)

Scott Scherr, Ultimate Software (97%)

Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat (97%)

Larry Page, Google (95%)

Aaron Levie, Box (94%)

Marc Benioff, Salesforce (93%)

Tom Georgens, NetApp (92%)

Mark Templeton, Citrix Systems (91%)

Bill McDermott & Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP (90%)

How Google is Driving Mobile Video Market Growth

Google’s top advertising customers are pushing for convergence of mobile and video quickly, which is turning into a strong catalyst of growth of the global mobile video market.  With their largest advertising customers wanting greater flexibility in bringing video to mobile devices, Google will make significant strides this year to make that happen.

During their latest earnings call, Google execs said that Android, Chrome and YouTube are the highest priority areas of their business. I’ve been following the last year of earnings calls closely, and it’s clear that Google’s largest advertising customers are pushing the company to bring video to mobile at a level of performance and usability not accomplished yet.  The Q2, 2012 earnings call transcript makes this point clear which can be accessed here Google’s Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript.

 Mobile and Video: Transforming Convergence Into Cash

Over the last year, Google executives have mentioned the growth of YouTube and its quick evolution from a content management system to a profitable advertising platform.   During the Q1, 2012 earnings call held on April 12, 2012 the following points were made:

  • Google reported they had over 800 million monthly users uploading over an hour of video per second
  • U.K. mobile operator O2 used YouTube as the foundation of a brand launch that year with support for 100 new original channels completed and launched
  • Global product launch plans from GM, Toyota and Unilever and several other large advertising accounts are also underway

During the Q2, 2012 earnings call, Nikesh Arora, Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer started his comments regarding the YouTube business with the statement “I think in 2007 it was when newspapers frequently said YouTube is groping for an effective business model. I think we can declare we found our model.” Immediately after making this statement, Mr. Arora mentioned that yearly account signups have doubled year-over-year and users are uploading over 72 hours of video every minute.  He also mentioned that  “thousands of partners are making six figures and we’re proud to work with major record labels in Hollywood studios on this platform.”

The call continued with the points made of Danish advertisers shifting their television advertising dollars to YouTube and other Google branding solutions.  Additional companies mentioned on the call using YouTube-based advertising include Denon, Shire, and Intel.  Clearly these companies have major product introductions coming up and see mobile video as perfect for reaching more potential customers than ever before.

Google’s Challenge: Keep Content Quality and User Experience Constantly Improving

If Google is going to attain the full revenue potential of YouTube as an advertising platform, they’ll need to focus on the following factors:

  • Create Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) and easy-to-use programming tools for quickly creating mobile-optimized sites.  As Gartner studies have shown, video on telephones is most often used as a time-filler, with a median length of 2 minutes, 46 seconds.
  • YouTube will need to support more optimized mobile-based video browsers that can support contextual search.  This will be a core requirement for the enterprise, specifically in the areas of mobile customer care, mobile commerce and mobile health.
  • More extensive analytics in YouTube than are available today, specifically tying into to major marketing strategies including product introductions.  It is becoming common knowledge that videos improve viewer engagement and prospects attribute a more positive shopping experience when they are used.  Luxury brands are investing heavily in this technology including BMW, Burberry, Channel, Louis Vuitton and many others.
  • A Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT smartphone users study completed in April, 2011 shows that 77% of smartphone users said that their most visited site was a mobile search engine.

Mobile Video: The Market YouTube Built

The size of the worldwide mobile video market was comprised of 429 million mobile video users in 2011, projected to grow exponentially to 2.4 billion users by 2016.  Smartphones and tablet sales will contribute 440 million new mobile video users during the forecast period.  These market estimates are from the recently published Gartner report, Market Trends: Worldwide, the State of Mobile Video, 2012.

Additional take-aways from this report include the following:

  • Allot Communication’s reports that mobile streaming grew 93% in the first half of 2011; Allot also reports that the usage of YouTube’s mobile channel grew by 152% and YouTube generated 22% of all mobile video traffic in the first half of 2011.  YouTube reports getting 400 million video views a month globally.
  • Gartner reports from a survey completed in the 4th quarter of 2010 that 32% of mobile enterprise users watch short videos from YouTube and other sites optimized for video streaming.
  • The fastest growth for mobile video will be in Latin America as smartphone adoption continues to accelerate, replacing traditional cell phones in these markets.  Asia/Pacific will have the highest number of mobile video users at 541 million by 2016.  Both of these markets will benefit from low-cost smartphones being produced by contract manufacturers who are becoming the dominant production strategy of brand leaders globally. The following graphic shows the Mobile Video User Forecast by Region, Worldwide, 2008 – 2016.

  • By 2016, close to 60% of professionally developed mobile video content will be delivered via mobile-optimized websites that also have enhanced contextual search functionality included in the content management systems.
  • Mobile customer care, mobile commerce and mobile health will be the three primary industry drivers in the near-term of mobile video market, emerging as growth catalysts of this emerging market.
  • Cisco’s Visual Networking Index study reports that last year, mobile video accounted for 56% of all mobile data traffic.
  • 3G/4G connections are emerging as a powerful catalyst of mobile video growth.  Gartner is forecasting that the worldwide share of mobile video connections on 3G/4G will increase from 18% in 2011 to 43% in 2015.  In more established markets incouding North America and Western Europe, the percentage of 3G/4G connections is expected to be as high as 80% and 96% respectively.
  • Gartner projects that 70% of mobile video users will use only Wi-Fi to view mobile video, with the remainder of the market relying on a mix of cellular and Wi-Fi networks to gain access and also upload content.   The following figure shows the Mobile Video User Forecast by Network Type, Worldwide, 2008 – 2016.

Source: Market Trends: Worldwide, the State of Mobile Video, 2012. Gartner Group. Published: 10 February 2012 ID:G00223693 Author: Shalini Verma.   Link: http://www.gartner.com/id=1920315

Gartner Search Analytics Shows Spike in Platform as a Service (PaaS) Inquiries in 2011

Trends of search terms from user accounts and topics of their inquiries form the catalyst of research agendas in many IT advisory firms.  At Gartner these two factors and others like them are commonly regarded as leading indicators of future IT spending.

Gartner has been delivering short analyses of these subject areas to clients in the form of reports, with the latest being Search Analytics Trends: Platform as a Service published on June 9, 2011.  This report covers user search activity from April, 2009 to March, 2011. For purposes of the report, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is defined as cloud application infrastructure services delivered as a service.  Gartner makes the point that PaaS includes no traditional software license and is expensed on a metered or utility basis.  Presented below is the time series of searches by month from the report.

A few key take-aways emerge from the report, and they are presented below:

  • Cloud Middleware Services including Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) are still unknown to many Gartner IT user clients.  As a result this area is seen with skepticism by many of their clients.  In studies of PaaS adoption from other analysts at Gartner and Forrester, it is evident that internal software development will make or break the credibility of PaaS initiatives for the long-term.
  • When Gartner IT users search for PaaS on the website and throughout online research, the four most common secondary terms are IaaS and SaaS (7.05%), Magic Quadrant (6.12%) and cloud (5.72%).  Clearly Gartner IT user clients are looking to define their own technology stack in this area and looking for a framework of reference of where PaaS fits into their own IT plans and architectures.  The competitive intensity across the analyst community will most likely go up as a result of the uncertainty many IT buyers have over PaaS.
  • The top three vendors that Gartner IT users search for are Microsoft (18%), Amazon (13%) and Tata (11%).  Additional vendors include IBM (11%), Salesforce.com (11%), SAP (7%), Google and Oracle (4%).

Bottom line: The key to PaaS adoption in larger enterprises, many of which are IT user clients of Gartner, is how successfully Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) clarify their value proposition and how their apps add value to the platform layer.

IDC’s 2011 Predictions for the Cloud

Frank Gens, Senior Vice President & Chief Analyst for IDC, shares insights from his firm’s predictions for 2011 and beyond in the areas of cloud computing, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), public and private cloud services.

Here are a few of the many take-aways in this 5 minute video:

  • Public cloud services adoption will grow at over five times the rate of the IT industry to $29B in 2011, up 30% from 2010 reaching $55B by 2014.   E-mail and collaboration will be the foundation, and entirely new application segments will drive incremental growth.
  • Private cloud services will grow to $13B in 2011, growing much faster than public cloud.  IDC predicts that Salesforce.com and Google will partner with infrastructure providers to create private cloud appliances of their public cloud offerings.
  • 15% of industry revenue and 30% of industry growth will be from public and private cloud services in 2011.
  • Cloud management systems and solutions will embrace public and private clouds and will see Accenture, Cisco, CA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others enter this market with enterprise-ready solutions in the next year.
  • On-premise applications will go through a transformation of supporting private cloud integration, providing enterprise accounts with the option of migrating to the cloud if they choose to.
  • The term “cloud computing” as a buzzword will be gone by 2012, as these technologies are expected to become ubiquitous.

An Overview of Microsoft’s Azure Platform

The following is an excellent presentation that explains the core concepts of Microsoft's Cloud Computing strategy. Included is an overview of the Microsoft Windows Azure strategy with explanations and pricing of each component.

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Seeing Potential in the Passion to Innovate: Why SaaS Platforms May Have an Edge

Conclusion
Companies who see the potential in their employee’s passion to innovate get out of their way and give them opportunities to get involved in projects they deeply care about. Often exceptional results emerge from these efforts, leading to entirely new businesses. That’s the key take-away of the rule of 20%. For software companies delivering apps on the SaaS platform, the potential for getting immediate customer feedback is turning into an entirely new source of innovation. The speed of customer feedback possible also opens up the potential of giving employees the chance to test new concepts immediately, nurturing innovation in the process.

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Google’s Enterprise Cloud Vision Takes Shape at Atmosphere 2010

Having struggled to gain a foothold in the enterprise, Google has this year gone after this market with increased focus and intensity. Part of this increased focus on the enterprise is going to involve exclusive events where CIOs have the chance to interact with industry thought leaders. The first of several events was held Monday of this week at the Googleplex.

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Understanding the Differences between Private and Public Cloud Computing

Included is an assessment of the integration requirements by Cloud type. At just over 3 minutes it’s an excellent summary of the differences between Cloud Computing platforms and provides a useful context to understand these two concepts.

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