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Ten Ways Cloud Computing Is Revolutionizing Aerospace And Defense

Jet Above The CloudsSynchronizing new product development, supply chain, production and Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) strategies across Aerospace and Defense (A&D) manufacturers while reducing costs continues to make cloud platforms a viable option in A&D.

With sequestration having an impact on these industries from both a budget and merger & acquisition (M&A) perspective, the economics of cloud computing are becoming even more attractive. Teri Takai, CIO of the Department of Defense (DoD) published the DoD Cloud Computing Strategy in July of last year and many of its findings are reflected in the current state of cloud adoption in A&D.  She recently published the presentation DoD CIO’s 10-Point Plan for IT Modernization, which is available for download from the department’s website.  The following is a summary of key DoD IT Modernization initiatives.

It’s ironic that two industries who are highly reliant on collaboration often have the most siloed legacy systems, processes and IT infrastructures.  As one aerospace executive told me recently, the industry sees cloud computing as solution to what many call “silos of excellence” that slow down progress.  Aerospace executives also speak of security concerns, especially in the area of globally-based defense support and logistics platforms.

Greater Collaboration, Lower Costs

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Director Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins Jr. was recently interviewed by Defense News, and his comments reflect what is often heard from aerospace and defense companies as well.  He says a more enterprise-wide approach to managing information systems is needed to break down functional and service-unique barriers of the past to increase collaboration.  He’s also leading the DISA in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to attain a 20% cost reduction in his agency, relying in part on cloud computing to reduce costs.  Consolidating down to one e-mail system, virtualizing applications in a hosted environment, and moving capabilities to the cloud are integral to achieving the 20% cost reduction.  Ultimately he sees the DISA becoming a cloud service broker.

How A&D Requirements Are Turning Into A Catalyst for Greater Cloud Security

Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins’ comments reflect the concerns defense agencies and their supply chains have regarding cloud security.  He highlights the need for close coordination with the commercial, private sector cloud computing vendors to ensure the cloud security architecture requirements of the DISA are reflected in future product designs.  DISA requirements apparently outpace those available from commercial, private sector vendors.  This is encouraging, because it means A&D’s requirements are a catalyst of continued improvement in cloud computing security.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) held Aviation 2013 in Los Angeles this week where their AAIA Framework for Aviation Cybersecurity was presented. The framework shows why security is so critical to commercial and defense-related aviation in financial terms. For the A&D industry to get the full value of cloud computing, commercial cloud computing vendors have got to invest heavily in security research & development (R&D) to keep pace with this industry’s requirements.

How Cloud Computing Is Revolutionizing Aerospace And Defense

In speaking with aerospace executives and following defense-related adoption of cloud technologies, these are the top ten ways cloud computing is revolutionizing the A&D landscape:

  • De-Siloing Quality and Compliance Management across production is leading to greater supplier audit consistency and reduced compliance reporting costs.  While visiting one defense contractor, the CIO mentioned how on-premise compliance and quality management systems had become siloed over time and of limited use except for one area of production.  He explained it would cost over $700K to get the on-premise system integrated to their enterprise-wide ERP system.  Clearly having a cloud-based quality management and compliance system would avert the $700K integration cost and reduce reporting workloads.  Today this contractor manages International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) compliance with manual workflows despite having a quality management system in place.
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) has moved beyond dashboard support for smartphones and tablets to being integral for product design and managing production.  The two facets of mobility most affecting A&D include designed-in support for situational and battlefield awareness systems including Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) support and increasing reliance on mobility platforms for streamlining production data management including Computer Aided Design (CAD) design files used as part of Bill of Materials (BOM) and work instructions on the shop floor.
  • Reducing tooling costs using cloud-based platforms is accelerating.  It is common to find up to 67% of total development cost for a given commercial aerospace contract being attributable to tooling costs alone.  Cloud-based systems have been able to significantly reduce tooling time and costs by saving prior configurations and by being integral to calibrating machine tools on the production floor.
  • Higher priority being placed on virtualized applications across the DoD including data centers with cloud-ready infrastructure supporting secured applications.  The DoD is planning for a transition state that includes consolidation and virtualization of legacy applications, many of which are very costly to maintain.  The following graphic shows the planned progression the DoD anticipates in migrating their data centers to an enterprise cloud infrastructure.

  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs) realize they must become strategists and move beyond being the caretakers of legacy systems if their careers are going to survive and thrive.  Resistance to change is very strong in many A&D companies, and often the systems running production can be decades old.  CIOs and their staffs fall into a rut of being caretakers of legacy systems when what’s best for their careers is to push themselves past that role and into being strategists. CIOs confided in me that keeping legacy systems running can get pretty boring; several want a new challenge and a chance to contribute more.
  • The silent majority of cloud implementations in A&D are in highly secured vault areas and hidden from view in denied environments.  These systems are contained in secured clouds and are most often used in project management of advanced aerospace and defense engineer-to-order projects.  They also often have project-based management systems running entirely secured within a given work area.  Consortium and global-based product and program development projects are entirely managed on cloud-based systems behind multiple layers of security as well.  These are the silent majority of cloud adopters in A&D.
  • The A&D industry is losing patience with its “cylinders of excellence” as sequestration brings urgency to make collaboration pay.  Breaking down the silos that slow down collaboration, cross-project reporting and limit supply chain visibility are a high priority for many aerospace executives especially.  As one jokingly called the “cylinders of excellence” the greatest impediment to growth, others have mentioned how cloud computing applications and platforms break these down by making data locked in legacy systems available project, division and company-wide.
  • Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for cloud security are outpacing what commercial providers offer today, forcing a faster pace of innovation that benefits everyone.  Based on the comments from Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins and from the many discussions held with CIOs and CEOs of aerospace suppliers, it’s clear that many of their requirements surpass off-the-shelf cloud security platforms today.  In many cases they surpass Service Level Agreement (SLA) levels as well, requiring custom development.  This is good news for cloud computing overall as the DoD will continue to push for higher levels of security over time.   SLAs, ITAR compliance, and AS 9100 REV C. compliance are just the beginning.
  • Cloud-based consolidation of collaboration applications is the “low hanging fruit” of cost reduction in defense agencies.  As Lt. General Ronnie Hawkins said, he looks to e-mail consolidation and reliance on the cloud computing to assist with a 20% reduction in costs for DISA.  The DoD Cloud Computing strategy also mentions this as one of the key strategic objectives for the department over the long-term.
  • Automating Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) workflows using cloud-based systems that include mobility support are leading to reduction in inventory levels while service levels increase. MRO is where the majority of A&D manufacturer make their highest gross contribution margins yet also have the greatest exposure to customer churn and attrition.  Cloud-based MRO systems are being used today to enable MRO process performance gains by reducing inventories, increasing service levels, improving the design of service strategies all leading to more integrated MRO strategies corporate-wide.

Amazon Web Services Leading Cloud Infrastructure as a Service App Development

IaaS Magic QuadrantEvangelizing development on any cloud computing or enterprise platform is challenging, costly and takes a unique skill set that can educate, persuade, sell and serve developers at the same time.

The companies who excel at this exude technical prowess and as a result earn and keep trust.  For Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform providers, getting developers, both at partner companies and at enterprise customers to build applications, is a critical catalyst for future growth.

Assessing Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Providers with Inquiry Analytics  

Using the Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, 2012 published October 18, 2012 as the baseline and shown above from Rueven Cohen’s excellent post last year, the five leaders were compared using the Inquiry Analytics Statistics: Topic and Vendor Mind Share for Software, 4Q12 published March 13th of this year.  Analyzing the five leaders in the Magic Quadrant using Inquiry Analytics shows that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was 57.1% of inquiry share worldwide for application development  during the 4th quarter of 2012.

From 4th quarter 2011 to 4th quarter 2012, Amazon Web Services showed just over 10% inquiry gain against the other vendors listed as leaders in the quadrant.  Only five vendors can be compared at once using the Gartner Inquiry Analytics tool so the leaders were included in the comparison first.

cloud IaaS

A second pass through the Inquiry Analytics was done comparing Amazon Web Services to the other vendors in the quadrant.  AWS had 63.6% of inquiries in the application development category during the 4th quarter of 2012 compared to non-leader vendors in the quadrant who were listed in the Inquiry Analytics database.  It was surprising to find that a few of the vendors listed in the Cloud IaaS Magic Quadrant don’t have data available in the Inquiry Analytics Statistics: Topic and Vendor Mind Share for Software, 4Q12 indicating inquiries.  During this pass, Rackspace share of inquiries between the 4th quarter of 2011 to the 4th quarter of 2012 declined just over 5% and Dell declines approximately 2%.

Bottom line: The land grab for developers is accelerating on IaaS and will be a major factor in who establishes a long-term cloud platform for years to come.

Why Cloud Computing Is Slowly Winning The Trust War

Cloud computing Seeing skeptical CIOs agree to cloud-based pilots of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other applications is evidence of how cloud computing is slowly winning the trust war.

Further evidence can be seen from how skeptical many of these CIOs initially were, and how successful pilots led to their gradual trust.

This trust hasn’t come cheap however.

Every one of these CIOs spoken with, across a range of manufacturing companies, learned that Service Level Agreements (SLAs) aren’t sufficient to manage the areas of security, privacy and confidentiality on their own.  Cloud computing vendors have used SLAs as a means to imply security standards are met; one CIO told me he had an audit done to see if the SLA targets promised were realistic.  They weren’t and he moved on to another vendor.  That is the level of skepticism and lack of trust many CIOs initially have about the cloud today.  Add to that how much Europe doesn’t trust the cloud, and any CIO of a manufacturing or services business that has operations globally has ample reason to be skeptical about cloud computing.  The highly visible failures of Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft continues to fuel skepticism and distrust of cloud computing as well.

Despite these factors, cloud computing is slowing winning the trust war.  Here are the key take-aways from my conversations and visits with CIOs and their departments over the last two weeks:

  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) claims of security, privacy and confidentiality often only partially cover the unique needs of a given business – rarely all of them.  CIOs complained that the SLAs they were initially given for cloud pilots by vendors lacked any insight into their core business, how it operated, and how the cloud-based applications could contribute greater insight and intelligence.  Only after several revisions and additions of performance measurements tied to business strategies did these skeptical CIOs let the pilots go on.  Model contracts for defining privacy, for these CIOs, are also losing credibility.  These CIOs forced the issue of a highly specific privacy plan from vendors and got them.
  • For global cloud deployments, CIOs viewed the development a roadmap and plan for how to deal with transborder data flow restrictions and in-country compliance for data confidentiality, security and personal information protection as critical.  One manufacturing CIO is setting up a two-tier ERP system throughout Europe has to first define the global privacy regulations across each nation and province.  Depending on the European nation this could include defining the physical location, contents and specific configuration of every server used.  Germany has among the most intensive data protection rules and requirements, which further require intensive roadmap and plan development to stay in compliance.
  • The most skeptical CIOs run scenario tests of full data and record extractions during pilots.  This is a safeguard in case the relationship with the cloud provider goes badly, and also to make sure they can quickly get their data back and avert vendor lock-in.  As part of this many CIOs want to see proof that data deletion has worked correctly on the provider’s servers.
  • The most trustworthy cloud computing pilots quickly move beyond basic analytics including ROI to deliver expertise and knowledge specific to the clients’ business.  This is the most powerful dynamic of all in the victories cloud computing is having in the trust war.  When a cloud pilot moves beyond showing how it can automate a process – say payroll for example – and starts making contributions to the expertise and knowledge of a company, trust grows quickly.   At that point trust becomes an accelerator for cloud computing and the platform and applications become part of the IT strategy of a business.

Bottom line:  Trust is the greatest accelerator there is in cloud computing’s growing adoption, and that’s earned when cloud applications get beyond simple metrics to delivering insights and useful intelligence on secured platforms.

Thank you Cindy Jutras and Lisa Lincoln for your contributions and insights on this as well.

Additional Reading and References:

Demirkan, H., & Goul, M. (2013). Taking value-networks to the cloud services: Security services, semantics and service level agreements. Information Systems and eBusiness Management, 11(1), 51-91.

Khan, K. M., & Malluhi, Q. (2010). Establishing trust in cloud computing. IT Professional Magazine, 12(5), 20-27.

John C. Roberts, II , Wasim Al-Hamdani, Who can you trust in the cloud?: a review of security issues within cloud computing, Proceedings of the 2011 Information Security Curriculum Development Conference, p.15-19, September 30-October 01, 2011, Kennesaw, Georgia

Rodero-Merino, L., Vaquero, L. M., Caron, E., Muresan, A., & Desprez, F. (2012). Building safe PaaS clouds: A survey on security in multitenant software platforms. Computers & Security, 31(1), 96. Link: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/65/73/06/PDF/RR-7838.pdf

Roundup of Big Data Forecasts and Market Estimates, 2012

From the best-known companies in enterprise software to start-ups, everyone is jumping on the big data bandwagon.

The potential of big data to bring insights and intelligence into enterprises is a strong motivator, where managers are constantly looking for the competitive edge to win in their chosen  markets.  With so much potential to provide enterprises with enhanced analytics, insights and intelligence, it is understandable why this area has such high expectations – and hype – associated with it.

Given the potential big data has to reorder an enterprise and make it more competitive and profitable, it’s understandable why there are so many forecasts and market analyses being done today.  The following is a roundup of the latest big data forecasts and market estimates recently published:

  • As of last month, Gartner had received 12,000 searches over the last twelve months for the term “big data” with the pace increasing.
  • In Hype Cycle for Big Data, 2012, Gartner states that Column-Store DBMS, Cloud Computing, In-Memory Database Management Systems will be the three most transformational technologies in the next five years.  Gartner goes on to predict that Complex Event Processing, Content Analytics, Context-Enriched Services, Hybrid Cloud Computing, Information Capabilities Framework and Telematics round out the technologies the research firm considers transformational.  The Hype Cycle for Big Data is shown below:

  • Predictive modeling is gaining momentum with property and casualty (P&C) companies who are using them to support claims analysis, CRM, risk management, pricing and actuarial workflows, quoting, and underwriting. Web-based quoting systems and pricing optimization strategies are benefiting from investments in predictive modeling as well.   The Priority Matrix for Big Data, 2012 is shown below:

  • Social content is the fastest growing category of new content in the enterprise and will eventually attain 20% market penetration.   Gartner defines social content as unstructured data created, edited and published on corporate blogs, communication and collaboration platforms, in addition to external platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and a myriad of others.
  • Gartner reports that 45% as sales management teams identify sales analytics as a priority to help them understand sales performance, market conditions and opportunities.
  • Over 80% of Web Analytics solutions are delivered via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).  Gartner goes on to estimate that over 90% of the total available market for Web Analytics are already using some form of tools and that Google reported 10 million registrations for Google Analytics alone.  Google also reports 200,000 active users of their free Analytics application.  Gartner also states that the majority of the customers for these systems use two or more Web analytics applications, and less than 50% use the advanced functions including data warehousing, advanced reporting and higher-end customer segmentation features.
  • In the report Market Trends: Big Data Opportunities in Vertical Industries, the following heat map by industry shows that from a volume of data perspective, Banking and Securities, Communications, Media and Services, Government, and Manufacturing and Natural Resources have the greatest potential opportunity for Big Data.

  • Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity is available for download from the McKinsey Global Institute for free.  This is 156 page document authored by McKinsey researchers is excellent.  While it was published last year (June, 2011), if you’re following big data, download a copy as much of the research is still relevant.  McKinsey includes extensive analysis of how big data can deliver value in a manufacturing value chains for example, which is shown below:

Enterprise Software as a Service Market Forecast: The Future is Already Here – It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed

The prescient quote by William Gibson aptly describes the worldwide Software as a Service (SaaS) market today, especially in the enterprise.

Global adoption and growth of SaaS within enterprises is unevenly distributed yet growing rapidly.  One of the primary catalysts moving this forward are Amazon Web Services, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce and other platform providers lowering the barriers to creating new applications, continually investing in security technologies, and streamlining rapid prototyping, testing, and release of SaaS applications.

This week Salesforce showed how extensive the momentum is in their global base of developers during Dreamforce ’11.  The Developer Zone had the most innovation per square foot of any venue at this conference.  Insights gained from visiting the sessions at Dreamforce, speaking with Force evangelists and tech staff, and also with attendees form the basis of the following analysis and insights.  On Friday of last week Gartner also released the report, Forecast: Software as a Service, All Regions, 2010-2015 by Sharon A. Mertz, Chad Eschinger, Tom Eid, Yanna Dharmasthira, Chris Pang, Laurie F. Wurster, Tsuyoshi Ebina, Hai Hong Swinehart, which validated several of the trends seen in the Developer Zone at Dreamforce ’11.

Forecasting the Growth of SaaS in the Enterprise, 2015

In speaking with developers, vendors and after reviewing the Gartner report, here are several insights gained that illustrate how SaaS adoption will vary by region over the next four years:

  • APIs are getting more adept at managing multi-party transactions across all platforms.  Marc Benioff and Chuck Phillips alluded to this when Infor announced Inforce this week at Dreamforce.  It was also evident in how partners in the Developer Zone were demonstrating frameworks for supporting more advanced enterprise software application development.  These included supply chain management, the ability to manage complex project plans more effectively using apps based on these APIs, and greater control over collaboration development.  Gartner published their total software revenue forecast for SaaS delivery, 2007 – 2015 back in June, and a table from that analysis is shown below.  Their forecast reflects in large part depth of REST APIs which are part of Web Services.   This table is from the report, Forecast: Software as a Service, Worldwide, 2010-2015, 1H11 Update, 22 June 2011, ID:G00213816, Sharon A. Mertz, Chad Eschinger, Tom Eid, Chris Pang, Laurie F. Wurster.
  • Graphical interface flexibility, usability options, localization, and local language support dominate EMEA concerns about SaaS.  In Dreamforce sessions attended and in the Gartner report, it’s clear Salesforce is struggling to make localization work more effectively via their programming platforms and tools in EMEA.  This came out during many of the discussions in the Developer Zone as well.  All platform providers are facing this challenge, yet the pace of new API enhancements shows significant potential.  As a result the forecast for SaaS revenue in Western Europe is forecasted to be $2.66B in 2011 growing to $4.8B in 2015, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% according to Gartner.
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is aggressively pushed by Salesforce in the U.S. yet is most effective in EMEA.  This became evident in discussions and presentations, and also was validated by the recent Gartner report.  Salesforce also has extensive TCO calculators on its Force developer sites for the U.S. yet ironically they are finding they are most effective in EMEA sales cycles.
  • Based on my informal poll 20% of iPad-to-Salesforce account demos failed at Dreamforce.    Dozens of companies were hyping their iPad clients at Dreamforce, yet I found nearly one in five failed to deliver reliable performance. While the sample is hardly scientific, it does show that the iPad to Salesforce integration so heavily hyped by so many vendors is still nascent.  It’s as if these companies invested so much on iPad clients they ran out of time to make the back-end integrations work reliably.  Gartner found that lack of integration is the single greatest inhibitor to SaaS growth in North America.
  • Ease of speed and deployment, limited capital expense, and lower TCO are the most critical factors driving SaaS growth in U.S. enterprises today.  This became evident from listening to customer testimonials during the many vendor sessions in Moscone West, in addition to discussions with developers.  The impact of these factors is also evident in the total software revenue forecast for SaaS delivery within enterprise application software markets by region, 2008 – 2015.   This is from the Gartner report, Forecast: Software as a Service, All Regions, 2010-2015. Sharon A. Mertz, Chad Eschinger, Tom Eid, Yanna Dharmasthira, Chris Pang, Laurie F. Wurster, Tsuyoshi Ebina, Hai Hong Swinehart.

  • CRM continues to dominate SaaS usage across all enterprise applications, closely followed by Web conferencing and e-learning in North America and Northern Europe.  Both North America and Northern Europe have comparable adoption trends regarding these SaaS applications, with Western and Southern Europe lagging in terms of adoption and spending.
  • Asia/Pacific continues to be the most fragmented of all regions when it comes to SaaS adoption in the enterprise.  Countries with greater stability of their Internet infrastructures including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are experiencing greater SaaS growth, and also contributing to Salesforce’s success in these regions.  Salesforce has 14.5% CRM share in this region, third behind SAP and Oracle. Emerging countries are the most rapid adopters of SaaS-based accounting, e-mail and collaboration-based apps.
  • China, India and Malaysia are experiencing the most rapid adoption of SaaS-based enterprise applications in the Asia/Pacific region.  WiPro’s decision to invest so heavily in Dreamforce as a promotional event is a case in point.  The Developer Zone had  several companies from this region offering their programming and system integration services as well.

Bottom line: SaaS adoption continues to accelerate globally across enterprise software, growing from $12B in 2011 to $21B in 2015, achieving a 16.3% CAGR annually. Platform providers are knocking down the barriers to market growth by using events including Dreamforce to educate, entertain and enable developers to quickly turn concepts into applications.

The Cloud Computing Mind Map

It’s an excellent overview of how vendors delivering Cloud operating systems, storage, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Configuration Management are organized. The overview of Cloud Computing benefits, barriers and characteristics is also excellent, as is the project-based definitions, Cloud stack, types of clouds and deployment models.

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The Dunbar Number and Value Propositions: Time to Separate the Two

The optimal or maximum group of friends any person can keep up with is 150, or to be precise, 147.8, according to Dr. Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford. He has further stated that language is the means of “social grooming” which conjures up an image you would expect from an anthropologist, namely one of reciprocity and mutual support through contact.

Popularized by best selling books including one of my favorite, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make A Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell and vocal discussions by Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and others, the Dunbar Number continues to be either assailed as irrelevant or praised as the truth.

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Effectively and Securely Using the Cloud Computing Paradigm – Excellent Presentation from the NIST

Peter Mell and Tim Grance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) put together one of the best presentations I’ve seen recently and it’s available below from Slideshare. The NIST is one of the non-regulatory agencies that are part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and concentrates on measurement science, standards and technology to enhance economic security.

The presentation is broken down into Part 1 which focuses on the effective and secure use of Cloud Computing, with Part 2 concentrating on Cloud Computing resources, Case Studies and Security Models. The ultimate compliment of any presentation’s concepts and content are that it gets adopted into vendors’ presentations, and it’s been happening often to this specific deck.

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Free Webinar from Stanford University on Cloud Computing Scheduled for March 30th

Bottom line: The goal of these webinars is often to recruit students for certificate and degree programs, so the content often over-the-top in terms of quality. It’s definitely worth checking out if you are interested in cloud computing.

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Lessons Learned From Early Adopters of Web Software Apps

There are an outstanding series of videos sponsored by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. One in particular is outstanding in the area of early adopter’s contributions to a start-up trying to sell software over the Internet. It features Eric Ries, co-founder and CTO of IMVU, best-selling author and board member for several companies.

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