5 Tech Observations to Start Your Day 120414

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news nuggets, rumors, gossip, insights and observations to start your day for Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014.

Actually, today's update involves seven nuggets of info.

7. Getting Down to Business: I have this strange feeling you should keep a close eye on the Google for Work market today. Just sayin'. Oh, and Google isn't going completely corporate. The search giant also hopes to better serve kids. Watch out, Millennials. You could be aging out of Google's core demographic.

6. Really Cloud?: IBM has announced numerous "cloud" business wins in recent days. But if you take a closer look at the deals, you'll notice much of the revenue involves on-premises IT management, mainframe optimization and traditional IT infrastructure. Hey, it's great to see IBM winning big, long-term IT services engagements. Let's just be careful not to call everything cloud just to impress Wall Street.

5. Fluffy Big Data Forecast: Spending on Big Data solutions and services will reach $76 billion by 2020, but I'm wary of the forecast from SNS Research. The forecast includes all the underlying hardware (servers, storage, etc.) that Big Data installs require. But that's a bit like including highways, bridges and tunnels in a car market forecast. Also, you don't really know if all that underlying hardware spending will be used purely for Big Data apps, or shared across multiple apps. Still, I think we can all agree the Big Data market remains in double-digit growth mode. The big challenge: Getting smaller businesses and I.T. entrepreneurs to cash in, too.

4. End of Noncompete: Several Skype veterans have launched Wire, a mobile messaging app that may compete against Skype in some ways. That's the trouble with entrepreneurs. Microsoft keeps buying their companies... only to wind up competing with the entrepreneurs after they move onto new ventures down the road. Then again, that very process has fueled Silicon Valley innovation for roughly 50 years. Gotta love it.

3. Key Performance Indicator Victory: What if you could boost your average sale by 70 percent -- basically winning larger contracts each time you engage a new customer? That's exactly what SugarCRM did in its Q3 2014 vs Q2 2014. CEO Larry Augustin described the strategy to me yesterday -- and there are plenty of tips for I.T. entrepreneurs trying to get their sales teams focused on the right customers. We'll publish a podcast with Augustin soon at www.AfterNines.com/CEO. Stay tuned.

2. Analytics Simplified: Business intelligence and analytics platforms can be overwhelming, especially for small businesses that lack in-house data experts. But this nifty guide from Forbes shows you four Google Analytics reports you should set up to run every week. At the least, this is a good exercise to get you thinking about your web KPIs. At the best, this will get one of your team members more familiar with the world of analytics -- and the implications for your business.

1. Conspiracy Theory: Earlier this week I mentioned that physicist Stephen Hawking predicted artificial intelligence will destroy humanity. Now comes a movie poster and teaser trailer promoting Arnold Schwarzenegger's next Terminator movie. Maybe Hawkins' premonition had more to do with Arnold's movie career -- and less to do with humanity -- going down in flames.

Subscribe: Want to receive our blog headlines in your inbox each business day? Then subscribe to our enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.