5 Technology Observations: 28 April 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, updates, gossip, chatter, and free bits to start your day for Tuesday, April 28, 2015. 

Actually, today's update involves nine items.

9. You vs. the Robots: How can you retain your job as robots move into the workplace? A new report called Creativity vs. Robots describes how creative folks may stand the test of time as droids, drones and machine-to-machine (M2M) computing go mainstream... 

8. Changing KPIs: What are your key performance indicators (KPIs) and how often do you fine-tune them? Twitter, for instance, says its timeline view metric is going away. Wall Street had closely tracked that metric to measure Twitter user engagement. But over time, it sounds like the KPI became less relevant and sometimes was misleading. As we continue to build out After Nines, we hope to pinpoint a few KPIs that you should be using for your business. Hmmm... Stay tuned.

7. Join Me: Several surprise guests will join Mike Elgan and me for Tech News Today at 1pm ET/10am PT. Tune into the live netcast for the latest chatter about today's tech news -- particularly on the consumer front.

6. Cloud Consulting: Just yesterday, I mentioned that SaaS business models are starting to resemble classic enterprise software models -- with more consulting, hand-holding and enterprise support arriving in the market. Now comes word that Oracle and Accenture have formed a joint cloud consulting group to help customers embrace on-demand applications, platforms and infrastructure. Accenture and Oracle previously built a reference platform to drive customer performance. And last week, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd vowed to have 95 percent of Oracle's offerings available via the cloud by October 2015.

5. Microsoft Build: The big Microsoft developer conference starts tomorrow (April 29). Some pundits are focused on Windows 10, but I'd much rather hear about the Azure cloud as a developer platform -- especially for big data applications. After all, Azure is the fastest-growing public cloud -- though Amazon remains the largest player. And yes, Azure will be in the spotlight at Build...

4. Amazon's Other Business Effort: By now you surely know Amazon Web Services has operating profits and is growing fast. But keep an eye on another effort called Amazon Business. It sounds like an alternative to Staples.com and other e-commerce websites specifically designed for business customers rather than consumers. Amazon Business will replace Amazon Supply in mid-May, the Wall Street Journal reported. The move comes only a few weeks after Walmarts' Sam's Club introduced new small business services (item 6, April 23, 2015).

3. More Proof of a Tech Startup Bubble: Real estate values have skyrocketed in Silicon Valley, and tech expansion has overrun the area. I keep getting the feeling that many of today's cloud and social media startups resemble the dot-com plays of 2001 or so...

2. Next Podcast: Join me tonight for podcast Episode 34, featuring Huddle CEO Morten Brogger describing how the collaboration company will leverage $51 million in Series D funding. The podcast will debut at 9:01 pm ET/6:01 pm PT and will also be available on demand over the long haul.

1. Remote Monitoring - What's Next?: I get asked that question all the time. Perhaps part of the answer involves SensorSuite, a Toronto-based startup that blends remote monitoring, data collection and the Internet of Things. The company just raised an undisclosed sum. We'll be back later this week with more insights on this.

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