Press Releases

Sinu Blog: Playing with Sand

  • Thursday

    The future of enterprise: Apple, GE look to consumer tech 

    When asked about the future of enterprise technology, the chief executives from two of America's largest companies agree that it is personalization.

    According to a recent New York Times (NYT) report, Tim Cook of Apple and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric forecast that business technology will take a lesson from consumer Internet by using data to tailor the tech experience for businesses.   

    Sinu noted in past blogs that Apple is aspiring to grow sales with new commitments to enterprise technology (see OS9: Apple eyes enterprise and Apple-IBM partnership promises new enterprise solutions).

    Cook reaffirmed that position at a recent conference for Box, an online storage and collaboration tools company: “We want to make tools to help people change the world, and that means being in the enterprise.” 

    Cook also noted that the world has changed over the past decade and "there aren't nearly as many 'consumer' and 'enterprise' products—instead, corporate and BYOD buyers just look for the best tool for the job," reported TechRepublic.

    GE's Immelt endorsed that viewpoint, reports the NYT: "Industrial companies have yet to feel the benefit of the Internet the way consumers have... We’re just getting started.”

    Google and Facebook deliver ads based on your recent Internet activity and social behavior, and iPhone tracks your location and can conveniently suggest local businesses. In the battle between privacy and convenience, personalization has won in consumer tech. GE and Apple seem to be betting that it will be the same for enterprise.

    “We can now track every jet engine separately throughout its life,” Immelt said in the NYT report, "giving each one the machine equivalent of a Facebook page, which states where it is and how it is 'feeling,' making maintenance more efficient."

    The NYT report also noted that Apple already uses personal identification and location awareness, and office apps exist today that interact with people depending on location and job status. 

    But data security remains a real concern for the majority of business owners (August 2015 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard optimism survey), and the market has responded. The Wall Street Journal reports, venture firms invested $1.2 billion in cybersecurity startups in the first half of this year.  

    Even with all the new security tech companies trying to assuage their fears, the question is whether business owners will be willing to share the amount of data needed for the type of personalization Apple and GE envision. It will likely depend heavily on where the burden of liability lies when data security breaches occur. In the meantime, business owners will continue to walk a tightrope between data security and providing employees the tools and conveniences they are used to from consumer technology.


    Sinu Can Help with the Budgeting Process


    By John Christie, co-founder & COO

     This time of year, many organizations begin budgeting for the upcoming year. Sinu offers several Business Intelligence tools and best practices to help you allocate your operating budget wisely.



    Consider Your Hardware Replacement Cycle 

    As you plan your company’s operating budget, consider the lifespan of your business devices. Consider a replacement cycle of 3 to 4 years for desktop PCs and servers, and 1 to 3 years for mobile devices. If your business is ready to commit in budget, not only in preference, for tablets and smartphones, then plan accordingly for the maintenance costs and replacement cycles.

    Use the Sinu Store as a guideline of what today’s devices cost and plan to replace 20-30% of your company’s devices yearly to ensure no device is more than 4 years old. (To access the Sinu Store, go to Sinu Support and click the STORE tab on the far right.)  

    If capital outlay is an impediment to proper lifecycle management, Sinu has several Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) offerings – with no upfront costs and no need to budget for support or replacements. (See Sinu Now Provides Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) for more information about this service.)

    Are You Using the Most Effective IT Solutions?

    Consider the cost and efficiency of the solutions you have in place today. We encourage many of our customers to rethink their IT infrastructure and software because most critical applications, including payroll and accounting software, have a cloud strategy that was not available just a few years ago. Furthermore, there are immediate benefits that most organizations can experience when adopting some of these hosted solutions; not only do you reduce the risk of data loss and disrupted service, these solutions can offer better remote access and cost savings.

    Review Available Data from Sinu’s IT Reports and Business Intelligence 

    There are several IT Reports and Business Intelligence tools that are included in the Sinu platform as part of our all-inclusive IT service. These tools are easily found on the Sinu website, just click LOGIN at the top right-hand side of the page and enter your email address and click PORTAL LOGIN. 

    These tools provide answers to many operational questions that can affect your budget:   

    • Who are my key IT vendors?
    • What computer hardware do I own?
    • What software licensing is installed on my computers?
    • What computers should I replace in the next 6 months? 

    Also on the Dashboard, you’ll see the availability of monitored systems, including your email system, web sites, and Internet connections. 

    Click on the reports tab for additional Business Intelligence. The reports page includes employee accounts reports, hardware and software inventory, maintenance reports, backup reports, IT vendor information, and your network diagram. The monitors on this page show 30 days of availability history.

    The “My Computer Replacement Plan” is another example of one of the Business Intelligence reports we offer. The report parses your hardware inventory and looks at the warranty expiration date, ship date, Operating System version and memory to make a recommendation about the machine: Retain, Replace or Update.

    We hope that these automated tools will help you visualize some of your most important IT metrics and inform your organization’s budgeting process. If you have any questions about Sinu’s Business Intelligence tools or our HaaS offerings, please contact your Relationship Manager.


    Apple Shows...To Stay Relevant, Make Tech About People

    While we used to eagerly anticipate the latest and greatest from new tech rollouts, smartphone announcements, such as Apple’s Special Event on September 9, have gone from glamorous to mundane in short order. In fact, CNET writes, “Our boredom doesn't mean Apple won't sell millions of phones, but it does mean consumers may think a little longer before shelling out cash for an iPhone 6s when their old devices are ‘good enough.’”

    Apple iPhone 6, courtesy of www.Apple.comPew Research reports that 64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, and 46% say “they couldn’t live without” their smartphone. This brings up an interesting point about service. Individuals are quickly moving away from mobile company phone contracts and toward pre-paid plans that provide them the freedom to seek out and get the best mobile deal. Traditionally, much of the phone cost was built into the cost of the contract, meaning users could pay a small up-front fee for a new phone. Without the contract, users are paying full price, often upwards of $500, for a new phone.

    While there was news at the Apple Special Event about the new 3D touch and more Apple Watch features, the real innovation may be the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program.Instead of owning your phone, you would lease it directly from Apple. Plans begin at $32.41 per month and include Apple’s warranty program, AppleCare.

    This may prove to be a game changer for mobile service providers. ZDnet reports, Apple “removes the carriers further from the customer. Anyone using the iPhone Upgrade Program has a direct hardware relationship with Apple and in a way that encourages yearly updates. That's key because the upgrade cycle has been slowing of late.”

    For years, the mobile telecommunications industry has set prices for phones and contracts, and we were tied to their contract cycle before we could upgrade or pay full price to upgrade a device. But as consumers have more buying options, the competition will help drive prices down. Pre-paid phone providers helped drive the industry toward unlimited talk and text and reasonably priced data plans. By breaking the connection between the mobile service provider and the phone consumer, the telecommunications industry is going to have to add new value to compete for customers. For Apple, it means they no longer have to negotiate exclusivity agreements with one service provider as they did with AT&T when the original iPhone launched.

    It’s interesting to see one of the most striking technological innovations from Apple is about value and service rather than hardware or software. Sinu’s philosophy has always been that “people matter, objects don’t.” Apple just took that philosophy and brought it to life in a way that could prove disruptive for the mobile telecommunications industry, increase sales for Apple, and provide better value for all of us.