Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MassTLC ED Foundation receives $350,000 from Microsoft


Grant Underscores Industry Commitment to Ensuring Students have the Skills to Succeed in 21st Century Economy

BOSTON, MA – October 29, 2013 – The Mass Technology Leadership Council Education Foundation (MassTLC EF) announced today the receipt of a $350,000 grant from Microsoft to support expansion of computer science education in Massachusetts. The MassTLC EF will work with the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network (MassCAN), a coalition of educators, industry professionals, and nonprofits to help increase adoption of computer science in schools.

In Photo [Left to Right]: Senator Karen Spilka; Heather Johnson Carey, MassTLC ED Foundation; Annmarie Levins, Microsoft; Secretary Bialecki; Brian Burke, Microsoft
“Computer science skills are critical to the future of all students regardless of the path they pursue,” remarked Heather Carey, Executive Director of the MassTLC Education Foundation. “We are grateful for the investment Microsoft is making in Massachusetts and will work closely with teachers, parents, industry, and others to ensure all students have access to the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century economy.”

“Microsoft has a longstanding commitment to computer science education and we are excited to support the Education Foundation’s mission to bring CS to all kids in the Commonwealth,” said Annmarie Levins, Associate General Counsel with Microsoft.

The Ed Foundation will use the investment to accelerate its work in expanding computing education and play an active role in mobilizing industry, increasing awareness of the importance of computer science, and providing a platform for parents, teachers, students, districts and industry to find resources, share best practices and connect. Some Important Stats

  • The Bureau of Labor statistics projects in 2020 over half of all STEM jobs will require computing. 
  • Massachusetts is one of 40 states that has not adopted Computer Science Standards for K-12. 
  • In 2012 of the close to 70,000 graduating HS seniors in the state only 559 passed AP CS exam. Of those 559 students only 24 were underrepresented minorities. 
  • In most districts in Massachusetts, students who take Computer Science courses are not able to count those credits toward satisfying a math or science requirement for graduation. 

“The MassTLC Education Foundation is a vitally important partner in helping MassCAN meet its goals. We are grateful for Microsoft’s support of our collaborative efforts to advance Computing Education in Massachusetts schools”, said Jim Stanton, Executive Director, MassCAN.

“Talent remains a top challenge for Massachusetts industry”, commented Tom Hopcroft, CEO of MassTLC. “As Governor Patrick noted in his 2012 State of the Commonwealth address, we have a skills divide between the 240,000 unemployed residents and 120,000 open job requisitions. We believe that increasing students’ access to computing education will help decrease this divide and keep Massachusetts as a global leader in innovation.”

About MassTLC Education Foundation
The MassTLC Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to expand computing education in Massachusetts for all students. To learn more, get involved, and support our work, visit www.masstlcef.org or contact Executive Director Heather Carey at 617-285-9113 or heather@masstlc.org.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. For more information, visit www.microsoft.com.

About MassCAN
MassCAN is a partnership of organizations collaborating to inspire and educate Massachusetts students in computing. Partners today include nonprofits, business organizations, companies, educational institutions and organizations sponsoring and fostering collaborative systemic change. For more information, visit www.masscan.net or contact Executive Director Jim Stanton at jstanon@edc.org

About MassTLC

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC’s purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. For more information, visit www.masstlc.org


Friday, October 25, 2013

How to Select a Cloud-based Business Process Vendor

For many – especially IT managers – cloud computing can feel challenging when it comes to governance, responsibility and accountability and with possible sense of loss of control. In fact, it should be the other way round. Business and IT managers should think of themselves as the service provider. It’s one thing to say that you want to expand your business processes to the cloud. It’s another thing to do so without any regard for the business choices that can protect your business. 

In the following blog articles by Depankar Neogi, Chief Architect of QuickBase at Intuit, he breaks down the criteria one should consider when evaluating a SaaS-based application.

The business value of cloud computing, Part 1
Cloud vendor selection criteria, Part 2
Factors to consider when selectng a Cloud-based application, Part 3

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Advocating for Customer Advocates

Bob Peterson from SiriusDecisions shares the value of customer advocacy at different points of the buying cycle. View his entire presentation here.

Happy customers are your business’s best advocates, so why don’t more companies have formal customer advocacy programs? In many organizations, the culture of the company drives a customer-centric philosophy but is that enough to make the most of your customer relationships and really impact the business?

These questions and more were covered at MassTLC’s recent roundtable “Mobilizing Your Company’s Advocates to Boost B2B Sales and Marketing Efforts.” The roundtable featured a panel of experts with broad experience and perspectives on the benefits of customer advocacy and how it can impact sales and marketing.  The audience actively participated in the session providing examples of customer advocacy efforts in our organizations and asking questions such as: Who should own an advocacy program? At what stage(s) of the sales process do advocates add the most value? Are tactics such as writing case studies and having customers present on webinars or at events enough or does every company need a strategy for customer advocacy?  

Having spent much of my career in small technology companies that compete with the likes of Oracle, IBM and SAP, I can’t say enough about the importance of leveraging customers as advocates and using these advocates to complement traditional marketing and sales efforts. Research shows that buyers want to hear from their peers during their vendor evaluation journey so it’s critical for companies to know how and when these advocates can have the most impact. Many organizations have decentralized activities specific to their functional areas (sales manages sales references; marketing manages PR and speaking references) and I believe collaborating cross-functionally is critical to a successful customer advocacy program – but how you centralize the function and maintain a focus on strategy, not just tactics, are unique to every company. And just like any sales or marketing program, you need to determine KPIs and establish benchmarks so you can measure your progress and results. 

Does your organization have a formal customer advocacy program? Do you leverage tactics such as references and case studies during the sales process and, if so, do they add value to the buyer? I’d love to hear from others on the strategies and tactics you’ve used to maximize the value of customer advocates and learn more about the customer advocacy programs you’ve developed.

Rachel Weeks is director of marketing at HealthcareSource, the leading provider of talent management software for HR professionals in the healthcare industry. Rachel excels at driving marketing strategy, transforming marketing operations, and developing relationships with colleagues, clients, and strategic partners. Rachel is an active member of MassTLC and presented at the 2012 Marketing Analytics Summit. You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn.   

In addition, Influitive has shared a link to their advocate marketing playbook, chapter 1. It's 5 chapters in total and if you register here you will receive the other chapters as they are published through the Fall. 

Thanks to our speakers for joining us;  Bob Peterson, SiriusDecision for moderating the discussion, Evan Jacobs from Rapid7, Tom Wentworth from Acquia and Mark Organ from Influitive.  Thank you to Acquia for hosting the program and to our sales and marketing community sponsors: Dassault Systemes, SiriusDecisions, KnowledgeVision and ZoomInfo.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

MassTLC Cloud Summit: Practitioners Share Their Stories on the Shifting Cloud

Thanks to all the attended yesterday’s cloud summit at Bentley University.  We kicked off the morning by welcoming Ariel Tseitlin, Director of Cloud Services from Netflix to the stage.  With one of the largest users of the public cloud in the world, his story on infrastructure management and building the complex system in the cloud was compelling.  According to Ariel “it’s all about APIs, elasticity and efficiency.

Ariel also spoke about what’s coming next for Netflix - it looks like Cloud, billing and payments and big data and analytics is on the horizon.  In addition, they are running a $100K open source cloud competition designed to help build the missing piece between AWS and running your software in the cloud.  Details are here.  

Ariel’s complete presentation on the Netflix cloud can be found here

Allison Mnookin, VP and GM of Intuit QuickBase next.  Allison turned the summit from a technical cloud discussion to the business drivers behind cloud adoption.  There is a growing trend that employees are taking IT into their own hands, acting with or without IT. Allison’s complete presentation can be found here.

Michael Skok, Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners took the stage next and presented the results of the 3rd Annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey. The survey received more than 900 respondents and the results are not to be missed.  A few things the crowd picked up on:

  • Security as a cloud inhibiting concern is down 18% year over year
  • Vendor dominance is a significant issue to CIO's in going to the cloud
  • Agility and scalability continue to be the drivers behind cloud
  • A hybrid cloud approach will become more the norm because of cost, security, reliability and compliance
  • Business is driving Cloud adoption and Everything as a Service (EaaS) . 
  • And the new formation to watch for:  The Sensor Cloud
Please check out Michael Skok’s blog for key finding and the complete survey results. 

Also, there was a top 10 takeaways from the keynote presentations written by Mike Marks of Enduro Marketing that you may find useful.

The sessions continued throughout the morning.  Joe Kinsella from CloudHealth Technologies lead a great discussion with Acquia, Sonian and Pegasystems on performance and cost optimization and the tools available for managing cloud costs. We would recommend you follow CloudHealth’s blog for continued dialogue on the topic. 

Next, Brad Meiseles, Director vCloud for VMWare moderated a discuss on hybrid cloud with Jim Cuff from Constant Contact, Paul Barnill, PayPal and Craig Tracey, HubSpot.  It was interesting to hear the different models. Constant Contact's business runs primarily in the private cloud/fixed infrastructure.  This prohibits some business agility and the ability to innovate quickly which has pushed them to use some public cloud infrastructure.  Both HubSpot and PayPal run their businesses in the public cloud.  PayPal needs the elasticity of the cloud as 60% of their total business is in the last quarter of the year.  For HubSpot, it’s more about efficiency than cost.  If you care most about costs as you scale, the public cloud may not be the best option.  All agreed and it was reiterated throughout the entire event that hybrid cloud is the way of the future.

Cory von Wallenstein, Chief Technologist at DYN and Jim Salem, VP of Engineering at Endurance International shared loads of data on global cloud adoption.  From where the users are, to latency, to traffic by region by cloud provider.  It was fascinating data to review.  Take a look here.  Now that the information has been pulled together, it’s Cory intent to keep it updated.  Watch for it on the DYN research blog. 

Lastly, Jo Maitland, Sr. Researcher at GigaOm led a discussion with Mike Pearl, Global Cloud Computing Leader from PwC, Marc Caruso, CTO at Data Intensity and Tomek Kozdrowicz, VP Enterprise Architecture at Hologic on the shifting cloud landscape and the trends shaping the market. We continue to hear more about the shift to the hybrid cloud. 

Thanks again for taking the time out of your day to join us and to our event sponsors Comcast Business, Oracle, EarthLink, Internap, Digital Realty and Windstream.  Our goal is to reconvene the Cloud community soon to talk about MassTLC’s recent cloud pricing research and also that new formation that Michael briefly hit on:  the sensor cloud or the Internet of Things as it spans across many or most of MassTLC’s communities.  Hope to see you again soon!