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TECHNOLOGY

Developer Community Key to Powering Workplace Innovation

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Developer Community Key to Powering Workplace Innovation

Workday DevCon 2023 showcased the power of partnerships, AI and ML, and community in driving workplace innovation.

My degree in international business and MBA in finance did not teach me how to code.

I was an accountant for a tech company during the early days of my career and that meant learning to program on my own. My desk looked like a reference librarian’s with two-inch-thick product guides and technical manuals perched on my desk. I was lucky. I had great mentors (thank you, David, for patiently teaching me to design top performing applications!) and something else unique to many developers: endless curiosity. 

Thankfully, today is different (except for the curiosity part), in part due to companies like Workday.

Workday champions its developer community much like David invested in me. Recently, hundreds of developers gathered at Workday DevCon 2023 in beautiful San Jose, California. It was mentorship at scale.

As one would expect, Workday broke some big news like the availability of App Builder — Workday’s no-/low-code tool to collaboratively, quickly, and easily build Workday Extend Apps on the web as well as GraphAPI, which leverages GraphQL technology to provide a single pane of glass for developers to discover and access Workday data. 

The event, however, went far beyond the technology stack. Let’s take a look at DevCon through the lens of three critical power centers: partnerships, AI and ML, and community.

The Power of Partnerships

Matthew Grippo, vice president of cloud platform at Workday, joined Scott Rosecrans, vice president of applications sales and strategic business development at Amazon Web Services (AWS), discussing the partnership between AWS and Workday.

The two companies have been allies for over a decade, building a partnership from a joint go-to-market perspective in the US, EMEA, and APJ. Now, AWS and Workday Extend have collaborated to create a native integration from Workday Extend to AWS, enabling developers to easily and securely leverage AWS platform capabilities in their Workday Extend apps. “AWS is excited about the growing global partnership with Workday,” shared Rosecrans. “The integrations we’ve developed with the Workday Extend team will help to both enhance the developer experience and accelerate innovation. We’re looking forward to continuing to co-innovate with Workday to develop new solutions that help our customers solve their business challenges.”

Developers competed in DevCon’s Hackathon, using the best of Workday and AWS’s AI and ML, storage and event-processing capabilities with storage and event-processing AWS AI services, AWS Lambda, Amazon S3, and Amazon EventBridge. Besides awarding prizes to the best and brightest, the Hackathon harnessed the power of developer collaboration and design thinking while underscoring the importance of “why.” 

When developers connect value to customers through what they do, they see the value of responsible artificial intelligence (AI) and their impact on the workforce more clearly. Development is not just coding and technical training. The work developers do make a difference. Tech solutions impact every part of an organization: HR, finance, marketing, sales and more. 

Think of it this way. If you engage people to build a ship, you don’t want to talk about the effort to build the ship. You want to show the builders that once the ship is built, everyone can cross the ocean and thrive on the other side. 

And on that other side is exactly where we find the best of workplace innovation where real-world problems get solved, efficiency is optimized, and user experience is enjoyable.

The Power of AI and ML

Workday’s co-CEO and chairman Aneel Bhusri kicked off the conference with Workday’s co-president, Sayan Chakraborty. They explored how AI and machine learning (ML) is changing the way work gets done. The power of AI and ML hits a high note on delivering strategic business results by allowing AI to handle more tedious tasks. In fact, Workday is opening up its platform ML capabilities in the form of APIs for developers that can be used in the applications they build to accelerate their business. Workday’s history in AI and ML technology is nothing new. The company has long taken a platform-first approach, accelerating the capabilities of what ML engineers and developers can build.

Updates on ML capabilities through the Workday platform include:

  • 13 new ML APIs through an early adopter program to accelerate business through developers’ work. 

  • The skills extract API, which helps developers extract relevant skills from text.

  • Document intelligence, which leverages Workday’s curated ML models to help users extract business relevant fields from business documents like supplier invoices, receipts, and generic documents.

  • The release of ML Forecaster for more intelligent forecasting.

There was a lot of buzz on how developers would create with these new apps, which illustrates an important point: DevCon is a rare gem among conferences. 

Tech leaders and business leaders need to talk. DevCon invites them to speak the same language, create with ingenuity, and understand each other’s worlds. Having tech and business leaders in one room is long overdue. As Workday’s fastest growing event—doubling in size since last year—developers who attended DevCon had the opportunity to explore new possibilities for innovation through in-depth sessions on capabilities like Workday ExtendWorkday Prism AnalyticsWorkday Adaptive Planning, and Workday Journeys.

Bridging the gap enables developers to see the outcome of their efforts, not just the input of their efforts.

With HR and finance driving the work of many developers, large language models (LLMs) are one technique to solve problems. then demonstrated how the use of LLMs can be applied in Workday with Workday Prism Analytics. “With Prism, IT can bring in third-party data, combine it with Workday data, apply machine learning, and produce unique and powerful applications based on the output,” shared Chakraborty. 

The Power of Community

A community allows people to visualize how to do things faster and to learn from one other. This ecosystem inspires learning, networking, extending capabilities and imagination. 

Carl Eschenbach, co-CEO at Workday, talked about scaling businesses and helping customers navigate digital transformation in a conversation with Jay Wieczorkowski, Sr. director of cloud platform product management at Workday. Eschenbach, who comes with a deep understanding of Workday due to his board experience and close friendship with fellow co-CEO Bhusri, drew a straight line to culture and values, and emphasized the critical need for speed and agility across the company. 

Eschenbach discussed the need to innovate and move faster than ever before, with businesses moving from best of breed to best of platform. This creates opportunities for developers to tailor Workday for their needs.

He called developers “the drivers for the next chapter of growth for both Workday and their own businesses.” The developer community, he said, is key to readying companies for whatever changes come their way.

What Makes Workday’s Developer Community Different

One takeaway from DevCon is that workplace innovation is being redefined. With an aging workforce and rapidly changing technology and business models, modern organizations will rely more and more on internal skills to thrive.

Workday’s focus on developers is not a one-time event. Jim Stratton, Workday’s Chief Technology Officer, took the stage with Shane Luke, Vice President, AI and Machine Learning and Dave Sohigian, Global CTO. The three tech executives discussed their dedication to be expanding the range of features available to the developer community through the Workday Platform. Three areas Workday is committing to in the future are:

●  Embedded AI and ML

●  Platform interoperability

●  No/low-code development

By prioritizing these areas, Workday gives developers an opportunity to drive the innovative workplace. Luke said Workday approaches AI and ML technologies differently by focusing on data quality rather than just quantity and the use of federated learning. He shared Workday’s commitment to trustworthy AI and ML, ensuring transparency and ethical treatment. 

Tap into Workday’s free resources page with more than 2,000 videos, articles, demos, ebooks, webinars and more on a range of workplace innovation topics and solutions. And, if you haven’t already, put DevCon 2024 on your calendar. It could be the one event that amps up your power centers as the future of work unfolds.

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TECHNOLOGY

Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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TECHNOLOGY

HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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TECHNOLOGY

Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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