Guy Creese

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Guy Creese
Research VP
4 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

Guy Creese is a vice president and research director for Gartner Research, within the Gartner for Technical Professionals division. He covers a range of topics at the intersection of collaboration, content management, and communications. Read Full Bio

Dreamforce 2013: Empowering Technology

by Guy Creese  |  November 19, 2013  |  3 Comments

I attended Marc Benioff’s keynote at Dreamforce this morning, and what struck me was the vibe — it wasn’t about technology per se (although plenty of that was demonstrated), but rather about empowerment via technology. The first 45 minutes of Benioff’s talk was about philanthropy and leveraging technology to help others. The Prime Minister of Haiti and Sean Penn talked about the plight of Haiti and how Salesforce technology has helped the country track funding for the earthquake recovery and ensure it’s used wisely.

After that presentation — and a round of “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News — Benioff went on to talk about “The Internet of Customers” and Salesforce 1. Salesforce 1 is a reworking of Salesforce’s many platforms to create a much more mobile-friendly development platform. At the moment, Salesforce 1 is new, and it’s difficult to understand its strengths and weaknesses. However, I saw several demos of it yesterday, and it’s clear that partners and customers have quickly used it to build user-friendly and powerful apps. Salesforce 1 also allows admins to administer the system via a smartphone (rather than a desktop PC).

In short, Salesforce is adjusting to the consumerization of IT. Trust me, the geeks are still here — the kiosk selling books on how to write to the new Salesforce 1 APIs had a long line of people. But Salesforce is also making room for business analysts to tweak this and build that via point and click. This acknowledgement that the point of technology is to empower, rather than be the center of attention, is heartening to see. Not all IT vendors understand this.

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Category: Cloud     Tags: , , ,

My Symposium One-on-One Questions for Wednesday

by Guy Creese  |  October 24, 2012  |  1 Comment

Today at Symposium, topics that end-user clients want to discuss are:

  • Tips for implementing SharePoint 2010 throughout the organization
  • Mobile strategy for Office, SharePoint/Content Management
  • E-discovery as it pertains to security in mobility
  • SharePoint deployment
  • SharePoint as a solution and what other enterprises are doing with it
  • SharePoint best practices, the roadmap, and do’s and don’ts/pitfalls to avoid when deploying the solution
  • Office 365
  • Office 365, productivity suite
  • SharePoint governance best practices
  • How to get the most out of SharePoint

These are the end-user questions. I also have two one-on-ones scheduled with vendors looking for market trends and positioning advice, for a total of 12 one-on-ones today, from 8:30 in the morning until 6:00 tonight.

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Category: Analyst Life Microsoft SharePoint     Tags:

My Symposium One-on-One Questions for Tuesday

by Guy Creese  |  October 23, 2012  |  Comments Off

Today at Symposium, topics that end-user clients want to discuss are:

  • Using SharePoint for document management and records management
  • User experience platform (UXP) evolution and SharePoint
  • Using a contract management system built on SharePoint; investigating using SharePoint for content management
  • Microsoft SharePoint and records management
  • Developing an e-government portal using SharePoint
  • What are people doing with SharePoint in terms of actual application use?
  • Thinking of expanding our Microsoft Lync deployment to include telephony
  • SharePoint

These are the end-user questions. I also have three one-on-ones scheduled with vendors looking for market trends and positioning advice, for a total of 13 one-on-ones today, from 8 in the morning until 5:30 tonight.

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Category: Analyst Life Microsoft SharePoint     Tags:

My One-on-One Questions for Monday

by Guy Creese  |  October 21, 2012  |  Comments Off

I’m currently in Orlando, FL, getting ready to participate in Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. I’ll be running a workshop and a roundtable, as well as giving a presentation on a concept called, “Content Value Optimization.”

These three events are the public side of my participation. But at a conference like Symposium, Gartner analysts spend more time talking one-on-one with clients than they do on stage. So I thought it would be interesting to list the questions that I’m going to be answering in informal half-hour dialogues with end-user clients on Monday. (Gartner calls them “One-on-Ones.”) By the way, I’ve scrubbed the questions of any indication of who is asking them, so they aren’t verbatim, but you get the idea. Items clients want to discuss are:

  • Using SharePoint as a collaboration tool; suggested roadmap
  • Microsoft’s direction/strategy for SharePoint
  • Information architecture (this one’s a bit vague)
  • Pros and cons of using SharePoint as a document management system and social collaboration tool
  • SharePoint (this falls into the “broad” category)
  • Mobile (again, pretty broad)

However, once you start talking with the client, the questions get very specific very fast. And that’s the fun part; every organization is different, and the conversations often take an unpredictable turn. The above bullet points are the starting points for our conversations; it will be interesting to see where the conversations go.

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Category: Analyst Life Microsoft SharePoint     Tags:

Office 2013 vs. Office 2010: Compare and Contrast

by Guy Creese  |  July 17, 2012  |  Comments Off

Following is a high-level comparison of Office 2013 vs. Office 2010 based on yesterday’s announcement. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather some highlights.

  • File formats: The same.
  • User interface: Office 2013 is much more tablet (touch and stylus) friendly. It’s also much cleaner: the UI is less cluttered and the chrome is gone. Besides making it easier on the eyes, this probably takes some load off of the graphics processors, making the app run faster on less powerful devices.
  • Word: Documents are saved to SkyDrive by default (assuming you’re online and signed in to your organizational account). When signed in to SkyDrive, the system remembers where you last were in the document.
  • Excel: Excel watches your actions, recognizes the pattern, and auto-completes data entry (called “Flash Fill”). It also recommends some suitable Charts and PivotTables so you can select the best one. Users can share workbooks by attaching them to an IM.
  • PowerPoint: When online, you can add pictures from services such as Facebook and Flickr without having to save them first to your local PC.
  • Outlook: Outlook now supports multiple email accounts, just like the iPad has for the past several years.
  • OneNote: Synchronous playback of notes and recordings. You can record while you’re typing, and then go back to the note and hear what was said while you were typing.
  • Office 365: In the past, Office 365 was all about business. In other words, Office 365 competed against Google Apps for Business; there was no Microsoft equivalent to the consumer-oriented Google Apps. That has changed. There’s now an “Office 365 Home Premium,” which offers software versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, and Publisher on up to five PCs and 20GB of SkyDrive storage.
  • iPad Support: Unclear. Microsoft currently offers OneNote and Lync for iOS devices. All tablet discussion today centered around Windows 8 tablets. So it’s unclear whether the strategy is (1) back to Windows first or (2) we’re writing more iPad apps but we aren’t talking about them yet.
  • Automatic Saving to SkyDrive: If you’re signed in to SkyDrive, the system saves documents to SkyDrive by default. This is true for Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Publisher.

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Category: Microsoft     Tags:

At the Office 15 Announcement

by Guy Creese  |  July 16, 2012  |  Comments Off

I’m at the announcement event for Microsoft Office 15. It’s being held at the Metreon in San Francisco. I’ll try and give a semi-running commentary of the announcement, assuming I can type fast enough, the Wi-Fi stays up, and my laptop battery lasts.

Before Steve Ballmer comes on stage they’re flashing quotes up on the screen:

  • 56% of people send their first email before they leave for the office.
  • 73% of people send their last email of the day after leaving the office.

12:00: Steve Ballmer arrives on stage.  “The flagship application from Microsoft is Microsoft Office.” “Office is a service first. It’s the first version to be designed from the get go as a service.”

Four main talking points:

  • Best on Windows 8
  • Cloud
  • Social
  • New scenarios

12:14: Kirk Koenigsbauer arrives on stage to do a demo. Walking through the Presentation mode within PowerPoint. He’s now demoing Outlook. It’s a much cleaner design. Now demoing OneNote on a Samsung tablet. Now talking about Office 365. By default, content is stored in the cloud via SkyDrive. When in reading mode, Word will resize based on the real estate of the device. Now showing SkyDrive and how it shows the last location you were at within a document. Showing the new version of SharePoint; also much cleaner. Can preview a document without leaving SharePoint. Can aggregate social feeds (e.g., LinkedIn, Yammer) into the People Card. Turns out the Skype service is the consumer analog to Lync. Showing a screen where multi-party HD video session is at the top, PowerPoint is in the middle, and OneNote is to the side.

12:48: Steve Ballmer is back to sum up. Has a slide up that says:

  • Windows 8: Touch, inking, Windows RT, OneNote/Lync
  • Cloud: SkyDrive, roaming, subscription
  • Social: Yammer, activity feeds, people card, Skype
  • New scenarios: Annotating, reading, meetings

“It’s almost a visceral response you get,” says Ballmer, talking about the interaction between Office 15 and Windows 8. Now pitching the Office 365 preview at office.com/preview.

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Category: Microsoft     Tags:

Product Evolution: From Useful Features to Visceral Delight

by Guy Creese  |  July 15, 2012  |  1 Comment

Over the years, how vendors build a high tech product has changed. In the early days (the 60s, 70s, and 80s), their strategy was, “Users will take what we give ‘em.” If you didn’t like the 80 columns and 24 rows of your green screen terminal — tough. You were lucky to even have a terminal, so you didn’t complain. Today, however, that’s changed. Broadband is ubiquitous, PCs are relatively inexpensive, and people carry multiple devices around (laptops, tablets, and smartphones). In short, utility is assumed. People now view high tech gear as a fashion accessory that offers visceral delight. It’s not enough to have a cellphone; it needs to be an iPhone 4S or whatever the latest trend is at the moment.

The company that figured this out early is Apple. Rather than piling on yet another feature, Apple reimagined a portable music player, and a smartphone, and a tablet – and made them stylish at the same time. The iPad 3 is a perfect example of this strategy. Its major feature is an extremely high resolution screen. The screen of the iPad 2 was perfectly functional; however, the screen of the iPad 3 absolutely pops, and it’s a joy to behold.

The company that was late to this “visceral delight” realization was Microsoft. Office 2010 was a perfect example of, “How do we cram more features into Office 2007 and give it a new name?” Rather than reimagining the productivity suite, Microsoft just piled on more features.

However, with the announcement of the Surface tablet, that old style view may be changing. Microsoft clearly decided it was time to sit down and reimagine how Windows 8 and tablets could work together – all in a sleek package. With the announcement of Office 15 imminent, it will be interesting to see whether Office 15 continues the Surface trend or rebuts it. Put another way, it will be interesting to see whether Office 15 is “Office Reimagined” – or “Office with More Features.”

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Category: Microsoft     Tags:

I’m Cranking Out My Four Catalyst Presentations

by Guy Creese  |  June 20, 2012  |  Comments Off

Although Gartner’s Catalyst Conference isn’t until August 20th, our presentations are due to Editing within the next several weeks. So I’m putting the finishing touches on mine. I’ll be giving four: two on my own, and two in concert with Bill Pray. The four are:

  1. How to Pick the Right Mobile File Sync Solution: This answers a question I get asked a lot: “What else can we use besides Dropbox to sync files to our mobile devices?” It draws on a report I wrote in May: “Mobile File Synchronization Evaluation Criteria.”
  2. The SaaS State of the Union and What Needs to Be Done: Basically, what are the current limitations of SaaS and what can an enterprise do about them? (The short answer is fix what you can, and live with the rest. SaaS still has a ways to go.)
  3. When SaaS Collaboration Works… and When It Breaks: Bill and I have collected quite a treasure trove of client comments along the lines of, “Gee, we thought this would work when we bought our SaaS solution — now it turns out we’re wrong.” We figured we might as well get up on stage and pass along some of those “Oops!” moments — as well as note what SaaS does well.
  4. Evaluating SaaS Collaboration Solutions: And the Winner Is…: Again, another question we get asked a lot: “Given that Google, IBM, and Microsoft all have cloud collaboration solutions, which one should we buy?” Bill and I will walk through the pluses and minuses of these three solutions.

At this point, I’m correcting the presentations based on the feedback I got during the dry runs. (In a dry run we give the presentation to our fellow analysts and have them critique it: half an hour giving the presentation, and an hour hearing comments. Although having your presentation criticized is not my idea of a high time, the comments always make it better.) I’m also writing the speaker notes. This final clean up always takes longer than I think it will. I started out this week figuring I could get all four done in two days. I’m now at the end of day three and have done only two. Oh, well. Enough for the diversion of writing a blog post — back to the grindstone.

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Category: Cloud Google IBM Microsoft SaaS     Tags:

Microsoft + Yammer = ?

by Guy Creese  |  June 15, 2012  |  2 Comments

For the past several days, rumors have been swirling around that Microsoft is about to buy Yammer. The Wall Street Journal is saying it’s a done deal, although neither Microsoft nor Yammer has made an official announcement.

If this acquisition does come to pass, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Microsoft has been very successful with SharePoint — but it’s a very different animal from Yammer. At this point, enterprises buy three levels of collaboration tools: (1) production (e.g., Documentum, Open Text), (2) purposeful (e.g., Lotus Notes, SharePoint), and (3) ad hoc (e.g., Box, Yammer). If Microsoft buys Yammer and puts it within the SharePoint division, over time it runs the risk that it will make Yammer more SharePoint-like — and thereby eventually dull the features that make it complementary to SharePoint.

Ideally, Microsoft should create a Collaboration division that contains both SharePoint and Yammer — in other words, make the product divisions subordinate to a way of working. However, Microsoft has been organized into product divisions for years, so I doubt that will come to pass. Again, it will be interesting to see if and how Microsoft + Yammer plays out….

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Category: Microsoft SharePoint Social Software     Tags:

When the Internet Is More Real Than Reality

by Guy Creese  |  June 14, 2012  |  Comments Off

I had a bureaucratic adventure today — I went to the local Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to renew my license. I’d been there two days before to pick up the paperwork, and had asked the greeter, “So what time does the Registry open?” “9 AM.”

I got there at 8:50 today, waited around with about a dozen people, and then got miffed when the doors didn’t open at 9:00. Eventually, a Registry road tester walked by and announced, “It doesn’t open until 10 on Thursdays.” In unison, about three quarters of the people said, “But that isn’t what it says on the Registry web site!” And as people strolled up later, that’s also what they said: “That isn’t what it says on the web site.” The cross-section was quite striking — a few teenagers, an oldster or two, a construction worker, some housewives, a couple of salesmen in suits, and so on. Fifteen years ago, only high tech folks would have checked the Internet — and the RMV probably didn’t have a web site. Today, virtually everyone was depending on the web to tell them when to turn up. Too bad it didn’t match reality.

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Category: Uncategorized     Tags: