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In terms of IT spending in the CEMA region, manufacturing is expected to invest in new solutions over the next five years, making it one of the strongest vertical markets, with IT spending expected to rise annually by 7% across the region and by more than 8% in the Middle East. These broad numbers belie important regional differences that must be considered when developing an emerging markets strategy. Given the importance of cloud in reshaping how IT is delivered, IDC Manufacturing Insights' Martin Kuban answers key questions about how CEE and MEA differ in terms of attitudes toward cloud, legacy, systems, cloud-specific budgets, and what the future holds.

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Timing is Everything: IBM IaaS Goes Global

By Rick Villars

On January 17th IBM announced a $1.2 billion cloud expansion program to expand its worldwide footprint for IaaS and other as-a-service offerings. With IBM's earnings announcements a day later as well as its decision to sell its x86 business to Lenovo, the Softlayers acquisition last year and now this expansion take on new significance as a key part of IBM's own business transformation strategy. In this post, IDC's leading datacenter, cloud and IT financing analysts highlight some of the most important elements of the IBM's Softlayer efforts and their impact on the types of solutions IBM will be providing to customers.

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IBM's 4Q2013 earnings - which showed another quarter of disappointing revenue growth - have observers wondering: what's happening at IBM? Will they be able to successfully reorient around the emerging, high-growth "3rd Platform" IT, built on cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies and solutions, or will they become the next DEC or Wang? In this post, IDC Chief Analyst discusses a massive mobilization within IBM - one that started to accelerate 6 months ago - to position the company as a leader in this new IT era. Significantly increased investment scale, a faster pace, and a flurry of moves are underway in 2014; the question is now: how well and how quickly can IBM execute?

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IDC recently completed a research effort looking at software publishers with roots in the perpetual on-premise world that are transitioning to subscription and Cloud models. Most of these companies profess to be driven by the desire to offer customers flexibility and choice. To the software publishers, choice means that the customer can choose the deployment model and payment structure that works best for them. To the software publishers, flexibility comes naturally with this strategy: by having a variety of options, they are giving the customer the flexibility to choose. However, choice and flexibility are two very different things.

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Rogers buys Pivot

By Mark Schrutt

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Change is Constant...Even in the Cloud

By Scott Tiazkun

Regardless if you are deploying your ERP solution on premise or in the cloud, business change is a constant and not all solutions support it well. A new survey that focused on this issue illuminates how this impacts both end users and vendors.

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How To Become A Smarter Buyer of Cloud Services

By Robert Mahowald

Cloud seems to promise transparency in cost, service effectiveness, and support, but after years of interviewing buyers - from both IT and line of business roles - of software and services, I've seen firsthand how complicated and confusing it can be for them to evaluate SaaS and cloud services. Smart customers will familiarize themselves with how to read and evaluate the SLA, understand the LoL, and have good expectations about the provisions - what the customer gets back in compensation if the provider defaults on its promises.

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At this point in the IT maturity cycle, many government organizations realize the positive aspects of cloud models to address IT delivery, simplification and reduce costs. Indeed, cloud will be the answer to many government IT problems. But just as important will be the type of cloud model that government organizations deploy to realize the promised savings as well as avoid potential pitfalls down the road.

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We hear a lot these days about the new era of the "empowered customer," with customer experience becoming a key driver of business value. I may be biased given the lens through which I look at the world, but I believe that pricing is a key contributor in shaping both value perception and customer experience. However, in the technology industry, and in software in particular, executives do not pay nearly enough attention to the impacts of their own pricing policies on customers' overall experiences. Customers should stop accepting this.

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On June 27th, we hosted a one hour webinar that was a condensed version of the Cloud Leadership Forum Workshop. Here is a link to the replay for all those who missed out and would like to learn more about IDC's Cloud Decision Framework Tool.

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