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IBM, EY Launch Talent Center of Excellence, Microsoft Metaverse Shake Up, More News

June 10, 2022 Digital Workplace
Siobhan Fagan
By Siobhan Fagan

Recruitment, retention and upskilling remain pressing needs for organizations even as signs suggest the so-called Great Resignation may be waning.

A new partnership between Armonk, New York-based IBM and professional services firm EY was established to address these challenges. The new Talent Center of Excellence (COE) aims to help organizations with recruitment, employee retention and upskilling, while also transforming HR technologies to make them faster and more effective.

The companies released a joint statement explaining the Talent Center of Excellence will use AI and hybrid cloud solutions to provide organizations with talent, mobility and transformation services. Specifically, the two will pull together EY organization, workforce, mobility and HR transformation business solutions with IBM talent transformation business and hybrid cloud and AI capabilities.

This will push AI and automation into the hiring process to help clients simplify and streamline the experience. EY is testing it out itself by investing in IBM automation and intelligence technology to help it build and develop a talent acquisition strategy, create a better user experience and enable organizations to better match available skills and talent to job openings.

This is not the first time EY and IBM have worked together. In 2021, the two developed a COE for financial services. Available on IBM Cloud for Financial Services and built with Red Hat OpenShift, the hybrid cloud solutions combined IBM technology and EY teams’ experience working with financial institutions. The objective in that case was to enable business transformation, cloud migration, risk management and compliance in companies working in financial services to drive their digital transformation strategies.

At the time of the launch of the first COE in April 2021, IBM stated it saw those kinds of cloud offerings as essential to increasing cloud adoption in highly regulated industries such as financial services. At that stage, it started to offer asset performance management, carbon accounting, and workplace insights through the cloud.

The latest COE adds recruitment and employee experience elements into the mix. It also dovetails with IBM CEO Arvind Krishnan’s stated objectives of refocusing the company to optimize its technology and business expertise while re-eorienting its entire portfolio around hybrid cloud and expanding its network of business partners.

Microsoft Metaverse Leader Quits

Microsoft's metaverse ambitions took a new twist this week with the announcement of HoloLens chief Alex Kipman's departure. According to reports in Business Insider, Kipman, who had led Microsoft’s augmented reality drive, resigned after allegations of verbal and sexual harassment emerged.

While Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has yet to confirm or deny the reports, GeekWire has obtained an internal email form Microsoft Cloud boss Scott Guthrie, which reads: “We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.” Guthrie makes no reference to the allegations.

It added: “Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team’s path going forward. We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”

From a technology perspective Kipman's departure is significant in that it is precipitating a reorganization of the business, will which see the company’s Mixed Reality Hardware group integrated into the Windows & Devices organization. It is also reportedly moving its Mixed Reality Presence and Collaboration group — which houses the Mesh mixed reality platform — under Corporate Vice President Jeff Teper who leads Microsoft 365 Collaboration. 

In this respect, the email gives some indication of where Microsoft sees the metaverse going. It reads: “Creating compelling metaverse collaboration experiences — especially in Teams — is critical, and the Microsoft Mesh SDK is increasingly becoming an integral component to deliver this."

While it remains to be seen what the long-term fallout of this will be, it is a significant development for Microsoft’s plans in the metaverse — a metaverse that clearly will be geared towards the enterprise.

Apple Upgrades Email

Meanwhile from Apple this week is news that it is finally moving closer to Gmail and other email service providers with the release of a number of new features aimed at improving the user experience.

The new features will be available to macOS Ventura, iPadOS 16, and iOS 16 upon release this fall.

Announced at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2022) earlier this week, the new mail features include smart search suggestions, which surface shared content and more when you begin to search for email messages.

It also introduces the popular "unsend an email message" functionality, which provides a 10 second window to cancel a freshly sent message before it reaches the recipient’s inbox. A new scheduled send feature will allow users to specify exactly when an email should go out.

While not a huge overhaul, these do represent the first changes to the Apple email experience in quite a few years and indicate that Apple might just be listening to its users. 

Bitwave Upgrades Opens New Avenues to Web3

Austin, Texas-based Bitwave announced a number of new features that are designed to provide enterprises access to new forms of digital assets. The company provides tax and accounting software to follow transactions in the cryptocurrency world. 

The additions include three new modules, new DeFi protocols (support for online marketplaces that allow users to exchange products and services globally), as well as blockchain and exchange support.

According to the company, the platform now supports Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), Solana, and ImmutableX-based non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as well as a  new advanced accounting module with impairment and compliance-ready treatments.

In a statement about the upgrades, Bitware CEO and co-founder Pat White explained that the new accounting module is built for organizations focused on financial reporting and impairment testing, where the value of an organization's assets are rapidly tested as opposed to the typical time-intensive, manual process currently in use.

It has also added role-based access control for organizations that need to define accounting roles and responsibilities. Among the other upgrades includes support for over 10 new blockchains and exchanges.

Devo Raises $100 Million

Finally this week, cloud-native logging and security analytics firm Devo Technology announced $100 million in Series F funding. This brings the Cambridge, Mass.-based company’s valuation to $2 billion.

The funding was led by Eurazeo along with existing investor Insight Partners, Georgian, TCV, General Atlantic, Bessemer Venture Partners, Kibo Ventures. Devo has raised a total of $500 million over its 11-year history.

According to a statement from the company, Devo will use the money to expand into new verticals and geographies, particularly the public sector and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

The news comes at a time of increased awareness of cybersecurity requirements. In February, Devo announced it was designated as Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program’s (FedRAMP) “In-Process” and expects to reach full authorization in the fall of 2022.

The company also published survey results in May which found the AI skills of cybercriminals surpassed those of the enterprises installing AI to protect themselves. More than 30% of the cybersecurity pros responding to the survey admitted malicious actors were more adept at using AI to attack their organizations than they were at leveraging AI for defense.

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