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|Articles - May 2014|
|Monday, April 28, 2014|
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Puppet Labs, which Kersten left Google to join in 2011, has emerged as a leader among Oregon businesses making those resources more effective. Last year the firm more than doubled its Portland-based staff, along with its sales, as companies like Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America and REI put Puppet Labs’ software to use. Puppet Labs’ products automate tasks such as configuring new servers, implementing software updates and many other repetitive IT duties that can eat up a system administrator’s time and limit how fast a digital product can deploy. For many clients, Kersten says, it has created efficiencies that cut the timeline for launching new applications from a year or more to mere days or weeks.
That kind of automation will become increasingly critical to manage the crush of information created online every day. Cisco has forecast that global data-center traffic will triple between 2012 and 2017, when cloud applications are expected to represent two-thirds of that activity.
The ongoing migration of IT tasks to the cloud will raise its own set of challenges for managers, says Mat Ellis, founder of Portland startup Cloudability. He offers up an analogy: a vertically integrated pencil manufacturer that transitioned from ownership of graphite mines and sawmills to a company that purchases its raw materials on the open market and works with dozens of suppliers to handle everything outside the final-product assembly. As with outsourcing physical tasks, companies that turn to online businesses for IT services will have to develop new ways to integrate vendors, monitor costs and ensure quality.
“A new set of tools and processes have to bubble up, and it’s very similar to the challenges businesses had when they stopped owning every part of their supply chain,” he says. Ellis, a U.K. native, recounts how he moved to the Portland area during the recession to be closer to his wife’s family after the arrival of their second child. He started consulting to pay the bills and discovered that his large clients had only a loose grasp of where their spending for Amazon AWS and other cloud providers went. That prompted him to write a cost-tracking program that would become Cloudability, which Ellis says reveals efficiencies that frequently cut users’ cloud spending by one-fifth or more.
In the three years since Cloudability formed, the startup has grown to 27 employees, raised about $10 million in capital and now monitors nearly $1 billion in spending on behalf of its customers. That rapid expansion happened, in part, thanks to Ellis’ own use of the cloud to grow.
“It’s easier than ever to start up a company. This is my fifth one, and on the previous four we had to go spend $1 million to $2 million to get into a data center,” he says. “Now you can just plug in a credit card and pay $0.80 an hour.”
Other cloud-centered companies in Oregon include Elemental Technologies, which lets media outlets such as the BBC and ESPN process video streams in the cloud before they’re delivered to viewers. Portland also hosts most of the research and development team for San Francisco-based New Relic, which enables real-time performance monitoring and business analytics for app developers. It quadrupled the size of its office space downtown in 2012.
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Live, Work, Play: Catching up with Chris Johnson.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Will community banks survive the digital age? Three CEOs peer into banking's crystal ball.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan
Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.
Thursday, April 09, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR
Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.
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A new report highlights how Oregon bankers are giving back to their communities.
Since 1932 Tidewater Transportation & Terminals (operating as Tidewater Barge Lines and Tidewater Terminal Company) has operated a multicommodity transportation and terminal company based in Vancouver, Washington. The friendly expression on the company’s shipping containers reflects the attitude of about 330 safety and community-conscious employees but belies how complicated the barge business really is.
The Port of The Dalles has run marine facilities since the 1930s, but they are part of a larger mission to strengthen the local economy. They focus on regional economic development with a strong bent toward adding good-paying jobs in high tech, manufacturing and other industries.
Providing attendees with unique taste of the Northwest Reception.
CFM Strategic Communications turns 25 this year and is celebrating with a revamped website, special events for firm alumni and clients, a special-label wine and a list of 25 stories about its client work over the past quarter century.
The Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.