Despite all its fancy image , at its core the mobile phone is about connecting people with other people, so they can do business, get to know each other, or enjoy entertainment together, writes the eWeek article. Some look at mobiles evolving into "social computers." Others believe that cell phones - especially when they break up the quiet of polite company with their often-jarring ringtones - are mostly just plain rude. The mobile are just wireless telephones; they're configurable, but they can't compute anything and may become a catalyst to extend the reach of people to other people, in terms of location and context. Not only are people joining fantasy sports leagues, dating services and online group-centered competitive games in record numbers, they're also signing up for "wallpaper" and ringtone clubs, camera-phone photography groups, travel-discussion groups, soft-porn groups—you name it, there's probably a company or special-interest group that will fit your personal interests. The common bond: cell phone. Digital Chocolate founder/CEO Trip Hawkins, a mobile device content guy, thinks cell phones are not "about content now, -(They're) about (making) new excuses to engage in social context." He points out that about 96 percent of the world's wireless revenue streams from the killer app—voice transmission—and that the simplest communication applications are usually more than enough to satisfy users. This is the cell phone at its social best, he said. Almost all successful online services today - "Text messaging, e-mail, chat, voice, personalization of services – all these are about people connecting with old friends, meeting new friends, and how they want themselves to be represented". The old model was that people grew up in small villages and enjoyed a tremendous amount of personal interaction throughout their lives. Now we live in far-flung houses and apartments—most of us in big, impersonal cities—and we spend a lot of time in our cars and at our work desks alone, so we're starving for personal interaction. Hawkins is at his best (full of insight, I should add) when he concludes that an awful lot of human beings are not happy, and are not sure why, and are bored and lonely. Too often people are popping sedatives and there is a latent need to interact and be entertained constantly – Mobiles and related services provide the perfect platform for this.
The development of a software solution is less about technology and more about people. User involvement in XP and agile development, user-centered development, usage centered design all exemplify changing perspectives about software solution. There is an increasing realization that the most important success factor for any software development team is the people that comprise it. Human centered software development may be applicable along many different levels. Whether open source or proprietary, all efforts are are all focused along similar lines. Kevin highlights that the obstacles that we confront involve our inability to understand what users want, translate their wants into a functional and usable system, and manage our teams to deliver what we believe needs to be built.I disagree with him when he writes that licensing or technology may not play a role in these dysfunctions –not true – to a certain degree all these influence adoption. I deal routinely with people with varied cultural, linguistic affilations – I can see that the inherent features of software also influence successful adoption. In any software rollouts the people problems rank as among the most important factor to be tamed .I may add that if we decompose the risk perceptions around projects –half of them may revolve around people. Afterall in any transformation engagements, the soft track is always the hardest one to finish.
Phil Wainewright assesses about potential suitors for BEA – After ruling out Oracle & Computer Associates as potential acquirers, the choice narroes down to IBM, HP, Microsoft , SAP & Wipro.
- IBM may like to add better SOA capabilities by acquiring BEA
- HP – After Bluestone fiasco, may doubt about its ability to buy and build a new software business – but there are lot many changes that are happening in HP It may see improved prospects in SOA and additional business by acquiring BEA – but… HP could also be looking at an intergation vendor like WebMethods -both BEA & WebMethods acquisition decisions may be interrelated.
- Microsoft – would gain a lot more by acquiring BEA - cross platform credibility and increased clout in the enterprise market (I really see the downside risk - lowest for Microsoft among potential acquirers)
- SAP - would help it build serious initiatives towards becoming a platform player – but the product may be seen as a misnomer
- Wipro - I do not see the logic behind this – Wipro generally makes very calculative moves – acquisition of BEA would look like an adventure - nothing short of it. Wipro chairman Azim Premji is credited with the quote – that Wipro is like an airline and product companies are like aircraft manufacturers.
My take : Microsoft or HP could see the best fit and may be the best bet as well.
The business plans of the second wave of dot-coms are written on legal paper (not napkins), the prospects are measured in dollars (not hits) and the focus is on media companies (not Anything.com). The first dot-com boom also featured big buyers, but much has changed since then. - First, broadband penetration in key markets provide for graphic-heavy media sites to actually work for many consumers. - Second, online advertising has come of age. Online ads now take in $14.7 billion per year in the U.S., according to Forrester Research, and are growing 23 percent per year, while traditional advertising is flat or falling. - Finally, the creative process is now bottom up, as well as top down. Web users are as important as the old media gatekeepers in the production of online information and entertainment, and they are pushing the market where they want it to go. Google plays a major role in the success of sites – earlier sites needed to be narrowly focused to attract big ad bucks. But the Google model makes it possible for even very broad-based news or entertainment sites to make money. Google charges advertisers for clicks in ads and pays some to site publishers - the deal enriches Google and the content sites, which have thus gained appeal as takeover targets. Entertainment sites are also building an edge using free labor. Sites like MySpace rely heavily on messages, stories, music mixes and photos made by users, and often this self-generated entertainment is better than what the Web editors come up with. Gambling sites like PartyPoker.com and Betfair.com, as well as photo-sharing sites like Flickr.com, take advantage of users who are, in essence, entertaining themselves.
Vivek Bharati, advisor to FICCI(Indian trade body) after visiting five Chinese cities and traveling on the Chinese expressways and view of the countryside finds very high determination in china to leapfrog into hi-tech industries and dominate the global market for knowledge products. He finds the visual impact of chinese cities and the sheer scale of economic activity and construction are mind-boggling. Beijing seems to have more high-rise buildings than entire India and the infrastructure and facilities seem as good as any in advanced countries. Shanghai is even more impressive. Hundreds (or thousands) of high-rise buildings glowing amidst a huge web of four to five-storey roads that make the city seem like a readymade studio for Star Wars. Every single km on either side of the expressway was dotted by huge cranes that showed the rapid spread of new economic activity on a gigantic scale. Hundreds of villages along the expressway looked much cleaner and picturesque and with better amenities than Indian villages. Large-scale construction and spread of new settlements and factories are diversifying the economies of these villages, that are also benefiting from huge urban markets, The Chinese aware of the limits to pursue mass manufacturing now understand that the organisations and companies must move towards creating leadership in creating and mastering new technologies and are heavily investing in these areas. Convinced that the IT software lead has been surrendered to India, they are moving fast to catch the bio-technology wave with very concerted efforts. India while having natural advantages in this bio technology space and hoping to capitalise on the next wave of outsourcing, suffers from a slow progress in this space, with limited instituitional support coming forth..
Last week while I was in Seoul the topic of mobile TV came up repeatedly in my discussions with friends. The digital mobile broadcast industry is set to take off in Korea in a big way – its already in operation in seoul and enthusiasts were talking about increasing the number of channels that can be watched through mobiles – some said that over a period of time these channel may grow and shall cover all currently available TV channels and may begin to outnumber traditional channels as these may create a new industry providing channel coverage specifically for mobile TVs. Kevin werbach confirms that the Mobile TV is going to be big in the US as well and points to a company called MobiTV, which is sending TV programming to mobile phones over cellular data networks. This isn't nearly as good as the full-scale mobile broadcasting they have in Korea, and it's only available on a few phones from a few carriers. Nonetheless, customers seem to be responding. There are already 500,000 subscribers to MobiTV's service here in the US. The numbers show huge revenue upside and already players are investing millions of dollars in the infrastructure for mobile TV, and other companies are as well. I agree with the view that the true alternatives to conventional television like digital mobile broadcasting and the Internet-based platforms that companies like Google, Yahoo!, and Brightcove are building will have more of an impact sooner on transforming the TV industry. Update : Contentsutra hoghlights about Mobile TV Initiatives In India
The culture of standards that the Internet brought to the IT industry reversing the earlier trend wherein technology companies competed with each other to try to establish control points with their proprietary interfaces and protocols. The power of interconnections became exemplified with the rise of the internet ecosystem. The fear of commoditization in the internet world due to common standards may be misplaced writes Irving Wladawsky-Berger. Standards can turn other businesses into successful innovators, who will leverage those standards to quickly and efficiently create differentiated offerings.Microsoft is an exception however. No wonder it invites lot more criticisms. Far from just commoditizing what businesses and individuals do, a standards-based Internet is unleashing vastly more customization and individuality. In an age of business process revolution enabled by technology business gets empowered to acoomplishing far reaching benefits to the society. With standardization the huge inefficiencies involved in re-inventing the same process over and over again can be minimized/eliminated unlocking energies to innovating around those processes and business models that bring true differentiation and value to the business. A truly innovative business can leverage the availability of increasingly standardized, low priced technologies and services to create a special and unique experience for everyone in the business, including all stakeholders - employees, dealers, partners, and most important, customers. As the Internet proved to be a highly democratic platform available to lots and lots of people, the availability of standard business processes in a competitive marketplace means that small and mid-size businesses can have access to many of the same advanced technologies and capabilities once available only to large companies, thus helping them better compete with those companies. The criterion for success won't be size or established position, but how capable you are of doing something truly special and innovative. Becoming an On Demand Business - extending the processes across the business value net, becoming more responsive and flexible - leaves business in a position to focus its talents and resources collaboratively on the real creation of new value.Standardization while not giving any competitive advantage, but can unlock otherwise involved efforts to be spent on more value added efforts.
John Hagel writes that there is an essence behind the term web 2.0 that is waiting to be captured. He suggests that Web 2.0 ultimately refers to "an emerging network-centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users." He adds rightly so that in many respects, Web 2.0 represents a return to origins of Internet. While tracing the process of evolution, John points out that the original goal of the pioneers developing and deploying the Internet was to connect researchers and their computers together so that they could more effectively pursue their research in distributed locations. Tim O'Reilly points outthat Web 2.0 is the era when people have come to realize that it's not the software that enables the web that matters so much as the services that are delivered over the web. Web 1.0 was the era when people could think that Netscape (a software company) was the contender for the computer industry crown; Web 2.0 is the era when people are recognizing that leadership in the computer industry has passed from traditional software companies to a new kind of internet service company. The net has replaced the PC as the platform that matters, just as the PC replaced the mainframe and minicomputer. Web 1.0 largely consisted of stand-alone web sites for specialized publishers and vendors seeking to more effectively reach audiences and consumers. It was a broadcast and distribution medium, rather than a creation medium. Hagel sees the real power of Web 2.0 to be its ability to re-shape economic, social and legal frameworks to exploit the full potential of the technology.
I recently covered about the growing strength of Oracle in the middleware space. Middleware strategy is an important factor in the success of integration of various products that oracle wants to stitch together. A couple of important announcements ( again of intent only) from the Oracleworld merits serious consideration. Oracle’s Fusion Middleware - a collection of middleware offerings that buttress Project Fusion (that began as an initiative to glue together PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, and Oracle business applications) – this includes middleware products include Oracle's portal, identity management, business integration, business intelligence, management products, developer tools, and directory. Oracle middleware is said to be getting architected as a suite of products which means that these can be installed, upgraded and managed all together The suite/component approach may find takers from ISV’s and at a broader level, Oracle will be adopting the same strategy in regard to its applications. Oracle’s ultimate goal is expressed as one to evolve all its applications to Oracle Fusion Architecture, but at a measured pace. This open architecture may allow Oracle to work with appservers like IBM's WebSphere family of products once Fusion is implemented. This new approach from Oracle seems useful for buyers wanting to mix and match according to their needs. This takes the fight directly into the territory of BEA, already lacking in hardware or database lockins. Of all what I saw related to Oracleworld, I liked this one - "Oracle states that it will take the best of all these functions and features from various vertical products and turn them into services over time, and users can build the composite applications that they may need". This is bringing things one full round of circle – post consolidation and after around 20 billion dollar of acquisitions and humongous budgets and efforts on integration – this is where oracle sees the future would look like. This Oracle claims is the goal post of consolidation!! Certainly without these huge big bang acquisitions – one can also reach here through other means ( Also would need to assess how may Oracle’s combined customer base would embrace this as fast as Oracle can roll out and how much would it cost them). I recently wrote,enterprise applicationsshall begin to coalesce around open web services where users can pick and choose just the features they need, and support add ins of distinct blocks provided by other companies. This would enable business to create and modify applications more economically and swiftly. Leading edge products this can come from a mega enterprise or a small IT shop) shall begin to roll out simpler, more flexible and easy to modify blocks of solutions, to meet customers demand of more flexible and agile systems. Composites shall enable the co-option of culture, content, technology & process binding together content centric business process definitions & supporting, architectures – all these set the stage for software effectiveness to be correlated to business results in as direct a manner as possible. I also cautioned that the transition to composite applications would obviously be a long & arduous journey for enterprises, but this should lead to a new degree of alignment setting in rewarding business with immense benefits. Typically a three year transition with IT leading the charge would be the recommended game plan for global enterprises to embrace the new framework holistically. Product engineering too shall also see a positive influence - facilitating development of software in modular pieces, enabling rapid delivery of new functionalities. Several independent developers could start writing specialized programs that plug into the composite apps framework. I recently wrote that the composite application ecosystem can comprehensively transform the enterprise ecosystem.Oracle's acquisition spree, price paid and the eventual goal it acheives with all these and how accretive these acquisitions were to oracle would certainly be discussed in the next five years - we may also see a new (as of now undefined entity ) rising to provide same level of features and potential competition to oracle when it is ready to roll out composites - by definition customers can also mix and match composites from various vendors the same time(clearly more competition here for oracle can be foreseen) - consolidation leading to composites seems to be the gameplan here.
Far from being a being part of a publishing system, Web sites are becoming programmable, much like a PC's operating system. Business would be able to tap into the Internet "cloud" and procure and combine third-party Web services from a public directory, too. We are in the midstof an age of radical change & advancement of the web world - huge changes are clearly in store in the near future. With application development becoming faster, cheaper and easier, new avenues of design, development, enhancements and collaboration gets opened up. Typical opportunities are :
- Decoupling implementation details of application design and implementation – a long cherished dream - Making deployment such an easy job – deployment of applications can become an easy & casual act – enabling to bring lot more people to perform this activity –potentially lot more than ever witnessed in the past. Users gains new level of control over their experience. Personalization on-the-fly - both on design templates and content layout structures get enabled.
The foundational infrastructure like Rails, become an enabler – which applications can build on and thereby shift attention to other aspects of design and development. These applications shall have lot more clean design and elegance – in all aspects of the application. These are setting new standard for web applications and shall be a powerful catalyst in rolling out the next wave of such applications. A good introduction to Yukihiro Matsumoto, a.k.a. Matz's Ruby is available here and here.
I have been regularly writing about developments around Web 2.0, one of the hottest topics today including some defining edge emerging developments around Web 2.0 like here, here, here, here including the transcending nature of web 2.0. Tim O'Reilly has posted a meme map of Web 2.0, a result of the "What is Web 2.0?" brainstorming session at FOO Camp 2005. Dion Hinchcliffe summarises several web 2.0 advances in an excallenet post : 1) Using the entire Internet as your API for new applications. The leverage and reuse possibilities are probably boundless.
2) Permalink requirements make your Web 2.0 applications stable, even when they're based on a dozen underlying services all over the Web.
3) Trust becomes a critical service in the Web 2.0 platform . Leveraging Wikipedia entries, Google PageRanks, Amazon Reviews, del.icio.us bookmark counts, and many others makes collective trust a measurable, quantifiable, and so vitally, a reusable service in the Web 2.0 stack.
4) Remixing data with high quality Web 2.0-friendly sources yields new possibilities and value. This is one of the bigger concepts that would help many organizations leverage Web 2.0 the most.
Web 2.0 Is indeed the hottest topic on the net today.
With Web 2.0 ideas getting more and more attention and beginning to see action centered around it, Identity 2.0 follows. The identity 2.0 camp has well known names like Doc Searls,Marc Canter, Phil Windley besides a fewothers associated with it.Dick Hardt, whom Doc calls as the leader of the team,sees Web 2.0 as being the difference between DOS and Windows. In DOS we just used one app at a time, APIs were pretty minimal, there was no dynamic linking of data or components. Windows enabled multiple apps to be running in concert, at least most of the time and holds the notion that Web 2.0 is still emerging. Doc Searls points to Dick Hardts OSCON 2005 talk on identity 2.0 (available in three formats) where Hardt explains that as the online world moves towards Web 2.0, the concept of digital identity is evolving, and existing identity systems are falling behind. New systems are emerging that place identity in the hands of users instead of directories. Simple, secure and open, these systems will provide the scalable, user-centric mechanism for authenticating and managing real-world identities online, enabling truly distinct and portable Internet identities. A good idea - definitely overdue - we shall see a lot more empahasis on this subject in the coming days.
Rajesh points to an interesting article by Kevin Werbach about the changing nature of internet. Kevin writes that the model of the Internet and communications world as we know of may be falling apart. With some of the leading Internet-based application companies pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content, a new equation may be emerging.In the past the online world used to be small, fragmented and at best cross referenced & co-existed. With Google's plan to put together a next-generation network infrastructure platform including a national fiber backbone, WiFi wireless networks in cities, and, through associate firms - powerline broadband connections to the home, the game appears to be changing. With eBay acquiring Skype embracing the presence economy,& with the telcos feverishly working to put together multi-channel video services to compete against cable TV operators, signs of big change about to happen at our doorsteps becomes evident. They are trying to move up the stack at the same time the other companies are moving down. While all this is happening, Yahoo! is positioning itself as a video arms dealer, and Microsoft is talking about an alliance with AOL. Kevin highllights that the concept is connectivity, applications, and content are distinct technical, business, and regulatory spheres, with specific players specialising is some realms like - infrastructure businesses (ISPs), application businesses (search, advertising, and e-commerce), and content businesses. AOL Time warned in the past tried to straddle and struggled. But he writes, soon most of the major Internet players are likely to be hybrids of two or more layers. Google and eBay will be infrastructure and applications; Yahoo! and News Corp. will be applications and content; telephone, wireless, and cable operators will be infrastructure nad content; Microsoft and Time Warner will span all three levels. If GoogleNet, SkypeBay, MSAOL, Telco Fiberia, and CableLand emerge as competing integrated fiefdoms, we'll see something more like the early 90's online services, albeit on a much bigger stage. In a follow up post, he brings forth the fact that if Google is big enough to be the internet all by itself - so are Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL, eBay, and probably a few others. The network owners - Verizon, SBC, and Comcast in particular - would love nothing more than to "be the Internet" for their customers. Wireless operators already are, for the most part. The threat of vertical integration from the bottom of the stack has been with us since the earliest days of the commercial Internet. Now, surprisingly, it may be coming from the top as well. we're moving away from the common platform that defined the Internet for the past decade, and we haven't really examined what that will mean. This time it is real and a lot more concerted - no complaints man - more offerings, more choices, more players putting lot more resources - you can't ask for more - if only one or two are making moves when others are inert - it could be a little disconcerting - here every big guy is trying to move ahead, enlarge their offering backed up by real money and taking different approaches - I think the golden era of internet is just about to start.
(Via SMH) While many think that digital archiving would serve the interests of future generation – but it appears that the major challenge facing the "digital" generation is means to stores masses of machine-generated, machine-read material in a form that is safe, secure from degradation and - potentially most calamitous in the long term & make them accessible to subsequent generations. Far from being an effective solution, to problems of recording, storing and retrieving information, the technology appears deeply flawed. Instead of paperless offices and clean, eco-friendly, endlessly flexible, virtual communication, it threatens to cast future generations into a "digital dark age". Come to think of it, forty years from now how would future generations access material stored in CD’s – which could be seen as digitally obsolete then. Librarians and archivists - gloomily pondering the implications for future scholarship of the replacement of written letters by more easily killed, less easily opened emails - agonise over the digitation of irreplaceable hard-copy material. Records of the entire present period of history are jeopardised by precisely the technology, and the pace of the technological change, that characterised it –The content and historical value of many governmental, organisational, legal, financial and technical records, scientific databases and personal documents may be irretrievably lost to future generations if we do not take steps to protect them. The National Archives of Australia is working on a preservation project to create a standard process and infrastructure for the long-term storage of government digital records. The office has put together Future Proof, a 10-point strategy based on the best Australian standards. It stresses the need to plan long-term (even before records are created), build partnerships in and outside government, and devise record-keeping systems for managing and monitoring data. Its options include: - Conservation, to ensure records do not degrade; - Conversion of records from one medium or format to another, such as paper records to microfilm or optical disk; - Migration of records from one system to another, such as from one software application to the next; and - Retention of original equipment.
The news about Microsoft's radical reorganizationrings as a prelude to either splitting the company into three separate corporations or perhaps selling off one or two pieces of the company. The new organization looks too much like three separate companies that are designed to all survive alone, writes John C.Dvorak. As the stock has not reacted so much to new announcements & a general dullness pervades the company with good talent rotinely leaving, John sees that Microsoft is relatively moribund with the exception of the Xbox team that has attracted the best within the company. And with $60 billion or so in the coffers Microsoft is essentially sitting on two cash cows - the Windows Operating System and the Office Suite. The Xbox group has the potential to be a cash cow. Too many cash cows makes a lazy company. These three entities could easily be spun into new companies . John notes that this concept is nothing new - Motorola, HP & IBM have done it in the past. He extends his thinking and sees that the Windows part of the company will retain the name Microsoft and sell Windows XP, Vista and anything related to operating systems and OS development,the Office suite folks and all the applications will be spun off into a new corporation with a new name & a third company which will be the Xbox Corporation will be a stand-alone game and hardware company selling all sorts of hardware and all the games for the Xbox. Since it is the most dynamic and exciting of the three new corporations it may be presented to the public as an IPO with the current owners of Microsoft ending up with some sort of preferred stock. When can these happen - in a year or two as the new divisions must first settle in as independent entities, speculates John.
My Take: Read for fun - Have a hearty laugh and think how crazy can people can go - Forget sales - who wants the money, too much of it is anyway available. No voluntary spin-off of this size can ever happen - particularly when competition is so disspirited to fight Microsoft in a concerted way - if Microsoft is seen to be lazy - its head-to-head competition in the desktop market ( if one exists) looks stillborn - with no one ever having come forward to proclaim that they are competing against Microsoft head-on. Microsoft's strength is precisely this - where someone has taken it head-on - it has always lost the game/play a run up game - SQL Server, Portal Platform, Enteprise Platforms, Hotmail, Blogging, MSN portal (the only exception could be MS Outlook/Exchange - IBM surrendered its leadership almost without a fight) all prove this.Till a powerhouse comes and declares that it is competing directly with Microsoft in the desktop Windows/Offfice market and lauches an eyeball-to-eyeball competition, or till a time arrives when Fortune 500 companies decide to retire all desktops - Microsoft will not be under any pressure to take such radical steps within - there can be resuffles, there can be movements but there can not be spinoffs of massive scale -Microsoft's laziness is combatted by invisible streaks of competition with no defined endgame. The party shall go on..
Raghuram Rajan in a recent speech on India concludes after assesing multiple factors that the stars are well aligned for India to become a hub of globalization, but the country is still some distance from that goal. The vote of confidence that foreign investors are giving India should not induce complacency; they are betting on the potential, not the reality. It is up to India to realize that potential. The country could well become a global financial center, for example: it is in the perfect time zone and has the necessary information technology, communications, and financial skills. All that is missing is a more sound regulatory environment and the conditions needed for introducing capital account convertibility. The country could also become a center for higher education: it has the core human capital, both in India and dispersed around the world, and a history of tolerance for ideas. All that is needed is a more welcoming environment for foreign educational institutions, faculty, and students, as well as a greater tolerance for market-clearing fees and salaries. Tourism, health care—etc . The list may be long, but the point should be clear. If I may add, the country needs to think big, the vision should be long term, we should change what can be changed in the immediate context, all thinking citizens need to contribute at local levels towards imporvments, strengthen grass roots development - the macro level things are slowly gaining momentum. India's future is in Indian hands as Rajesh recently wrote in detail about and the future shall be clearly what Indians make of it - The window of opportunity may not be wide open for long - its a race against time -if the nation wins it - it will qualify to be one of history's massive transformation and move to prosperity perhaps unchallenged in its means and scale.
Microsoft is very much in the news right now . As again there are a lot more skeptical & some odd good views. Microsoft recently announced that the next version of Office shall have a new look, finalized with four major design goals. -To make it easier for people to find and use the product features needed to get the results they wanted. (Characterized as “results-oriented,” as against “feature-oriented” or “command-oriented”). -To streamline the UI to maximize the user’s workspace. That means having the UI generally be much less intrusive -To make it easier for people to discover the capabilities that achieve a desired result by using contextualized UI. - Full document life cycle support. Authoring, collaboration and work flow and document management processes are supported. (This certainly falls far short of what a document management system can provide – but nonetheless a good beginning). R.L.Narain points to the screenshots of the new Office 12.
David Kirkpatrick offers the best perspective of what is in store. He points out that the changes in how Office will work in the future will have far reaching impact. Office will no longer just be a variety of interlinked desktop applications, but will now extend onto the server, where it will be linked with many other kinds of software. RSS support will allow workers to pull data in and out of Office and subscribe to blogs and as well to receive data from enterprise software applications. The information produced by enterprise applications like SAP will be drawn down into Excel, Word, and other elements of the Office desktop, so users can manipulate, comment on, and share new kinds of data. This data sits on corporate servers today, but few workers have access to it. If Office becomes the portal to corporate information, it could increase the number of employees who can easily find and use critical information in a company’s applications and databases – this allows Office really to formally integrate with processes in business. Today, workers get access to most enterprise applications, by using a dedicated software client on their PC desktop. That has been changing slowly in recent years as the web browser began to serve as the portal to business applications, especially so-called “software-as-a-service” ones like Salesforce.com. Now Microsoft is making a play to establish its Office software, which after all is already on just about everybody’s desktop, as a third alternative to dedicated enterprise client software and the browser. Ballmer said the browser just isn’t good enough as an interface to corporate information. With office users can view information, comment on it, mark it up, and make it pretty. Microsoft wants Office to become the front-end portal to just about every business application. Microsoft needs to work seriously make the office application light - office current version sizes upwards of 600 MB now - certainly not something that we can live with for ever..
Google’s voluntary projects are well known in the industry – We earlier covered Joe Beda’s perspective about the nature of these projects – he clarified that while you don't know if the time is being used wisely. You want the engineer to do what he/she thinks is the next big thing, not what management thinks. Most people want to do the next cool think that will fire people up both inside and outside the company and may end up making Google money. The fact that needed to be highlighted then was that Google hires the best talent - google's recruitment criteria and method of selection is indeed legendary. Businessweek profiles Marissa Mayer as a powerful force inside the high-flying company. She has the clout,power and influence as a champion of innovation inside google. Mayer has her hands on virtually everything the average Google user sees - from the look of its Web pages to new software for searching your hard drive. And she helps decide which new initiatives get the attention of the company's founders and which don't. With Google’s stated mission is to "organize the world's information" - only in recent months has the staggering scope of their ambition come into full relief. Google is moving to digitize the world's libraries, to offer all comers free voice calls, to provide satellite images of the world, and perhaps to give away wireless broadband service to millions of people. Google really seems to believe it can make every bit of information available to anyone anywhere, and direct all those bits - whether text, audio, or video - through its computers before they hit users' brains. Businessweek provides a peep into her style of working - An ideas mailing list is open to anyone at Google who wants to post a proposal. Mayer figures out how to make sure good ideas bubble to the surface and get the attention they need. The task is becoming more complex as Google grows fast. Office hours are just one way in which Mayer connects with inventive engineers and managers. Another is Google's ideas mailing list, the e-mail thread to which anyone can submit or comment on an idea. At times, the thread more resembles a form of techie Darwinism. Google newcomers, who proffer an especially obvious suggestion (“Why don’t we search blogs”?), or something off-topic like how to arrange the cafeteria tables, often suffer withering rebukes. "It's about 50% new ideas, 50% indoctrination of new employees," says Mayer. What she thinks will be essential for continued innovation is for Google to keep its sense of fearlessness. "I like to launch (products) early and often. That has become my mantra," she says. My Take:Businessweek has done disservice to Google by writing such a trivial article on the inside workings of Google. Google is really onto something big as this one listing key work within Google shows. Google's startup culture would find this process too boring - as an engineering led company and with a constellation of talent, Google sure must have a more rigorous mechanism and definitely a much more sound plan to conquer the world. The very fact that Google's announcements shows a method proves contrary to the marketing claims made in the article. If on the other hand, if this is what is really happening inside google( which i hope not), it would clearly undermine google's ability to sustain its leadership and support the 88 billion marketcap. I think in the past, Xerox used to have more rigorous process in actualizing ideas – though they could never reach the results to the market – fast enough. Apple’s early days may showed similar traits.
Sometime back we covered while writing about emerging new technologies like WiMAX that the reality , is that Wimax is slow to reach out to the masses. WiMax and its reach is overhyped. The Economist noted few months back that the actual number of WiMax devices on the market is precisely zero.The hype is now giving way to much scepticism about the technology's prospects. WiMax may be used by telecoms firms in rural areas, to plug holes in their broadband coverage. In urban areas WiMax does not make sense, since it will be uneconomic compared with cable and DSL. It is also too expensive for use in the developing world, since early WiMax access devices (which must be fixed to the outside of a building) will cost around $500; other forms of wireless link, such as mobile-phone networks, will remain a cheaper way to connect up remote villages. Despite good amount of hype behind WiMAX , big budget backings with stellar names pushing the technology, as cellular operators roll out "third-generation" networks, Bill Alpert points out that it is still trying to get out of the testing lab. Analysts point out that by the time WiMAX is ready to challenge 3G in 2008, says Sagawa, 3G will be faster, cheaper and selling in volumes of more than 300 million units a year. With several telecom operators reportedly getting bruised with 3G Rollouts and NTT DoCoMo already talking about4G demonstrations the market is in for an interesting turning point. Sitting in Asia , supposedly the hotbed of telecom developments and fresh from a tour of north asia – including korea- I can definitely say that WiMAX has a very long way to go before popular adoption – its not to say anything about the potential of technology but its spread- who knows if the US were to adopt this and leapfrog the cellular technology wave that it missed out largely to Asia.
While organizations confront the Barbie Doll syndrome, increasingly individuals experience the paradox of enhancement. Knowledge@wharton points out,with TiVos and Treos and BlackBerrys. Wi-Fi and HDTV and plasma screens, picture phones, digital cameras, iPods and now iPod cell phones, these and more sophisticated products getting launched, keeping pace with their new features requires significant time, interest and a certain amount of smarts on the part of consumers. Complexity among consumer technology products has never been greater - a good thing if the complexity means product improvement. Complexity - along with choice - can have a big impact on how firms make and market new and improved gizmos, and on the decision processes of the people expected to buy them. Companies need to spend significant resources explaining new product features to time-strapped potential customers, Robert Meyer, along with Shenghui Zhao of Wharton and Jin Han of Singapore Management University discuss what they call the "paradox of enhancement" in decisions by consumers to adopt new products. The paradox is this: When people are considering buying next-generation products, they find the bells and whistles attractive and decide to make the purchase, but when they acquire the products, they find the complexity of the new features overwhelming and end up using only the products' basic features. Customers tend to accentuate the positive even in the face of past experience: They are aware that, in the past, they bought products and did not use their new features; nonetheless, they plow ahead and buy a new gizmo loaded with bells and whistles. Or, it may be the case that people know that they have not made use of next-generation product features in the past, but convince themselves that they still might do so this time around. Meyer uses the phrase "the possibility of infinite deferral" to describe this mindset.Kendall Whitehouse of Wharton summarises,"In introducing tech products today, the main emphasis is on differentiation and how your product is unique. But if you fast-forward another five or 10 years, you will notice certain functions becoming more similar. You see this now with products like universal remote controls, digital cameras and Apple's Mac mini. Moving us toward this tipping point is the notion that we will start to see ease of use become the most compelling feature of all." In a way, I welcome this - in some parts of the world -(I have travelled to most parts of the world), churn, upgrade, revisions and retirements never happen - people clinging to 20 year old objects are common sights - clearly this has to change, the world need not be flat in a few dimensions, let it be so in multiple dimensions. While an ever expanding economy is good news for some, may be a lot , the issues raised are really relevant - but the point is if this can keep humanity moving along and contribute to increasing globally distributable affluence- practically speaking let's not complain about it- the greater good for wider humanity is something to be welcomed.
Stephen J Marshall has a good overview about the limitations of opensource highlighting lot of concerns centered around the opensource movement. Thanks to friends who pointed this article to me. I agree with the core of stephen's argument against opensource movement - there may be a few more factors than what Stephen has brought forth but indeed a good perspective to examine. Commercial product support and viability issues concern customers sometimes to look at opensource more seriously. The usual attractive catch line is with OSS solutions,users have the comfort of a large developer community that is unlikely to disappear anytime soon and there is always the option of supporting the software in-house as the source code is freely accessible. Inducting opensource as part of the software ecosystem need to be examined from different perspectives like IP, design integrity, innovation and professionalism amongst others. Stephen argues that every contributor to opensource may be violating IP rights as any software written by the employer, irrespective of whether it is during or outside normal working hours, legally belongs to their employer. Self-employed and contract software engineers may be exempted but they may not be so motivated as they may be assumed to be tight on time and money. The academic, student communities’ lack of practical software development experience will be a considerable drawback. All these rule out meritorious – first level talents participation in opensource development – by inference in a legal sense. Any software effort needs good design to avoid things getting messier. The emphasis should be on good design and tight specifications to minimize bugs, but in the OSS method of software development, the emphasis is firmly on fixing things once the design is implemented in code. This is a very inefficient way of ensuring code quality - just ask Microsoft! The 1980 amateurs almost killed the gaming industry – the industry had to fight back & today perhaps has the most highly trained and disciplined software development community in the world. This professionalism in software development is cited as a major contributory factor to the explosive growth that the computer games industry has enjoyed over the last 10 years. The open source movement, with its hacker ethic, doesn't promote professionalism. The absence of design leadership, diverging motivational needs amongst developers characterize lack of imagination in the OSS world. The open source community has so far tended to create facsimiles of proprietary packages rather than the next killer application. Far beyond the intrinsic characterictics of opensource, it can also damage the small but innovative commercial firms – those that are the lifeblood of the growing software industry. Academic research can contribute to new algorithms and methods but without industry providing the market pull, these technologies are unlikely to end up on our desktops. The established business model for OSS is to give the software away for free but sell support, documentation or consultancy services, thereby providing the added value. While this may seem to be helping mega products like Linux, this business model isn't really viable for niche market software and a scaleable model has yet to be found. As software has become increasingly complex, the software industry has struggled to cope. Pressure has also grown to improve interoperability and maintain backward compatibility through many generations of the same product. OSS may see a role for itself, but it is not the panacea for industry woes. It may be seen as a change agent, but its weakness far outweighs its perceived strengths. As I wrote earlier,"from a technology, economic and sociological perspective, there is no compelling reason for the open source model to succeed and become dominant. We can assume at best - a niche role for open source model in the IT industry" .
Of late several attempts have been made to boost the appeal of watches by adding exotic new functions, from telephones and televisions to personal organisers. Mobile phone success clearly demonstrate that people will adopt new features on a device that originally just did one thing, making the watch look like a poor cousin, an older one at that. While mobiles are extensively used to send text messages, take pictures and play games, watchmakers need to find new features that play to the strengths of watches. For digital music with watches - the inconvenience of wires from wrist to ears come in the way. The controls also tend to be rather fiddly, and because weight and volume are at a premium in watches, battery life is usually not competitive with larger, dedicated devices such as Apple's iPod. Similar drawbacks have scuppered attempts to integrate personal organisers, digital cameras and other devices into watches. The economist article points out that many users have their favourite items, including the time, cycling continuously, which allows surreptitious scanning of the latest sports results while sitting in a meeting. The watches can also display alerts from Microsoft's instant-messaging service, and can synchronise calendars with a PC. Lucas Alexander Karl Scheybal of LAKS believes this sort of watch has huge potential in e-commerce. Its latest twist on the memory watch, called SmartTransaction, integrates both the USB connector and a secure smart-card chip, like those used in credit cards, with a contactless interface developed by Philips, a Dutch electronics giant. By plugging the watch into a PC, funds or travel tickets can be downloaded to the chip without the need for a special smart-card reader. Being wrist-mounted, a watch is always close at hand, which makes it particularly convenient when operating contactless readers on public-transport systems (such as those used by London's Oyster system). A contactless chip inside a watch might also be the logical place to store e-cash, credit cards and personal medical records. Production of the new watches starts this month. Swatch also sees great potential for watches as contactless digital wallets. In July, 64,000 Swatch Access watches functioned as tickets to the opening events of the new Swiss national football stadium in Bern. So perhaps there is a role for the high-tech watch after all.I also believe that RFID + Watch would be an explosive combination. As this article shows Passive RFID tagging can be used for myriad uses in our day -to-day operations. It is amusing that the watch industry - both big and small - once the most dynamic is leaving the age ofpervasive communication age unexploited - efforts are being made - results -only time will tell.
Microsoft's recent announcement of re-org aimed at what is says realigning for Next Wave of Innovation and Growth has seen itslef restructuring its divisions into - Microsoft Platform Products & Services Division - Microsoft Business Division - Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division Microsoft says that it re-organisation is aimed at strengthening its planned release for the next eighteen months in each of these three core areas.It claims that that with its 30-year heritage of delivering low-cost, high-volume products to market, it is better positioned than most others to deliver the software and services people and organizations need to achieve excellence. On the face of this the last two sentences seemsed to be at variance with each other as the rules of the game are constantly changing and very fast at that - as Microsoft's experience itself demonstrates. While Microsoft’s legendary shipping problem is well known, and had its future questioned. There had always been the recognition about its unmatchable capability in churning out large doses of software. But what wsj reports as what as changing approach to developing software, is a phenomenon by itself. It points out that due to historical reasons, Longhorn was irredeemable as microsoft engineers were building it just as they had always built software. Historically, Microsoft had let thousands of programmers each produce their own piece of computer code, then stitched it together into one sprawling program- it now decided to revise the approach. Microsoft unable to match rivals agility in rolling out tools for the imprisoned by window’s nature of being a a massive program overseeing all of a computer's functions. But Microsoft is now racing to move in that direction: developing a solid core for Windows onto which new features can be added one by one over time. The situation was compared to that of old auto manufacturers not investing in new production lines. Microsoft's holy grail is a system that cranks out a new, generally bug-free version of basic Windows every few years, with frequent updates in between to add enhancements or match a competitor's offering. The mass of patches and agglomerations that made up Windows turned it into an easy target for viruses and other Web-based attacks. While Windows itself couldn't be a single module - it had too many functions for that - it could be designed so that Microsoft could easily plug in or pull out new features without disrupting the whole system. That was a cornerstone of the new plan. In 2004, Microsoft decided to "reset" Longhorn using a clean base of code that had been developed for a version of Windows on corporate server computers. Through automation of testing and good process checks and schemes like engineers having too many outstanding bugs getting in "bug jail" and banned from writing new code. It could take years before Windows can be as flexible as Microsoft needs it to be to pump out new features quickly. This certainly shows the change in strategy and a watershed point in Microsoft's history & in large software development overall.. It is amazing what competition, innovation and commercial stakes can bring forth- for Microsft, clearly the direction is getting to be right,,cultural shift within is in swing & early results are showing up – would the world be just happy with that would be the key trend to watch.
Zacks equity finds signs of demand stabilizationand cost-cutting initiatives over the past several quarters indicating industry maturation and cautions that this is an uneven process with some companies finding a profitable niche to take them to the next level while others wallow in an environment that is still somewhat frugal when it comes to spending. The report adds, areas like ERP,SCM, & CRM software have been hit hard by weak IT spending, other niches have held up relatively well. It finds gaming, video editing and security software are among those with momentum. Government spending has also been supportive for some computer software companies. While Longer-term growth prospects remain slightly above average for the industry as a whole, top-line growth is likely to remain below historical averages. In addition, several of the group’s top companies possess stellar fundamentals, including high profit margins, pristine balance sheets and cash flow well in excess of capital requirements. Two things stand out – 1. Cash flow in excess of capital requirements is in some way forcing rapid fire mergers, consolidation and 2. ERP, CRM, SCM areas have been hard hit by weak IT spending. I was in an extended dinner meeting with a CEO of a medium sized software company who offered himself up for sale fearing takeover attempts( he wanted to sell out before being offered to be bought – a little ahead of the curve and he succeeded and is doing extremely well for himself and his division is doing phenomenally well post acquisition) – who pointed out that previous quarter Oracle’s profits zoomed and as I write Oracle is reporting modest numbers for this quarter - What is not coming out for discussion is the license sale of the products and the disproportionate share of maintenance business revenue stream- Vinnie has an excellent viewpoint on this theme, written based on previous quarter data. I think the world needs to know license sale details of acquired companies atleast 6-8 quarters post acquisition - this would be a key requirement for all stakeholders. From a customer perspective, the incentive to keep paying the hefty maintenance fee for support and the long wait for fusion and as Oracle keeps announcing new mergers – the anxiety levels are increasing and CIO’s may not be too enthused to have a big vendor becoming bigger and bigger by portfolio acquisitions and promising integration in the future. We may also additional interest in hosted solutions as well with some CIO’s. The sooner there is an alternative/ escape for customers to wriggle out of the maintenance albatross as we wrote earlier,it would be better for customers, product vendors (in new areas who are getting acquired by excess money coming out of existing applications) and to the entire ecosystem per se – we can do careful planning rather than worrying about who will get acquired by when and constantly reassessing new investments in newer areas. Lot more to write -shall try and do so in the coming days.
Scott Berkun, writesabout common problems that contribute unsatifactory/set up for failure efforts in the field of software development. Come to think of it - this is relevant for all initiatives where many human interactions happen in arriving at a final solution/product. He identifies common deficiencies as:
- General incompetence: Hiring the worst people, pay them poorly, give them bad equipment and unpleasant working conditions. - Unclear purpose: Goals never explained, the non existent business plan is never rationalized , too many changes on the way. - Unplanned design: Waiting as long as possible to think about what the customer’s experience should be, so that decisions that most impact the people have the fewest resources, the most constraints and the lowest possible probability of a quality outcome. - Poor engineering: People build things that frequently fail in dramatic, surprising and dangerous ways. He adds, Good things are easily to miss. They don't scream for attention. You have to cultivate the skill in finding good things, and pay attention to those around you that have a knack for finding them. But we, as consumers are so buried in things made for us by others that we've fallen into an arrogant attitude. We forget that behind every song, automobile, movie, or website was at least one person that slaved for months or years to make what we see. To understand good, or even great things, we have to turn our consumer instincts off, and think like creators. Whenever a good thing is seen, it would help to ask questions like: - How did they do this? - How much time did it take them? What techniques did they use? How many people were involved? - How did they engineer it to achieve the effects it has? - What training did they have? - How much of the engineering is even visible when I use it? - What makes it so good? etc.. An wonderful post - worth reflecting upon.
Following up the post on growth of mobile subscriptions in the next five years comes an interesting perspective. Pyramid research estimates that 1.37 billion new subscribers will be added to global mobile networks worldwide between 2005 and 2010(This number is slightly more than estimates from other sources). BRIC countries, will have an estimated 645m new subscribers – 42% of the world total.Two other very populous countries – Indonesia and the US – will each add more subscribers than Brazil over the next five years. The report also notes saturation in developed Asia & western Europe,developing markets offer the best bet for growth. .The important thing that the report highlights is about the different assessment of distribution about service provider revenues - less than 15% of total mobile service revenues will be generated from the BRIC countries(Typical bane of Asia - this is not due to exchange rate difference alone- am sure - we see this across several domain, technology and services).By contrast, the US mobile market will generate over US$800bn in service revenue,or 18.1% of the global mobile services market. Layers focused on new services and applications,content, mobile commerce and other new service platforms shall continue to focus on the US and Japan - which together will account for nearly 30% of all service and applications revenues generated by the mobile market around the world. Its not the same all across the world - not yet.
Ephraim Schwartz writes that Salesforce.com would have us believe that his company will become a major platform for enterprise application integration. This is not going to happen and adds that while Oracle is building an impressive software portfolio, neither Oracle nor its CEO Larry Ellison has enough time or money to buy every single enterprise software vendor. We may be left with SAP NetWeaver as a business process platform; Oracle's boast that it can offer everything from accounting to fulfillment, logistics, and more; Salesforce.com's Web services platform for third-party components; Microsoft Dynamics; and possibly IBM's Workplace middleware, which offers everything but the applications.It will take many years for the market to figure out who's right and who's wrong.He rightly concludes, pure-play on demand solutions will gain only limited acceptance in the enterprise. SOA will become a popular internal solution but, along with the so-called extended enterprise that drives it, will never quite get off the ground. M.R.Rangaswami points out that broader awareness of big software mergers is important in and of itself. The sense that young companies cannot make a go of it alone any longer, that they must find a "Big Brother" to take them under their wing, dampens enthusiasm of many software executives and investors. Adding this is the wrong reaction, he argues that innovation and opportunity continue to drive the software industry today - even in the face of these megadeals. Consolidation is most certainly accelerating. But still there are many small markets which continue to innovate and thrive. From a customer perspeective, once a single software vendor manages everything, the customer is beholden to that vendor. Smart CIOs know this-and are hedging their bets. They are balancing the right amount of business they give one vendor with the need to keep that vendor honest and serving them well. This fact ensures that small and mid-sized best-of-breed vendors will always have a place in the enterprise technology lineup. Steve Martin points out, “It's common knowledge that most high-tech acquisitions fail to live up to their promises and that most technology megamergers are made at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. In fact, very few actually create any real value; they actually increase the potential for company failure. In the end, each of these mergers can be labeled as either a destroyer, a loser or a winner”. Despite several rational reasons, it is a fact that the stories of failed mergers in the tech industry are far too innumerable to be ignored.
The speed and the undaunted aggression shown by Oracle amazes me. I wrote months back that I see a good reasoning behind Sramana Mitra’s assesement that Oracle shall definitely begin to look at a major WMS player for acquisition – identified as Manhattan. I said that Oracle certainly needs a strong presence in this nearby space co-residing along with Oracle WMS . Now comes the news that the candidate is GLog(Though technically GLog is not a pureplay/full fledged WMS player by itself). I see that this acquisition has more value for Oracle in that it is acquiring an entity operating in a space where Oracle is at best seen to be having a light presence. Oracle’s horizontal acquisitions may be seen to be a ploy to eat competition – but this one like the acquisition of Retek can be seen as better fit .With this proposed acquisition of GLog, Oracle gets stronger on paper with a compelling, comprehensive offering for supply chain and logistics management. Oracle and GLog have complementary products with a shared focus that information and adaptive business processes are key to achieving corporate supply chain goals. The key challenges would be: - Support for existing customers - Integration is going to be painful – time consuming and therefore by extension it may take a long time before the actual synergies in processes begin to show up. - TCO calculations may remain only on paper for a long time to come. - Integrated information infrastructure that Oracle talks about may be several miles away but a useful direction pointer - Roadmap for both existing oracle customers using similar solutions from oracle stable - Roadmap for GLog customers using SAP , other ERP solutions, Custom solutions - Talent retention and optimal usage inside the oracle world - Oracle’s execution strategy/strength would come into sharper focus – several quarters down the line – people would begin to assess its ability for showing accretive revenue and quantified synergy benefits that these mergers have provided oracle and its stakeholders – customers and investors alike. Not to forget the thousand that would lose jobs during the painful merger process. Overall industry level challenges: - Competing/Related players in the WMS segment – a few are private players and in general small niche players – they may have to protect their turf more carefully – the going may be more tough for them. - There are some merits in the thought that WMS/Logistics solutions are a little more amenable to hosted models compared to other business applications – we can see some increased activity here. What next for Oracle ( assuming its appetite for acquisition is still burning) – Some bold guesses here – some in content/document/records management space & in appserver/integration space, one more in supply chain space(weak players abound)& a few are part of a same ecosystem that had GLog very much within it,PLM(small players abound) ( Forget logic of Oracle already having some presence in these spaces – these do not matter in Oracle world). As like every other post in this blogsite - these are my private views.
Almost all vendors today talk about their SOA strategy – so much so today that it is very rare to come across someone who does not talk about it as a cornerstone of their strategy. It makes a lot of sense to watch the steps being taken by the big guys for SOA –for two reasons – for maximal search and there is a considerable expectation that through well defined SOA strategy, an entirely new stack of applications. Loosely coupled applications may arise to challenge entrenched vendors in the fast consolidating software industry. Composite applications are expected to comprehensively transform the enterprise ecosystem. Jeff Schneider has an excellent overview of the moves by the big four in their SOA strategy. His view on the approsches being taken by the big four:
Microsoft - Microsoft will make the WS-* protocol ubiquitous by pushing them into the operating system. This strategy is developer focused, once again hoping to create an ecosystem of applications sitting on top of their platforms (Foundation, .Net core and Windows).
SAP - Provide an application platform (NetWeaver), service enable their system (ESA) and create an ecosystem (Xapps).
Oracle – With applications space presence, oracle is concerned about the business services and processes. As J2EE stack is commoditized , it will use the WSDL as the new 'barrier to removal'.
IBM – With no toehold in the application space, IBM is in a bind – but courtesy IBM GSM, they may own customer’s technology due to their sheer strength and presence in managing outsourced process.
These clearly are indications (good ones as such)– no big vendor today has been able to clearly articulate their SOA approach and how these may transform theirs & customer landscape in say five years form now quite convincingly but Jeff has spotted the right traits,
The total number of cellular connections worldwide crossed 2 billion by mid september 2005 reports wirless intelligence. The growth rate is impressive - after clocking up 1 billion in 2002, 20 years after cellular was first launched, the 2nd billion came up in just 3 years, making it the fastest growing technology at that time. The GSM family of technologies, which includes W-CDMA, reaches its own milestone this month of 1.5 billion subscribers and it has 78% of the world market. One third of humanity has a mobile phone today. GSM worldpoints out that in many countries the cellular market is now maturing. There are several cases – such as Sweden, Italy, Austria, UK – where the market penetration is over 100% of the population. The opportunity in such countries is about trading up to new phones and new network services, such as 3G. The bulk of the new growth now is coming from large, less well-developed markets such as China, India, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa. India alone clocked a subscription close to 60 million by the end of July 2005 and is adding a minimum of 2 million new subscriptions every month. How do things look moving forward ? The cellular industry is expecting to ship around 750 million new phones this year. The cellular market is forecast to continue to grow at a high rate, although slower than recent years. Ovum estimates that the next billion subscription will take another five years The mobile easily qualifies to be the fastest technology ever adapted by mankind with a scale in excess of a billion users.
Kathleen Ohlson writes about the new SOA Maturity Model endorsed by leading players that allows IT managers and decision makers to assess their teams, projects and overall organizational capabilities. The model defines five levels of maturity: initial services, architected services, business and collaborating services, measured business services, and optimized business services. The framework is modeled along the lines of SEI –CMM models. Level 1 - Initial services focus on the application development and integration aspects of SOA. This level helps managers identify what function will be turned into a service, while figuring out technology needs and the best SOA approach. Level II - Architected services identify development and deployment savings through SOA, compared to using legacy applications or multiple one-time projects. Level III - IT and business departments can determine the best way to implement internal and external business processes through business and collaborative services, respectively. Level IV - Measured business services display processes to decision makers, so they know how SOA is impacting the business. Level V – Optimised services enable IT and managers to view how SOA becomes an enterprise’s nervous system, such as automatically taking action when a business rule kicks in. I am really surprised that business models could be defined so simplistically. My Take: Aligning information technology (IT) systems using services-oriented architecture (SOA) to provide end-to-end enterprise integration and virtualized IT services is a very involved effort. The SOA paradigm needs to be extended to transform organizational structures and behavioral practices. That means a whole host of technological, economic, governance issues needs to be assessed and addressed appropriately. New organizational structure that optimizes the workforce and streamlines cross-unit processes to leverage the new IT systems would have to be carefully thought out and implemented. An interwoven mixture of technological solutions, organizational structures and cultural underpinning is the key towards enduring success of SOA centric business transformations.
Nicholas carr writes that the adoption of OpenDocument as a standard is just one element of the state's ambitious plan. He points to the state's Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM), through which the state aims to make a transition "from siloed, application-centric and agency-centric information technology investments to an enterprise approach where applications are designed to be flexible, to take advantage of shared and reusable components, to facilitate the sharing and reuse of data where appropriate and to make the best use of the technology infrastructure that is available." He thinks that Massachusetts is doing the right thing in coming to grips with the problems inherent in the current model of organizational computing. Putting off the pain of adopting a better approach to managing information technology and digital data will only make the pain worse. The state has clearly given a great deal of thought to its plan, and it should see it through. Microsoft has said that it will not make its Office applications compatible with the OpenDocument format. He concludes that as a private company, it has every right to make that decision. What it doesn't have is the right to impose its interests on a government body - or, for that matter, on anyone else. Microsoft's response to state's draft standard and related queries are available here. The states format is available here. John udell writing on the issue points out that the The wizards of the futurewill be services that live mainly in the network, that receive and emit fairly simple XML formats, and that perform local processing (when needed) using portable run-time environments. Compound documents, embedded objects, and specialized data type editors are ancient ideas, these would be painted on a universal canvas not on a windows or a mac canvas. He adds, compound documents are no longer the static files they used to be.They’re as likely to be dynamic query results drawn from a collection of data sources. While it is great that Microsoft will make its XML formats the default for Office 12, and will enable legacy versions to read and write them. This move will open up vast reservoirs of content for search and recombination. OpenOffice.org is also maturing. The world needs a good alternative to Microsoft’s word processor and spreadsheet. But arguing about whose XML format should be the office document standard feels awfully retro., but it may be time for reinventing the office suite for a networked world - I totally agree .
The Symantec Internet Security Threat Report just released is an analysis and discussion of Internet security activity over the past six months covering areas like Internet attacks, vulnerabilities, malicious code, and future trends. The report notes about a marked shift in the threat landscape. Attackers are moving away from large, multipurpose attacks on network perimeters and towards smaller, more focused attacks on client-side targets. The new threat landscape will likely be dominated by emerging threats such as bot networks, customizable modular malicious code, and targeted attacks on Web applications and Web browsers. Unlike traditional attack activity, many current threats are motivated by profit. They often attempt to perpetrate criminal acts, such as identity theft, extortion, and fraud. Kim Claffy documents the problems the internet framework faces and proposes simple solutions. His presentation outlines 16 operational problems the internet faces today, some proposed solutions and implications to various stakeholders. Top engineering and operational problems, why they persistently resist solution, how different stakeholders are responding to these , proposed solutions – impacts on technology, society and regulators get covered as part of the presentation. The internet needs a lot more attention with aborted moves to shift to IPV6 bandwagon, despite its continued exponential growth.
InformationWeek’s annual 500 list, a collector's issue tracks the technology practices of what it calls as that of innovative companies is now out.A very unique study with lot of details collected and analysed through a structured methodology makes it a good read. With mechanisms like benchmarking,and Industry Segment Wide data made available, this becomes lot more interesting. The list of enterprises chosen are available here(Top100) and here(Top 500)
IT Spend The whole report and a series of accompanying articles are a good read - one important chart on (spending review left to right last four years starting 2001) that Iweek has published requires more careful reading and worth a lot more analysis – the declining IT budget as % of revenue across enterprises. With total IT spend increasing and well established IT users optimizing on investments clearly two things are happening: - New users/late users are beginning to invest lot more in IT - Lot more of IT is finding its way into newer areas.
LogicaCMG is acquiring Unilog SA, France's sixth-largest information-technology services provider, for 1.14 billion. Look at the Numbers : - < 2 times the sales - > 25 times the net profit Logica had been saying for sometime that it was looking at acquisitions in France and Germany in order to build scale and accelerate the return to profitability of Logica's units in those regions. Typically mergers are aimed at augmenting strengths in newer technologies, markets or broaden/improve the range of service offerings. By acquiring a company almost four/five times bigger than it in France, Logica is clearly getting stronger in French markets. France itself accounts for a significant size of Europe’s service markets. LogicaCMG's acquisition of Unilog will double the size of its German operations, providing a platform for growth in the region. Service firm merers are generally difficult to complete to deliver best results as cultural, methodology conflicts could be overwheleming - here is perhaps a case of two seemingly similar organisations coming together and hopefully a manageable merger at that. Over the past year, LogicaCMG has struggled in France and Germany, with both markets providing little growth for IT-services companies. Atos Origin SA and Capgemini SA also planning to seek acquisitions beginning next year, the market sort of heats up. With Siemens announcing, restructuring plans,the market is set in for a significant change. With India heeaquartered IT service majors also beginning to focus in the region more aggressively, coupled with a nearly static growth market in traditional areas, we shall see lot more efficiencies coming out .IBM seen as the leader by a significant margin here can be expected to push a little more aggressively to consolidate its leadership. These consolidation signs come as companies have shown increased demand for outsourcing, consulting and IT services in Europe giving a new thrust to the momentum in the market.