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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The just released trends in venture funding show growth and point to more activities.
Category :Venture Capital, Emerging Trends |
Monday, August 28, 2006
I wrote a note for the The Deep End column at Sandhill.com. While evryone today is busy talking about Enterprise 2.0,web 2.O, their current penetration into large business enterprises are nothing great to write about. I feel that the 2.0 Craze media coverage is ahead of reality. CIO's are preoccupied in managing the existing IT investements and hence the focus on enteprise software in the form it mostly exists today. Of late, traces of real innovation have been rarely spotted in the enterprise software sector - so complain a majority of stakeholders. If one were to think of the situation, it is clear that innovation, or lack thereof can be paradoxically seen to enjoy a well defined pattern of cause and effect relationship. This is clearly driven by the oft-heard maxim: consolidation is stifling innovation, and lack of innovation is driving consolidation. The raison d'etre for consolidation happens to be the ability to bring out positive outcomes based on bringing together supplementary and complementary offerings. In reality we are getting to see mega vendors racing to integrate acquired technologies into wide suites. This has an inevitable consequence - that of managing a maturing stack (which no doubt would consume significant efforts). With this lopsided approach towards gaining strength in the market, the mega vendors are forced to focus their energy and resources to integrating diverse and newly acquired technologies into so-called "best-in-class" enterprise suites. In reality it is seen that their original maturing IT stacks are holding back their powers of innovation as this absorbs substantial share of their R&D outlay. New ideas and new product development take a back seat - resulting in a slow pace of progress. This preoccupation of bringing together such new solutions as against developing new programs is certainly not a healthy trend. Owing to the consolidation frenzy, smaller firms are also focused on developing solution allied to mega vendors and larger brands and not necessarily focused on rolling out innovative products. Vendors tell us that customer demands, market dynamics, and technology advancements are pushing solution frameworks to be aligned towards an experience of end-to-end process fulfillment. This forces the vendors to acquire new functionalities faster and integrate them to increase the richness and appeal of their application stack. This leads to a situation where some tend to view that increasingly because of its value proposition getting based on its consolidated avatar, all enterprise systems are running the risk of being seen at its core as essentially the same. Of course, vendors would make us believe that there is so much of differentiation that provides an edge to their respective products. Leaving aside ROI assessments, feature and function comparison, market share or cost comparisons, vertical spreads, but seen from an end user perspective, mature enterprise software today seems to provide performance advantage just within a band. The hope for the future is based on the trends which show that componentized software products, interoperability standards and Internet technology will lead to a rich array of considered choices for enterprises to adopt. Software vendor's execution of their futuristic strategies would come into sharper focus as users would realize that migrating older instances and/or integrating them to other software will remain resource consuming and painstaking for some time to come. New solutions within enterprises shall find easy fitment to newly rearchitected products, capable of actualizing automation and transformation of processes end-to-end. Enterprises shall actively begin looking at new protocol adherences, standards and technologies in order to benefit from Web services/SOA frameworks. With large scale consolidations are happening within the industry, the basis of competition shifts from plain market muscle, promotions and fast moving abilities to providing future proof architectures and good support to business processes through repository centric integrated offering benefiting the business across the extended value chain. As I wrote recently , the enterprise software market will have to reflect and embark on an important restructuring and transformation to become more vibrant, broad based, innovative and bounce back as a serious contributor to the growth of the industry ecosystem and the business at large. Read the full note here.
Category :Enterprise Software, Emerging Trends |
I wrote in offshoring new technologies that even pure play consulting is increasingly getting offshored. I also brought out in february that amongst the innovations that indian headquartered offshoring firms are bringing,the ability to distribute work between various locations and the set of benefits that come along stands tall. Now we are seeing the benefits that offshoring has provided for technology solutions are getting extended to consulting as well. It is an age where increasingly we are seeing that western firms are getting more and more comfortable with offshoring vendor's technical and business process outsourcing capability. This means engaging them for technical and management consulting tasks — at a fraction of the cost of blue blooded consulting vendors say the Accenture's and IBM. (Note :Like all other posts this is my personal view and not in any way related to my employer.)The truth of the matter is technology's power and reach is becoming so entrenched that invariably it is becoming to be a case of technology and business consulting getting intertwined.
I have heard Mr.Murthy saying this 3-4 years back. I see a few doing this in action now. There are some who have been doing this before that as well. It is very likely that Infosys itself does this in some form. May be he is talking about substantially scaling up the model here - which itself is a really tough thing to do and can be definitely seen as being innovative. Afterall, consulting is about delivered value and it is part of the solution -to-the solution conundrum. All these are happening while the traditional big consulting firms are happy featuring golfers!!
Category :Consulting, Offshoring, Emerging Trends |
Saturday, August 26, 2006
As the world is awaiting the vision of free bandwidth, computing & storage to become a reality, several players are making related moves. After Amazon storage,now is the turn of amazon computing. Amazon clearly walks the talk. Amazon's CTO Werner Vogels recently again highlighted the importance of Amazon Web Services. He pointed out that Amazon.com technology and data is made available through the AWS (Amazon Web Services) e-commerce services. This, he added is a free Web-services interface for developers, which they can use to build (and charge for) their own applications on top of Amazon and there are about 150,000 of these developers and Amazon considers them important customers. With AWS and Amazon E-Commerce Service (ECS) exposes Amazon's product data and e-commerce functionality to create storefronts on the fly.
Category :Amazon, Emerging Trends, Emerging Technologies |
Adam Smith’s invisible hand seems to be working in the most visible way.
Category :Demogrpahics, Emerging Trends |
Friday, August 25, 2006
Sramana Mitra comes out with an amazing perspective about the VC and entrepreneurial maturity in the Indian ecosystem. With tech giants committing large investments in India and many VC firms upping their interest, she thinks that in today’s India, the commodity in short supply is good entrepreneurs. In VC parlance, fundable deals are few and far between. She points out that this goes back to India’s traditional role as the world’s back-office and the
“skill-set that has developed in India is that of engineering management and coding. The specifications are provided by teams elsewhere. Elsewhere, the market studies get done. Indian managers do not understand global technology markets. They have hardly had opportunity to learn this aspect of business. Entrepreneurs try to position products without knowledge of the product marketing discipline”.
She thinks that with tech services being the forte of India – VC’s may think that the entry barriers are low and the strong players may get stronger and the investment appeal may go down. VC’s may like internet, mobile, travel, matrimonial type of sites and investors need are looking at other areas like retail, real estate etc.. and she concludes that due to a number of such reasons that the Valley would continue to be the hotbed of technology innovation, which Indian back-offices can then implement and scale. Charles has similar set of concerns and thinks that with all the VC money flowing into India, a new startup model for Indian companies may emerge.
Category :India, VC |
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Am curently reading the book EIMONA, written by G.B.Prabhat. It is quite fascinating to read - set in the context of the changing lifestyle and value owing to prosperity and new found economic freedom where the normal is now the abnormal, and the abnormal, the normal. The novel attempts to bring forth the conflict between the old India that is struggling to retain its essence, and the new India of stock options, freshly minted millionaires, prenuptial agreements and layoffs. And the style of the book - superb and indeed gripping. Shall be posting a detailed review shortly, after full reading of the book. In the meanwhile, go to the booksite for additional buying information and reviews.
Category :Eimona, Books |
First it was Stephanie Moore. Gartner's Partha also sounded optimistic. Now, Dana Stiffler from AMR has come out with an excellent perspective on the state of affairs of India Inc. I liked Dana’s term of calling India Inc companies as Indian headquartered companies/India anchored companies. She points out that things are on fire – tremendous growth opportunities are being felt by these majors. The scalability shown by these players are real record of sorts. Dana makes a studied observation here –while all players are seeing increase in their cost structure, seen from a customer perspective - the benefits still outweigh the costs. They have no intention of backpedaling on their outsourcing and offshoring strategy. Another interesting thing to watch in Dana’s chart is the revenue/employee comparison between the global and Indian players. As I wrote recently, sourcing relationships actually encompass a wide array of choices given the dynamic nature of business and the intersections of various levels of capabilities that lay within enterprises and service providers. The increasing expectations associated with outsourcing are becoming difficult to meet. With a wide range of functions getting outsourced, the ability of the outsourcer to bind and manage all these functions meets with a varying degree of disruption. On the other hand, the service providers are coming under huge pressure to improve operational efficiencies and to maintain and enhance margins. So in essence, seen from a customer perspective, offshoring strategies need to be dynamically re-evaluated as the business needs, strategies, models and execution methods keep changing. Clearly for the foreseeable future, despite the higher salaries experienced in India and other offshore markets, customers can continue to work with their chosen offshore service provider out of the existing locations to maintain the cost advantage besides reaping a set of other known higher-order benefits in offshore outsourcing opportunities.
Category :Offshoring, India Inc |
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
So much of travel and limited time to write in the last 3/4 days. George Colony points to the fact that from a time when computers were used to track business and help with retrospective results, it has now come to a point where companies would stand to lose millions if technology stops working and therefore proposes that the term IT be replaced with BT and he thinks this conveys the fact that business is technology and technology is business.
Category :Innovation, Emerging Trends |
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Businessworld writes about the evolution of India’s first high tech ecosystem – in a way aping the fabled chinese city of Shenzhen. Interestingly for quite some time , shenzhen is trying to acquire a software city status like Bangalore. Sriperumpudur (almost chennai), from India’s Dallas where a former prime minister was assassinated, is now slowly emerging to be the Indian equivalent of Shenzhen. Nokia, Flextronics, Motorola, Foxconn all have invested here to manufacture telecom equipments here. There are three types of operators that have come to invest here – The OEMs like Nokia, Motorola, The EMS’s like Flextronics & Foxconn & the component manufacturers who work with the OEM & EMS players. In less than an year, the expectation is that 50% of shenzhen’s volume of mobile related components would begin to get rolled out of Chennai. (Shenzhen’s capacity is 50 million handsets an year)
Category :India, Sriperumpudur, Shenzhen |
Wherever I go, whichever part of the world, whatever be the context, in business meets, in the last three- four months, the most talked about thing is investment and more particularly private equity. In the US market itself, it is getting reported that the buyout business booms, with a total of $404 billion worth of deals done this year, double the pace seen a year ago ( The year before the number is said to be 180 billion dollars). I can recollect having seen atleast 4/5 cover stories in business magazines (not specialist finance magazines) that I came across in the same period – not counting the numerous article(s) that I have come across on the topic. In its elemetnts, for those not clear about what private equity is all about - a set of firms, the private investment bank or private equity company - that include well known names like the Carlyle Group, Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) etc, are setting the business climate in fire. These companies huge coffers, swelling from pension funds and private investors, specialize in acquiring a variety of companies, taking them private, "reengineering" them/stripping them/ extending them and then, usually, cashing out with a new stock offering or a sale to another company. I probably spend more time meeting people compared to the time that I spend to read/write(one of the reason that the volume of posts are coming down), I can confirm that based on mindshare and the type of players involved and deals that are being talked about, certainly private equity is almost in the centrestage of global business economy today. I have also written about private equity centered activities several times – just to point a few : here, here, here, here and some more. Now comes the news that Siemens business services may be grabbed by private equity folks. The key thing to remember here is that practically every business in the world today can get related to privtae equity plays - this can relate to business transacations of myriad natures - buy/sell/merge etc.
Category :Private Equity, Emerging Trends |
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Peter Rip finds that 2.0 is now in common usage.There is Web 2.0, Where 2.0, Business 2.0, Office 2.o,Enterprise 2.0, Advertising 2.0, Voice 2.0, Lunch 2.0, Business Development 2.0, Hindsight 2.0.
Category :The 2.0 Phenomenon, Emerging Trends |
Recently I wrote that more consolidation of ECM space appears plausible – that would be bringing together platform/infrastructure players, portal players, ECM players together. This was written based on Opentext buying Hummingbird and IBM offering to takeover Filenet. When the Filenet news came, I wrote that this is now going to bring into shaper focus the competition between the major players in the ECM/WCM space. Once can expect more action centered on acquisition by the majors – Oracle, HP, EMC & may be Microsoft( actually it has a different approach in terms of the product play than rest of the players – but ironically, in my view, if anybody they must be acquiring the likes of filenet – if not for anything else atleast for the customer base! And gain a firmer foothold). Almost all players in the ECM/WCM space may now be looking at merger/exit strategies that may include the well known players like Vignette, Interwoven, Stellant etc.. besides BEA. John Newton, co-founder of Documentum and the main force behind Alfresco writes on IBM buying Filenet as signifying that consolidation is truly on its way. He also confirms my earlier view that clearly, the reason for these mergers is not for technology, but for market share and customer base. As he sees it with the level of overlapping technology in these systems, the problems inherent in consolidating the repositories must be outweighed by the desire to consolidate customers. Alluding similarlity to the developments in late 80s and early 90s in the relational database industry when Oracle took on DEC’s RdB products and IBM purchased Informix, he says that these acquisitions can only accelerate the continuing consolidation of the industry. He too does not foresee Vignette & Interwoven to continue as standalone players for long. He further expects that the standardization process shall get accelerated - all the major vendors - IBM, Oracle, and EMC - have a reason to create a standardized way of accessing their repositories. it helps customers to access each other’s repositories and further provides a consistent way of accessing their own repositories. His insight : In the relational database world, standardization preceded consolidation, but in the content management world, it seems to be happening the other way around. Look for more action in this space in the months to come.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Oh Its not an internet bubble in the sky that crashed. I am talking about Boeing’s decision to disband the connexion initiative.Apparently, travellers inside the united states did not subscribe to this service in good numbers – generally transcontinental flights seem to have shown some traction in using the service. This also brings into question - the ability to bring associated on-demand services. But in-flight entertainment systems may step-in and provide some solutions. Think crazy - how about these systems also providing browsing facilities? I think every flight with a flying time for more than three hours should have this facility and probably its time to look at different ways of charging customers. A flat fee may not be the right model for this service – For someone like me doing a lot of transcontinental or long distance flights, Connexion is a dream come true and Boeing has a good chance to make this a good money earning service – in fact this may potentially become a very profitable revenue stream for Boeing moving forward if managed lot more imaginatively(variable pricing, loyalty points, co-branding etc) and promoted with lot more focus and aggression – for example flights fitted with connexion can carry a separate logo etc.. I definitely see the revival/rebirth of a similar service in future – the fundamentals – any analyst can compute and give – no. of laptops that fly every day – even 5 to 10% were to use .. we are talking about astronomical numbers here.
Category :Connexion, Emerging Technologies |
For sometime, people have been complaining about rising costs. Many have joined the chorus and some went to the extent of saying several things like India’s offshoring market share may go down from 80% to 10% in the next 4 years!! As I wrote recently, there are sustainable advantagefor indian headquartered majors. I was surprised to know that many of them who feel Indian is overheated and to my surprise, I noted that some of them who were so vociferous have not even visited the country.
I wrote about the dim prospects of e-learning riding the open source wave. The post evoked some strong reaction – perhaps more than most other posts would normally invite. Someone wrote to me whether I have ever been to any institution to write about them. Well elearning is evolving very fast indeed. I was in a major presentation on a global elearning initiative a few weeks back and I saw significant amount of interest shown in open source – that included discussions around Moodle and Sakai as well. I have seen quite a few commercial elearning packages getting implemented. I read with interest this development : Blackboard, a leading package claimed patent rights on certain tools/aspects of learning management systems. Blackboard claims that the patents only cover narrow company-created innovations. The open source community believes that Blackboard would leverage the patent to force competitors into expensive licensing agreements, thereby increasing costs and reducing innovation. The No Patent Wiki lists issues relating to the patents claimed by Blackboard. Theoretically speaking, leading edge open source applications can be best developed in the academic community – but I very much doubt that we can get together so may thinking hats in a sustainable way to come with a steady pace of consistent applications. The more I began to look at solutions like Moodle /Sakai, amongst the well known applications, the more I realized that one may need to do a lot more to make these global class live applications( just my views here). I do not necessarily subscribe to the notion that open source fosters innovation. Larry Mcvoy once wrote- “It is simply not possible for an innovative software company to sustain itself using an open source business model. For the record, I do not look at patenting as the same as innovation. Mcvoy says bitkeeper believes if the product is open sourced ,we would be out of business in six months .To build a financially sound company needs well-trained staff, who need to be paid well. If everything is free, how can I make enough money to keep building that product for you and supporting you? I can’t agree more.
Category :Open Source, eLearning, Emerging Trends |
Thursday, August 17, 2006
eWeek has an interesting note on the future of the IT Worker.With technology’s critical support to business getting more and more pronounced, The IT manager isn't going extinct. The next chapter for the IT worker could be promising, argues the authors of the book – “The IT Manager’s Handbook” and they believe that :
Category :Emerging Trends |
There are some interesting new trends on the Web, and it's the nature of a phrase like Web 2.0 that adheres to them, says Paul Graham. He finds that a lot is different now from 1998. Web sites look different. Startups operate differently. People use the Web in different ways. The changes were gradual, but if you have a gradual change of sufficient magnitude, it starts to become a different worldSome CEO’s of Web 2.O Companies respond to questions ranging from revenue models, marketing, competition and a whole host of issues. Interesting to read – given my call for a reality check there but the enthusiasm, initiative and energy seen in the web 2.0 ecosystem is indeed amazing. This is an interesting set of response :
No doubt - there are some smart people quoted herein - my views remain unaltered. I just finished reading this - Readers can draw their own conclusions.
Category :Web 2.0, Emerging Trends |
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Post IBM's proposed buyout of Filenet, the buzz about the consolidation in the ECM market is getting more & more shrill. For players like IBM, its 16 billion software business now contributes even more profit to the bottom line than services, and it's just now emerging as the $91 billion company's most dependable growth engine. (Actually this is insightful - The Annex Research estimates for 2006, software will account for 20% of IBM's revenues but 37% of its profits. Meanwhile, services, which represent 53% of revenues, account for 35% of profits, and systems and technology (mostly hardware products), which represent 24% of revenues, account for just 12%. IBM's software unit enjoys gross margins of 84.2%, compared with 35.9% for hardware and 27.7% for services). For players like HP, it’s a catchup game. BI Vendors could be buying out ECM players says this article,predicting more twists in the content management space. Bizarre, to say the least. If such a thing would happen, this would throw the BI players/ECM players into an awkward situation – they will lose their identity . Look at this BI operates on structured data and too often ECM players operate on unstructured/hybrid data. BI mostly operates on data built on transactions – It cant be said of ECM to the same degree. Look from a buyer perspective – what would he get out of such a combined play – NOTHING, TO SAY THE LEAST. Also it may be technically possible (though not so easy), to combine these together – this would be a heavy duty investment for any enterprise and would definitely not be more flexible or friendly to operate/extend and integrate with other applications. More consolidation of ECM space appears plausible – that would be bringing together platform/infrastructure players, portal players, ECM players together . The early results of acquisition of proximate space play show that this strategy is not delivering, well enough. The future of enterprise software lies in partnering meaningfully, consolidating where there is a clear rationale, but not to come together for the sake of coming together!!.
Category :Consolidation, Enterprise Sofware |
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Roger Ehrenberg points to a simmering click fraud issue similar in potential and nature to the google adclick issue - this time the issue centers around the chinese search engine Baidu search engine. Roger points to interesting posts laying out the basics - one poster laid out a pretty damning fact pattern indicating that Baidu might have internally boosted click results for a paid-search client costing that client millions of yuan (hundreds of thousands of US$). Apparently another post suggested that Baidu advertisers were protesting against supposed click fraud. While clearly Google has also taken steps to address this issue by providing data on click fraud it catches, and reporting these figures to advertisers , we have to see how Baidu responds to this . Roger points out that on issues involving Baidu, on a search, Baidu came back with only about 6,700 returns, while Google's count was closer to 45,000 (- 7x the number of Baidu). Something is brewing there in the middle kingdom – Baidu is so popular in China, I know for a fact that Google comes a close second to it in terms of popularity and usage within china.
Category :Baidu, Clickfraud |
Monday, August 14, 2006
Asian cultures, business and economic environments are very different and can be quite paradoxical - some of the best developed cities/countries -in terms of hard infrastructure may be the most difficult places to navigate through the business ecosystem and get business done effectively. In some developing nations, the pace of business/ mechansim of decision making can be back breaking. In some countries in Asia, government linked entitities may have the upper say/act as key influencers.. You have to realign your decision parameters for doing business for every country/every opportunity. Understanding and working in Asia Pacific markets, are quite tough, demanding and more of an art. Chris Traub rightly points out that Asia is now largest end market for semiconductors and other electronics manufacturing services. For any software that supports manufacturing, Asia is arguably one of the two most important markets in the world (along with the US).Some of the complexities that Asia brings out, as Chris rightly point out centered around geographical, cultural diversities - There are more than a dozen primary languages spoken in the region with numerous dialects and myriad regulations are in force varying from country to country besides logistical and infrastructural concerns. I wish someone had said this earlier – Chris is spot on - managing Asia Pacific is much more difficult than managing the U.S. as one market. Each nation is different from selling to managing to marketing - it is very complex. It is a unique skill to be an Asia Pacific manager. On a regional basis, the Asian manager needs to be above all else, a human "cultural systems integrator". This person must integrate the needs and vagaries of all of Asia's diverse markets. They must integrate the wide-ranging capabilities of professionals and managers with capabilities that are frequently immature relative to U.S. standards. Software vendors must assume that the regulatory environment in most Asian countries is complex (with the exception of Hong Kong and Singapore.) Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and India all create very confusing circumstances with their diversity. There is significant favoritism which encourages local dominant players. I have not so far met him, but I understand from his profile that he has stayed for long in china - so read his views about china and its potential as a market and its other capabilities more closely – I can say that its definitely insightful . One point where, I disagree with chris is his view of open source in china but he is correct in his assessment of limited adoption of on-demand in Asia. I would also loved if he had included his perspective about the type of people including their background (could be from other industries as well), joining the technology industry, besides additional coverage of the indian ecosystem. Read more of his well thought out views on must-haves for leading in Asia.
Category :Asia, Emerging Markets |
Sunday, August 13, 2006
The just concluded, Apple’s worldwide developers conference saw an interesting keynote address, bringing forth a near WOW effect centering on new forms of innovation. At a time when the world is seeing a challenging phase ahead for wintel with IBM PC’s which just completed its 25TH anniversary last week, Apple continues to chug along. The numbers say it all: Some reports suggest 17 million visits to Apple Stores. Of the 1.33 million Macs sold in the previous quarter, 50% were first time Mac buyers. US$500 million of third party software was sold through Apple stores. The growth rate for Macs was reported as faster than that of the PC market, and Apple's notebook market share had doubled (from 6% to 12%).. A good coverage of the event is available here.
Category :Apple, Emerging Technologies, PC |
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Stephanie Moore writes that major global service providers continue to lose ground to large Indian firms, especially in the application services market. She finds that the tier one Indian providers have continued to thrive while most legacy service providers have posted minimal to negative growth and goes on to assert that Indian firms will continue to grow — and not just because they are a lower-cost option but they have caused a fundamental and structural change in the service provider/client relationship. More importantly, she nails the fact that offshore providers have taught clients to expect transparency, efficiency, and accountability in service delivery. Stephanie, well known in the analyst community/industry for her superior understanding of the Indian offshoring phenomenon earlier wrote how Accenture & Cap Gemini are scaling/distributing/perfecting their global delivery models.
Category :Offshoring, Emerging Trends |
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Filenet gets acquired. The US$1.6 Billion deal, is said to be IBM’s biggest in three years and fourth-largest to date. It is the latest in a string of acquisitions to boost software sales, the most profitable of IBM's three main product lines. I wrote atleast two months back about the likelihood of Filenet getting acquired. Filenet is a good match for at least two other majors – HP & Oracle. Earlier rumors suggested that Oracle could be an interested player to buy Filenet out.
Category :Acquisitions, Filenet, Enterprise Software |
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The effect that web technologies can be having on commerce, media, and business are indeed quite significant – sometimes it can border close to being revolutionary. I have to agree with Richard McManus on the fact that outside of the 'edublogosphere', there's been little coverage of the impact it is having on education. Across different regions, I definitely see that the potential of blogs, media-sharing services and other social software are getting integrated within e-learning frameworks successfully – all these have the effect of greater empowerment for all involved in elearning. I have been reasonably involved in a few leading edge elearning initiatives to confirm this. Steve O’Hear elaborates –"The traditional approach to e-learning has been to employ the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), software that is often cumbersome and expensive - and which tends to be structured around courses, timetables, and testing. That is an approach that is too often driven by the needs of the institution rather than the individual learner. In contrast, e-learning 2.0 takes a 'small pieces, loosely joined' approach that combines the use of discrete but complimentary tools and web services - such as blogs, wikis, and other social software - to support the creation of ad-hoc learning communities. Look at these :Blogging is getting leveraged by students – both for individual publishing to focused community efforts like even book publishing. Even podcasting seems to be gaining significant currency. Apple, focusing substantially on the education sector has tied up with Stanford to create the Stanford iTunes University - which provides a range of digital content (some closed and some publicly accessible) that students can subscribe to using Apple's iTunes software. What’s novel herein - Swap 'user-generated content' for 'learner- generated content' and you soon get the picture.Flickr is also finding use in the education community – students/instructors use the features of annotating and discussing on Flickr. Myspace has almost gained the status of a must for students all over and videosharing sites like Youtube are beginning to get used. No wonder why Google worked out this deal. Clearly education/elearning would look very different within a decade – opening the gates for new technologies, players and techniques.
Category : eLearning 2.0, Emerging Trends |
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
With new wave of entrepreneurism all around, organizational consultants of all kinds generate record levels of business. Dilbert can’t be left behind. Here he is – with a mission statement generator. It can amazingly combine range of adverbs, verbs, nouns & adjectives – a well compiled list is available therein. A sample mission statements looks like this :
We envision to dramatically coordinate principle-centered paradigms so that we may assertively network high standards in methods of empowerment to exceed customer expectations.
Scott Adams is simply superb.
Category :Dilbert, Mission Statement |
Nial Kennedy leaves microsoft. He joined a few months back as part of the rejunevated Microsoft's Windows Live division ,to create a new product team around syndication technologies such as RSS and Atom and build a feed syndication platform leveraged by Microsoft products and developers all around the world. The reason for his departure and the inside information(which most in the external world anyway thought was happening inside Microsoft) he shares makes disturbing but insightful reading:
The Windows Live initiative got off to a huge start, with lots of new services created and an "invest to win" strategy in the new division. There were so many new programs created and headcount opening up Microsoft told Wall Street it would be spending $2 billion more than anticipated in the short-term to cover these new costs including over 10,000 new hires over the last fiscal year. The stock plummeted on the recent announcement Microsoft did not have its costs under control. Windows Live is under some heavy change, reorganization, pullback, and general paralysis and unfortunately my ability to perform, hire, and execute was completely frozen as well. If we had the resources I truly believe we could have tackled the number of users Hotmail, Messenger, Spaces, or even Internet Explorer might supply, and then ask for more by opening up the platform to the world. I was able to borrow resources here and there, but there was no team being built around the platform in the foreseeable future. I could have stayed at Microsoft, waited for the other 85% of the company to ship their products, and then hope support for my group might be back on track again, but I didn't want to sit around doing little to nothing until Vista, Office, and Exchange ship.
As I see it, It’s a telling statement to make : "It's easier to get funding outside Microsoft than inside at the moment, so I am stepping out and doing my own thing." If anything Microsoft should be funding , in my view dozens of such initiatives –particularly those centered around the web – no point in just saying that it would improve its presence and offering on the web. Seasoned corporate observers would know that exits like this or statements like this may not be entirely relied upon for making judgments on a corporation, but here several things point to the possibility of this being more real than otherwise. Somebody said Microsoft is increasingly behaving more like IBM ( am talking about slow pace of innovation and giant letting emerging opportunities pass by)– Its probably proving to be right. These are the things that aggregated Microsoft R&D expense chart would not show.
Category :Microsoft, Emerging Trends, Innovation. |
Monday, August 07, 2006
Last week's SandHill.com Op-Ed by Guy Smith doomed the enterprise software industry to a future dominated by open source. A collective rebuttal by the Enterprise Irregulars to the argument asserts that any obituary of enterprise software is premature indeed as can be seen here. Excellent read from various set of people – each of them quite involved in the enterprise software industry in different ways.
Category :Open Source, Enterprise Software, Emerging Trends |
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Seth Godin’s new book: Small is the New Big makes an interesting reading - seth provides explanation on what makes an idea take shape and attain meaning. As he sees it, for an idea to be spread, it needs to be sent and received and bothe sender and receiver must have specific differentiated reasons to do so and ofcourse this needs to be done effectively and be seen as value adding to both. Case in point : No one “gets” an idea unless:
Category :Entrepreneurs, Emerging Trends |
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Tom Evslin comes out with a brilliant post. He replies to the query :
“What is the one thing you do daily which is the key to your success as an entrepreneur?”.
Pointing out that in the past he has seen mixed results in terms of success as an entrepreneur and while noting that a successful entrepreneur imbibes factors like irrational exuberance, hard work, leadership, and contrary thinking - he is clear that these are not there to be seen on a daily cycle. He thinks the entrepreneur’s pulse of the business lay in the numbers and the type of metrics that he/she is monitoring is critical. Instead, he claims that it’s an obsession with the daily metrics of whatever business one happens to be in. The numbers obsession meant that one knows about all problems - usually - before customers did and helped understood the business and, by example, created a culture of attention to the metrics and the rhythm of the service. I fully agree with him - numbers can be set to show both lead and lag indicators and matte-of-fact can be disaggregated and rolled up to get different perspectives, depending on the situation at hand. It may also be true that different entrepreneurs may tend to take a different set of view based on same numbers, but, nonetheless, without these no doubt there can never be a sustainably profitable and growth business. The best part of the note is not to have an obsession with daily metrics like watching stock price. I do know of few cases where entrepreneurs/executives focused on just the stock market( after all over a perios of time, the stock price would rely mostly on business performance –barring the once-in-a-while blips) failing to comprehend the signals and losing the critical ability to sense, track & respond to the business needs – in fact I argue that without these, no business can ever hope to be successful.
Category :Entrepreneur, Business |
Also listen to Eric talking about how some thought that Google is run by idiots and how it too faces problems like every other enterprise.
Category :Acquisitions, Emerging Trends |
Sony, the second largest consumer electronics player is forced to play catch-up in critical electronics products such as MP3 digital music players and flat-panel TVs. Despite its profit in the AMJ quarter, fact remains, Sony’s problem remains quite deep. Sony’s first non-japanese CEO Howard Stringer has ordered 10,000 job cuts by March 2008, of which 9,600 have occurred. That amounts to about 6 percent of Sony's global payroll of 158,500. Sony has already sold off 113 billion yen of assets and lowered its stake in a Japanese retail chain that sells candy, cosmetics and other trinkets unrelated to electronics. It also scrapped its Aibo pet robot division and stopped making plasma TVs. Now comes the news that Sony may after all choose to sell its historic headquarters building in Tokyo besides some of its properties in Shinagawa Ward,Tokyo, where the company was born. Selling corporate headquarters building is an emotional issue and particularly if it is in costly Tokyo city. Sony is one of the wonders of the 20th century - hopefully under Howard's steering, it turns around and regain its lost glory.
Category :Sony, Emerging Trends |
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