Digital Home and Digital convergence are hot topics – these are expected to change the lifestyle of people atleast in rich countries to start with and more importantly open up new opportunities for business in allied areas. Initiatives like DAVIC, MCNS were launched to work towards standardisation and specifications.As we stock of the situation – it is clear that disarray defines the state of "digital convergence, & true convergence remains elusive and shows no sign of happening in the near future. IHT writes,"The development of a seamless digital home is happening only gradually," quoting Rudy Provoost, head of Philips Consumer Electronics, who adds “We are still a way off from the truly digital environment, but we are making progress each year." Some say the progress is haphazard and barely perceptible. Harbor Research observes, current efforts are “a fragmented landscape full of narrow-point solutions, time-sink gadgetry, entertainment obsession and software/platform incompatibility." Philips identifies two reasons why the seamless digital household was only slowly taking shape.
A. Companies such as Philips are being forced to work with competitors or outsiders in unrelated fields – companies (like Microsoft, IBM, Yahoo) provide content or software, for example - to sell their latest digital hardware. This means that for Philips, "the days of being a stand-alone maker of home electronics are long over phase is characterized by major manufacturers building multilateral alliances to advance digital technology.
B. A second and more thorny hurdle, is lack of activism form the regulatory authorities in removing regulatory barriers to the spread of digital technology. Differing copyright laws across the region and lack of a common digital broadcast standard. For global device makers like Philips, the multitude of standards is complicated and costly. The approach differs fundamentally from earlier approaches like standardizing GSM mobile standards, which facilitated rapid adoption of mobiles across the world.
Mobile middleware provides the "black box" technology connecting mobile devices on the front lines of the enterprise to the back-end applications running on corporate servers located behind the firewall. Mobile middleware allows mobile devices with different capabilities to communicate with the complex programs that reside on the enterprise server, regardless of compatibility issues that might otherwise thwart a direct connection between the two. These compatibility issues include differences between operating systems and applications, or even the memory and processor characteristics of the accessing devices. Mobile middleware market includes a broad range of different application types, from customer-relationship management (CRM), field sales and service to asset management and tracking, To date,CRM covers a big part of the mobile-middleware market by leveraging customer information or helping field workers get the information they need. Beyond customer-service applications for mobile workers, there is mobile-workforce management, a set of middleware applications designed to track time and travel expenses.There is a growing number of mobile security applications, the foremost being centrally controlled mobile-device lockdown, encryption and authentication. Avantgo has come out with a mechanism to leverage infrastructure to do paperwork-replacement applications. With almost countless offerings in the mobile-middleware market, enterprise customers looking to enhance the capabilities of their traveling workers have plenty of good options to consider today. As the technology matures and major industry players push toward better standardization and interoperability, these options will only get better. The challenges in mobile integration are going to be lot more with lot more.
Matt Blumberg points to an interesting chart - a significant one at that - literally talking about life changing impact of technologies and their adoption. Mankind has been adopting new technologies faster and faster over the last century. The surprising element is the faster adoption of the new age technologies. The chart, from a report issued by the Dallas branch of the Federal Reserve, shows the U.S. household penetration of new technologies on the vertical axis and years from date of introduction on the horizontal axis.The adoption of internet and the mobile phone may record to be the fastest adoption by mankind of any new technology. I guess that these two may also score to be the most quickly embraced technology in big numbers globally across rich and poor nations. Pointer of things to come in the flat world?
Kathy Sierra has an interesting post on the changing face of marketing. She writes with good insights, it's so trendy to diss marketing. Especially if you're in engineering, product design, or virtually anything but marketing. In this new open-source/cluetrain world, evryone is a marketer.If you're interested in creating passionate users, or keeping your job, or breathing life into a startup, or getting others to contribute to your open source project, or getting your significant other to agree to the vacation you want to go on..Congratulations. You're in marketing. The difference between what we now consider "old-school marketing" (otherwise known as The Four P's - Product,Price, Promotion, and Placement - heavy on advertising and "branding") and the "neo-marketing" we're doing here is frickin' huge. When people are passionate about something, and in a state of flow-and you have contributed to that by helping users/members learn and grow and kick ass-these are some of the happiest moments in their lives. Trying to promote more of that is something we should feel wonderful about, not guilty. (Pic : Courtesy Kathy Sierra)
Adi Oltean of Microsoft has technical insightson how GMail will evolve in the near future and concludes that GMail will offer around 3 GB around Jan 1 2006. Going by the article, Gmail already offers 2.5 GB space to users- can anyone confirm about this. Oh.. Interesting. As an active Gmail user, am happy – but it would be interesting if Google can publish statistics about usage of storage space in mailboxes, details how many times they are accessed, average mail size, geographical spread etc. Also an indication of spam volumes..( We won’t ask about content nature – though google may know about it very well). This may become an useful set of measures to track - am sure with Google's strategy to integrate all collabarative components & Gmail, certainly the rules of the game are set to change. With rival Yahoo announcing new search functions following its much spoken about plans to overhauling to make web mail look like desktop mail, the email market is becoming a hot place of action..
Jim Moore writes, "The world of informal media now has two main legitimizing institutions, each of which has its strengths and weaknesses". - The first are the A-list bloggers - They hold their places in large part because they do important work for the community, and they do it diligently and well. They got where they are by dint of contribution. The downside is that network effects have locked these folks in, and they represent a particular subset of the burgeoning world of informal media. It is difficult for new folks to break in now, and this may become a problem as the blogosphere expands. - The second is Google page rank. Non-transparent, mysterious, but very legitimizing for some purpose. Essentially, Google turns the links that folks maintain on their web sites-the link rolls, the pointers, etc, into an implicit tagging system. The good news of this system is that it can encompass an almost infinite range of topics, as many topics as can be meaningfully described in keyword searches. And it is quite open in that a new, ermergent topic can be established, gather a cluster of links, and become searchable without any human intervention or permission and even notice on the part of Google. The downside is that Google ratings do not show much personal expert judgement, they are slow to stabilize around a new topic, and tend to point to works back in time rather than current contributions. Of course there are legitimizing institutions, with powerful if specialized influence like Slashdot . Commercial blogs like Boing Boing are playing an important role. Tags on de.licoi.us are coming on strong, within the community of active, hard core digerati. But we need a lot more.
Paul Graham writes, "In the past there existed a corporate ladder. In the past, a position on the corporate ladder was genuinely valuable, because big companies tried not to fire people, and promoted from within based largely on seniority. A position on the corporate ladder had a value analogous to the "goodwill" that is a very real element in the valuation of companies. It meant one could expect future high paying jobs. One of main causes of the decay of the corporate ladder is the trend for takeovers that began in the 1980s. Why waste your time climbing a ladder that might disappear before you reach the top?
That's less the rule now. Our generation wants to get paid up front. Instead of developing a product for some big company in the expectation of getting job security in return, we develop the product ourselves, in a startup, and sell it to the big company. At the very least we want options. The corporate ladder was one of the reasons the early corporate raiders were so successful. It's not only economic statistics that ignore the value of safe jobs. In the new model, it seems a bad plan to treat jobs as rewards. Plenty of good engineers got made into bad managers that way. And the old system meant people had to deal with a lot more corporate politics, in order to protect the work they'd invested in a position on the ladder.The big disadvantage of the new system is that it involves more risk. If you develop ideas in a startup instead of within a big company, any number of random factors could sink you before you can finish. For better or worse, the idea of the corporate ladder is probably gone for good. The new model seems more liquid, and more efficient. But it is less of a change, financially, than one might think.
(Via Silicon.com) New research indicates that companies providing IT products and services will continue to increase their use of outsourcing agreements in order to lower overhead expenses. Evans Data survey finds, 33 per cent of businesses surveyed intend to increase their use of outsourcing during the next year, while only 6 per cent said they are planning to decrease their number of outsourcing pacts. In terms of overall workload, 45 per cent of respondents to the Evans survey said they outsource less than a quarter of their development operations, with only 7 per cent reporting that they farm out better than 50 per cent of that sort of work. Companies are focused increasingly on outsourcing as a way to cut costs rather than find specific expertise, reversing a trend of years past. A significant number of enterprises said that saving money was their primary goal in adopting outsourcing pacts, while a lesser number specified expertise as their objective.The situation has changed in five years – while in 2000 only 15 per cent of the companies surveyed in 2000 listed cost cutting as a main driver for outsourcing, while 44 per cent said they used the arrangements specifically to garner skilled talent. Researchers at Evans said that they expect the trend toward budget-related outsourcing to continue to grow. Another interesting result of the survey highlights lot more companies planning to spend more on IT over the next year.
Ben Trott provides a fresh perspective on Ping mechanisms. Generally tools have pinged weblogs.com and blo.gs for years. But of late, there are more and more parties interested in receiving direct pings, rather than federating based off of the updates that weblogs.com and blo.gs have always propagated. It's a bit ridiculous to suggest that direct pinging is the only possible technical way to find out about updates to a site. Google and other search engines seem to do pretty well in keeping their indexes current, even though they don't receive any pings. And they're indexing billions of web sites, while there are only tens of millions of weblogs. The ping federation was expected to solve at least some of the problems, but has not done till now . With Services like TypePad and LiveJournal, the issue of authentication & spam pings is not as problematic – they can now on – with a stream of updates to blogs on services that listeners can watch.
Talks to sell A.T. Kearney, the high-end consulting arm to another consulting firm, Monitor Group, collapsed after negotiations failed to yield an acceptable agreement.EDS bought A.T.Kearney about a decade ago for around $600 million. A.T. Kearney had revenue of $806 million for all of last year employs over 3,200 people in 35 countries, had an operating loss of $10 million in the period. Earlier, EDS in a bid to make A.T.Kearney independent, the company's headquarters was shifted to Chicago and new advertising campaign was launched that didn't include the "An EDS company" tagline. As the move did not yield results,EDS believes "it's in the best interest of A.T. Kearney to have a new ownership”. In June EDS said it had shifted its plans for A.T. Kearney, opting to sell the business to an outside party and abandoning pursuit of a management buyout. Who could be the takers? How about offshoring companies- they may be worried about the high cost structure and negative cash flow - but this also opens up a fresh question - what specific value can A.T.Kearney provide to acquirers .In the consulting arena, just as in technology sector, the cost structures are changing - India HQ vendors are definitely attempting newer ways of providing services in the consulting space as well.They would be concerned about mucking their profitability streams, if they plan to acquire A.T.Kearney with its existing cost structure and its mode of operations.Some one not having a established consulting practice - trying to move up the value chain,can perhaps consider - even though the cost may appear to be high.
(Via New Scientist) Personalising searches has long been a challenge. Search engine Vivisimo allows searchers to personalise pages manually by clustering the results of ambiguous searches. This allows subsequent searches for "jaguar", for example, to group pages into separate categories for cats and cars. An upcoming search tool will comb hard drive and work out personal interests before serving up web pages tailored to one’s taste. The search engine shall automatically ranks results according to information about your personal interests it gathers from your PC. Wow - Same query may result in varied results depending on the machine from which you are searching - one result in office desktop, another in blackberry and yet another at home. Different results in Office goer's PC, College goer's PC, Teenager's PC.. Quite interesting - it may become the case that a person is better known by the system that he carries/uses.. Interesting indeed.
(Via IHT) In Japan, Yahoo has already made 50 percent of its PC content available on Yahoo Mobileincluding news, finance, shopping and travel services. The need for mobile readiness is particularly acute for certain services like auctions. About 10 percent of bidding at Yahoo Japan is already conducted via mobile phone.The phone screen and the Internet content underneath is almost always controlled by the mobile carrier. Yahoo and the other major Japanese portals, like Excite Japan, MSN and Goo, see that barrier breaking down, and they are investing heavily in their mobile phone content. The number of Web sites designed for viewing on cellphones is starting to catch up with the number of pages designed for PCs. There are 400 million to 500 million searchable Japanese-language Web pages, compared with 60 million mobile Web pages. Including carriers' pages, the cellphone total goes up to an estimated 100 million. The proliferation of cellphone Web pages is likely to surge again with the advent of "number portability," which allows subscribers to hold on to their phone numbers when switching service providers, and is likely to be introduced next year. When that happens, competition among carriers will increase and subscribers will gravitate to content from portals like Yahoo, which users can get irrespective of their carriers.
OECD’s Communications Outlook 2005 report finds the communications industry has returned to profitability but developments in Internet technology are challenging the role and business model of traditional telecoms companies, creating pressures for a new approach to industry regulation. Some key findings: - From 2003 onwards, the number of fixed phone lines actually fell in OECD countries, with mobile operators gaining market share at the expense of the traditional telecoms companies. - VoIP presents a challenge to mobile telephones, which in many countries are now more numerous than fixed connections - OECD countries reveal an average saving of 80% by using VoIP for international calls over traditional carriers. - Wi-Fi hotspots in cities, will provide tougher competition for 3G mobile operators - Service operators will increasingly offer integrated video, voice and data products in a single service package.
we had been covering the advancements in SOA and mulitple perspectives in adopting SOA within the enterprise. In respect of business, SOA is fast becoming vitalto the enterprise not just as this gives insight into the right way to approach IT - platform independence, reusable code, and so on - but because it furthers the ongoing "business-ification" of IT.For most companies today, IT doesn't just serve the business, as increasingly IT becomes the business. SOA permits the rapid realignment of that nervous system to suit the organism's needs without limiting its ability to change again tomorrow as the economy and competitive environment evolve. In this context, we see that the process of initiating SOA is always challenged along the lines of How to do application partitioning and decompose into granular components and the means to develop/extend and deploy these. After all new platforms and tools have always characterized new phase advancements in IT. SOA adoptions inside the enterprise - the applications may be enhancements/integration of existing applications or in few cases new set of applications. The adoption seems to be a rising curve – meaning we may get to see a lot more of this in the days to come. SOA is a complete overhaul impacting how systems are analyzed, designed, built, integrated and managed. And not just some systems - all systems including packaged applications like ERP. SOA is first and foremost about a network of services. The value of an enterprise’s service network is directly related to the effort of creating/obtaining services and making them available. All networks require a critical mass of 'valuable services' before they become useful to the consumers Amy Wohl writes, For SaaS the promise of SOA is compelling. She points out that if we can craft libraries of standard components and offer them as the basis for net-native applications, and then permit customers to request an application that is better suited to their needs by calling out the right combination of components (that will automatically work with each other and with the customer's data sets), that would be truly exciting. This may very likely happen first in well understood horizontal applications like CRM, where the maturity of the application makes it likely that we can understand exactly how to refine the components and just what choices to offer users. Or it might happen in well defined vertical markets like segments of the insurance industry or of manufacturing. Specific insights & standards will make it possible to make the leap from offering a standard application to offering applications created by SOA to the customer needs and envisions that "In future when we take multiple applications based on these components and integrate them to support a complex process, spanning across multiple business partners, SaaS may have a real advantage, as across the supply chain visibility can be achieved with browser based interfaces for various stakeholders across the supply chain for interactions". Neat - the challenge is in execution, but the idea masks several real life complexities.
Rajesh points to a guest post in Om Malik's Blogsite by Robert Young wherein Bob highlights that the internet has a deflationary effect on every industry it touches, whether it be financial services, travel, printing & publishing, media & entertainment, or telephony. Google’s strategic plan it seems is to obviously leverage deflation to its own advantage. He adds, "Google’s recent moves show that they are using “free” to gradually devalue of Microsoft’s assets, and thus its market cap. This is part of a mutation of the OS into a whole new animal. Google with their desire to build a comprehensive “platform will make Microsoft’s entire strategic plan and mission, which revolves around the continued proliferation and dominance of the desktop PC operating system, obsolete by making Google itself the (virtual)operating system". In the future, all computing devices, whether it be the PC, mobile phone, TV, etc., will simply be terminals that “plug-in” to Google’s massive server grid and application services. With the increasing price/performance of CPUs, memory, bandwidth, and storage, Google’s strategic edge will be based on their advantageous cost of processing bits. Free services, supported by advertsing become the new model (user should be comfortable sharing data & behavious though). In future google shall provide solutions for meeting all computing needs & Bob writes tantalisingly that hardware devices shall be bought based on such criteria. This way, Google is using the internet to systematically devalue Microsoft’s assets, forcing a “Microsoft’s Black Monday” on the wall street in future. David card adds Google is leveraging themantra that built Microsoft: who controls the UI controls the user; who controls the API controls the programmer. Great businesses are made of this.
True as with a slew of recent product launches, Google has made software developers as key stakeholdersin the success of its initiatives. Google is supporting standards and providing hooks intended to let outside developers create add-on products. Just as Microsoft’s developer driven -"ecosystem" of applications running on Windows and Office, its desktop application suite, helped microsoft immensly, Google is now trying to re-create a similar ecosystem on the Web. The News.com article rightly points out that almost all Google's services are accessible via APIs, which give software developers the documentation needed to build add-on products. Google's latest services underscore the company's efforts to create a platform on which to build add-on products and services. While Google's products are not a replacement OS, but the collection of tools released thus far serve the same purpose. Even products that run on Windows PCs, such as Google's Picasa photo-editing software, could tie back to Google's online services. Google is intelligently rebatching Microsoft desktop products/services as its. In perpetuating the Web as development platform, Salesforce integrated its CRM services with Google Maps and is toying with a few other Google services, including AdSense and Sidebar. Adam Gross of salesforce.com highlights that companies, such as eBay, Yahoo and Amazon.com, treat their Web sites as customizable platforms, & offers a starkly different technology vision to developers than traditional software companies do.It is slowly leading to a situation where one model says build for Windows and the Microsoft 'stack'; the other says build for the Internet. The platform of the future shall not be focussed on controlling the hardware but it is going to be around access, community, collaboration & content. Amazing vision - getting executed very well in very high stakes game - clearly the rules of the game are changing.
Informationweek has come out with a report om comparing Hosted CRM Solutions. The article prefaces by writing that this is not an endorsement to use hosted CRM within enterprises and asks enteprises to assess by deciding whether to turn over something as critical as CRM to an outside party calls for soul-searching on both the IT and business sides- as customer relationships are the core of your business. A careful consideration about whether getting a single CRM system from an outsourcer help salespeople do their jobs better is neesed. Questions like should entire customer database reside in the hands of a third party? Would the CRM provider stick around? What are its service-level agreements- won't it have service-provider or software problem that may not be fixed right away? For business processes that are unique, can an outsider offer the flexibility you need?. All need to be answered beforehand.
The comparison results are available here . The report concludes saying by testing services from Entellium Corp., NetSuite, RightNow Technologies, Sage Software (formerly Best Software), Salesforce.com and TriVenture, which resells Microsoft Corp.'s CRM offering through its CRM OnTarget service. The Iweek Editor's Choice award goes to Sage Software's SageCRM.com 5.7, which wowed us with its well-designed interface, though the competition is hot on its heels and all the offerings leave room to improve. I just looked at the Features List of the products compared and found that there was little differentiation across the product features - this clearly shows that this is under evolution and it is not inherently amenable to any great product level differentiation - though innovative features or the first to roll out like Sforce providing results as RSS Feeds could give it a temporary lead in mindshare - but nothing that others can't catch up- I wonder how medium to large enteprises could even consider these small feature list packages. I am a little surprised that Siebel, the key player in this space, claiming some 28,000 customers on hosted services alone did not take part in this review. My mind went back several years back when commercial magazines used to compare small financial accounting packages or desktop productivity tools / PIM packages. Looks to me that hosted CRM solutions are getting similar treatment - no complaints here.
Several people ask me on norms & guidlines for corporate communications blogging. Deutsche Bank has come out with a crisp report on blogging for corporate communications. Corporate blogs are still in their infancy. Their number is estimated to total 5,000 in the USA. The trend is booming, though. Traditional media, such as newspapers or television, have begun to integrate blogs in their websites. Companies are assigning employees or external authors to deploy blogs as a public-relations tool or as a way to disseminate product information.
For corporate communication management, blogs fall into three different levels of significance: A. The blogosphere offers a new communications arena and can influence public opinion on the company. B. Customers, experts (e.g. software developers) and aficionados of certain products are among those who seek publicity as bloggers. Company employees also use private blogs and may possibly voice opinions in them on company-specific issues. C. Companies can use blogs as a communication tool (corporate blogs).
The report also discusses about strategic issues covering the areas of monitoring, policies and corporate blogs . A good report though scores low on specific insights.
We have been covering in this blog about the downside of opensource questioning its maturity, lack of business model, some some perspectives and Reality Check.Forbes writes about VA Software - claiming to be “at the center of the open source technology revolution” operating SourceForge.net, a site where developers collaborate on open source projects and it also runs Web sites, like Slashdot and NewsForge, where the anti-Microsoft crowd rails against the evils of proprietary, closed source software. Forbes says that it turns out VA Software's main product, SourceForge Enterprise Edition, is as closed-source and non-free. Customers cannot view or modify the program's source code or basic underlying instructions (a hallmark of open source software), and they definitely can't share the code with others. Officials at VA Software say they can't release SourceForge Enterprise Edition as an open source program, because, if they did, copycats could create knockoffs of the program, and that would hurt sales.
This is the latest twist in the evolution of the free and open source (FOSS) movement.What began as a revolution has now become just another marketing slogan. Startups are latching onto the hype around “open source” to gain interest from venture capitalists and earn street credibility with the FOSS community, but then proceed with a business model predicated on making money by selling closed source code. Enterprises like EnterpriseDB, Gluecode, call themselves “open source” companies, but actually use a “hybrid” business model that involves selling closed source programs that run on top of some open source code. Richard Stallman says that VA Software should not be shipping programs that are not “free”-by which he means programs with code that cannot be viewed, modified and freely shared with others. Stallman differentiates between his “free-software” movement and the “open source software” movement. While open source proponents simply believe closed source development is less effective than open source development, free software proponents say “non-free” software is unethical, “because it keeps users divided and helpless, prohibiting cooperation,” Stallman explains. Bodell at VA Software asks, “If people are performing work, what is the model for compensation?” Well this is what the whole world is asking!!
We are regularly tracking the developments around Wimax here, here, here. Wired writes, going by what was spoken about in the recently concluded Intel developer’s conference – within the next10 years - we will sit in our living rooms watching films as they premiere at local theaters, carry on video conferences across the globe and chat using VOIP services. Intel envisions that wireless internet networks will eventually be ubiquitous and ultra-fast, enabled by WiMax that allows for citywide broadband networks. Instead of the services we use today for voice and video, we'll turn to wideband audio and new systems for transmitting movies online. Intel's disruptive bets go beyond wireless technology. With a stake in Skype, - intel is well positioned provide a boon to makers of home-theater systems and providers of next-generation voice-over-IP services. "Their dedication to the use of WiMax for the delivery of high-quality content is an interesting shift," said Andy Castonguay, senior analyst with the Yankee Group. "Essentially what that's going to do is really drive a number of competitive delivery models in a way that could potentially shake up a number of industries here in the U.S. and potentially overseas." WiMax, uses unlicensed spectrum and a network of antennas to deliver high-speed wireless service over a radius of several miles, & is among the leading up-and-coming disrupters. The technology is not in widespread use, but it may be soon. Now more than 100 trials are currently under way across the globe. Several cities in the US are looking at deploying wireless broadband within their borders. But while citywide wireless broadband sounds enticing to laptop owners, phone and cable companies that have invested heavily in providing high-speed internet over wired networks have reason to take a dim view. Sean Maloney, points out Intel’s plans to support mobility ubiquity rests on the fact that the number of voice lines worldwide skyrocketed with the proliferation of cellular phones, which made the phone truly personal. At the same time, the Internet has unleashed an insatiable demand for computing power. Now, if we can deliver ubiquitous broadband based on open standards and drive performance and power innovation on computing and phone platforms, mobile computing has the potential for continued dramatic growth. Add in the competitive threat of other services, such as high-quality, or "wideband," VOIP and direct-to-PC movies, and a broad range of industries could be vulnerable. "(WiMax) could also be a direct threat to the movie theater industry, the DVD industry and any number of content-delivery platforms that exist out there," said Castonguay. On the downside, it's unlikelythat wireless broadband networks built to today's standards would be fast enough to support Intel's rosy vision of the home of the future, says Joseph Byrne, senior analyst with the Linley Group. High-definition video, in particular, would be "exceedingly difficult" to deliver over today's WiMax networks Really powerful technology indeed - no doubt that this can disrupt all the three C's - in the convergence industry.
Rather than trying to guess the number of foreign workers the US economy needs year-to-year, Congress would be better off removing the cap altogether and letting the market decide, writes the WSJ. Each year, the U.S. issues a set number of H-1B visas to educated foreign professionals with specialized skills. Earlier it was announced that the annual H-1B cap of 65,000 already has been reached for next year. What this effectively means is that any number of fields dependent on high-skilled labor could be facing worker shortages: science, medicine, engineering, computer programming. It also means that tens of thousands of foreigners - who've graduated from U.S. universities and applied for the visas to stay here and work for American firms - will be shipped home to start companies or work for our global competitors. The size of foreign workforce in the US is mainly determined by supply and demand, not Benedict Arnold CEOs or a corporate quest for "cheap" labor. Ever since the H-1B quota was first enacted in 1992 there have been several years amid a soft economy in which it hasn't been filled. When U.S. companies can find domestic workers to fill jobs, they prefer to hire them. Surveys show that in the valley, 52% of "foreign-born scientists and engineers have been involved in founding or running a start-up company either full-time or part-time." A central irony here is that opponents of lifting the H-1B cap also tend to be the biggest critics of outsourcing, which is fueled by the arbitrary cap. American companies don't have that luxury. They operate in the real world of heightened competition.
This blog has been covering the developments centered aroun Ajax, Web 2.0 and their impact on the environment. As I begin to delve deeply into the world of Ajax, Web 2.0 & Ruby On Rails, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that these technologies really transform the web into a more effective applications platform; and jazzy frameworks like Rails facilitate bringing down the application development time and effort to a situation where something special becomes so common. With application development becoming faster, cheaper and easier, new avenues of design, development, enhancements and collaboration gets opened up: Typical opportunities are :
- Decouple 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 are 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.
Cringley thinks that with more than $2.5 billion in cash already on-hand, Google may not have any plans at all for that extra $4 billion. The company may be raising the money as a cheap insurance policy against some later day when Wall Street might not be so enamored of the giant search company. Google may not go after big acquisitions but will roll-out incremental products at a blinding pace. PayPal co-founder Max Levchin explains that rapid development is an important key to market dominance. That pace of technical development, which probably isn't sustainable for long at any company, isn't possible at all at more mature companies like AOL, Yahoo, and especially Microsoft. Google’s plans are not clear – including the rumoured dark fiber, data center etc. Google needs ever more bandwidth, sure, so dark fiber makes sense to buy when it is probably as cheap as it is ever going to get. It will take the company another five years just to mature the businesses they already have. Bob thinks that Microsoft's clearest threat still comes from Apple. Apple already super-dominates the music player market where Microsoft doesn't even really exist. But the real jewel is one Microsoft has to lose, not gain - the PC platform, itself. Microsoft is woefully late with its next Windows upgrade, while Apple is far ahead with even the current version of OS X. Apple is moving to Intel processors and hackers have already shown that OS X can run fine on non-Apple hardware. But Apple doesn't want to give up its profitable hardware business to compete head-to-head with Microsoft. And remember, Apple totally dominates the portable music player market and will probably sell 25 million iPods or more this year. Every one of those iPods is a bootable drive. What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version - OS 10.4 - on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store? It wouldn't kill Microsoft, but it would hurt the company, both emotionally and materially. And it wouldn't hurt Apple at all. Apple hardware sales would be driven by OS 10.5 and all giving away 10.4 would do is help sell more iPods and attract more customers to Apple's store. Somehow I feel that Cringley is too optimistic on Apple( just as large companies can not rapidly roll out- companies of the size of Apple may not be able to take radical steps like what Bob is speculating – but am totally convinced about Microsoft’s vulnerability in the emerging world. Anycase Bob’s columns are always a great pleasure to read.
The tsunami that ricocheted around the world following the Indian Ocean earthquake last year left a puzzling pattern of waves in its wake. Beaches in Peru and Mexico, nearly 20,000 kilometres from the earthquake, received waves that were three times larger than those hitting the shores of the Cocos Islands, just 1700 km away. Now it turns out that the waves were funnelled along underwater structures, such as mid-ocean ridges and continental shelves.Researchers find that there were two main factors affecting the manner in which the tsunami wave spread – focusing from the source, and guidance from the topography of the sea floor. Close to the epicentre the waves were controlled mostly by the shape of the earthquake fault and the long-thin rectangle of water it violently displaced. “Cocos Island lies to one side, so it didn’t receive much direct energy,” explains Titov. Meanwhile, waves further afield were shaped more by sea floor topography. The energy shot along mid-ocean ridges and continental shelves, to reach far-field locations like Peru and Mexico. The simulation also explains why some nearby islands, like Nias, did not suffer much initially, but were hit by a large wave many hours later. New scientist has compiled tons of data and a lot of analysis – excellent read for those interested.
(Via Jeff)A forbes article captures the real state of small scale manufacturing in China. Michael Allen’s Jolida (joe-LEE-da) makes amplifiers and CD players that were burning out and breaking down; paint bubbled and peeled, volume knobs made buzzing sounds. Overwhelmed by returns of faulty products, in 2001 Allen was losing money, being hounded by creditors, struggling to make payroll and fending off his wife, who insisted he should flip the "off" switch on his crazy hi-fi venture and find something else to do for a living. "Americans think they're just going to start sending orders to some factory in China and bing-bang start getting whatever they want for 80% less,"says Allen, chief executive of Jolida in Annapolis Junction, Md. "It doesn't work that way.You're dealing with people who grew up in a communist system. Quality control?There is none." Chinese-made diodes, resistors and circuit boards were cheap, but 15% of them were defective. So Allen started buying parts from Germany,Japan, Malaysia and South Korea and shipping them to Shanghai. This adds $10 to the cost of an amplifier, but it cut the return rate from 5% to 1%. Definitely worth it for these costly appliances (priced from $350 for a 30-watt amp to $9,500 for a three-piece system that puts out 200 watts per channel). “A lot of American companies are propelled by fear "he says. "They think, ‘I've got to get into this lower-cost structure because everyone else is.' They imagine China is going to be just like here, that they'll just look in the Yellow Pages and find a good supplier. His message to U.S. entrepreneurs rushing over: Slow down Important read for all those interested in china.
(Via IHT)While the likes of Amazon, eBay, Google & Yahoo come to anyone’s mind when we think about the economic impact of information technology, the biggest impact on the economy may well show upin small and medium-size enterprises. As computers get cheaper, more powerful and more connected, technologies that were only available to the WalMarts of the world become available to the small fry. By the late 1980s cash registers had become just another computer application. They could add up receipts, compare sales with inventory, create order lists - in short, they could do just about everything that the big chains could do. In the 1990s, cash registers became networked, allowing the small stores to download records in a form suitable for spreadsheet analysis and accounting software. Big chains like Wal-Mart could use satellite networks and mainframe computers to track purchases, manage inventory and record customer behavior. These intelligent cash registers allowed small companies to adopt business models that had previously been available only to large enterprises. Equipped with a scanner, a cash register could be used to verify the sale of each item, allowing companies to share data on revenue with the supplier. Some ice cream manufacturers effectively contract for space for a freezer in a store and share the revenue from purchases each time a sale is made.
Even the success of the big Internet companies rests, in large part, on the fact that they provide advertising and sales platforms for small enterprises. EBay, Amazon, Google and Yahoo all make it possible for small businesses to reach national, and even global, markets that were previously inaccessible. The Internet has not just affected the selling side of small businesses; it is also having a big impact on the production side. While western workers complain about offshoring, the economic benefits from international trade outweigh the costs, which is great as long as you are not one of the costs. The internationalization of small and medium-size enterprises has got to be a big plus for the US economy. It allows the small players to have access to labor markets similar to that of big boys. Constant supervision, constant communication and constant coordination are necessary to make small business grow. But it is just these things - the ability to supervise, communicate, and coordinate at a distance - that have become so much cheaper in the last 20 years. Big enterprises were the first to reap the benefits of this technological progress. But the impact of information technology on small and medium-size enterprises may yet turn out to have the most impact on the economy.
Recently came across this series India’s rise as an R&D hub. Technology companies must first win the battle for R&D talentbefore they can win the battle for market share. The cliché that "the company's most valuable assets walk out the door each night" has never been truer. Time and time again, companies with the best R&D talent win the battle for market dominance. Companies ranging from unproven tech start-ups to Silicon Valley giants are now trolling campuses in search of the best talentin the world. Much as GEis considered a top recruiting ground for future CEO candidates, companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and IBM are among the top places to recruit top technology talent. With China looming in the distance as a competitive threat in the tech sector, companies realize that they must recruit at Microsoft and Google just as they once recruited at General Electric. From a macroeconomic perspective, it is clear that R&D spending matters. The U.S. spends 2.59% of its GDP on R&D, while the European Union designates a relatively paltry 1.93% of its GDP to scientific and technological development. China, by comparison, spends only 1.3% of its GDP on R&D spending. Clearly, countries (like companies) can only become leaders in a global knowledge-based economy by paying more attention to innovation and creativity. With that in mind, both Europe and China are trying to catch up with the U.S. by increasing their R&D spending. More than just pouring millions of dollars into R&D initiatives, companies must adopt a comprehensive view of talent that places a premium on the ability to come up with new ideas and new business approaches. The fact that R&D talent is in such demand is perhaps not so surprising, considering the potential impact that creativity and innovation could have on the next round of global economic development. As Daniel Pink, shows in his new book. "A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age," the key competitive differentiator in the coming years will be the ability of companies to tap into right-brain thinking. Factors like creativity, intuitiveness and design will be more highly prized than linear, analytical thinking. Being able to see the whole picture will be more important than being able to crunch numbers. By moving their talent to the front lines in the R&D war, companies are able to integrate their talent strategy with their business strategy, giving them the best chance to leverage the innovative thinking of their best researchers.
Jason Stamper earlier scooped about the integration vendor Tibco's plans to roll out a rental-style pricing model last week. Tibco says that this applies to all products and will be made available to all customers - both new and existing. The company is already incrementally rolling out its "Time-Based" pricing model, which enables customers to pay for a bundle of software, services and maintenance over time. Vivek Ranadive insists that it in no way replaces its more traditional license sales model, but rather is complementary. As it already makes substantial% of its revenue from a combination of ongoing maintenance revenue and services – this move is not to be seen in place of Tibco's traditional software sales, but in addition to. This is not a wholesale move to subscriptions - some customers who may prefer to consume software packaged with services on a more utility-style basis, they now have that option. Tibco thinks that Time-Based pricing model is likely to appeal to most to new customers in Asia Pacific - where monthly pricing is very popular - or smaller enterprises for whom an up-front payment may be less attractive than paying over time. It may help in getting new type of customers and additional revenue channel for Tibco. This is indeed a significant move – one that certainly others are bound to imitate –particularly in the SME segment. It needs to be seen how the pricing is structured including collection mechanism and how Tibco’s traditional partners react to this. Also to observe is the fact what happens to defaulters and enterprises that jump in and out of the schemes. The locking cost, jump out & switching costs need to be understood in greater detail. In traditional economics, leasing may be cheaper than rental pay structures. The pressures of competition & pricing makes companies try out new models – thees sometimes force companies to think for the customers as well – no more proof is needed to be convinced about massive changes that are bound to happen in the enterprise landscape
In an interview with Mr.Rajat Gupta, Dr.Manmohan Singh,Prime Minister of India discusses his plans to modernize the country's infrastructure, attract FDI, and create jobs - all in the service of eliminating chronic poverty and disease in India. Dr.Singh rates his government achievements at six out of ten, a performance he said was unsatisfactory. I sort of liked reading this as what came out looked like a clear perspective of what the country should be aiming for and a certain amount of big hat thinking with doses of moderation and reality. Some key points from the interview: - India needs a growth rate of about 7 to 8 percent per annum, sustained over a period of the next 10 to 15 years. It needs to underpin that growth by strong performance of agriculture, strong performance of our physical and our social infrastructure. - There is a lot of backlog in improving the infrastructure. India may need an investment of about $150 billion in the next seven to eight years to realize the ambition to provide an infrastructure which is equal to the economic and social challenges faced by the country. - India needs a lot more FDI than it’s got, and needs to have the ambition to move in the same league many other countries in the neighborhood is moving. India may not be able to reach where the Chinese are today, but he is optimistic about the role of foreign direct investment, in the areas relating to infrastructure, where the needs for investment are very large. - Extreme rigidities in the labor market, inflexibility of the labor market, is not consistent in achieving the goals in a world where demand conditions are changing so fast, technological conditions are changing so fast. - India will need a second green revolution to increase production and productivity, and in the process create more jobs. Services today account for 50 percent of our GDP. Services cannot move far ahead of what's happening in manufacturing, and there lays an imbalance. India may need to do a lot more on manufacturing because, ultimately, services respond to what's happening in the production sector. Agribusiness and food processing are important parts of modernizing the economy, moving into a phase where a more modernized agriculture helps not only farmers but also helps consumers. - Over the next 10 to 15 years about 50 percent of India’s population will be in urban areas. India needs new strategies to look at urban transportation systems, urban management of solid wastes, new sewerage systems. - In India the savings rates are improving and the proportion of young people to total population is increasing. If India can find productive jobs for this young labor force, that itself should bring about a significant increase in India's savings rate in the next five to ten years. If the savings rate goes up, in the next ten years, by 5 percent of GDP, it would have generated the resources for investment in the management of this new urban infrastructure that is needed in order to make a success at modernization and growth. - In a world in which technology is changing at such a fast pace, where demand conditions change very fast, India needs to look at a more innovative mechanism to cut down on this rigmorale of many tiers of decision-making processes. - Overall, India is today on the move. The pace may be slow, may not be as quick as some people would want, but the direction is unmistakable. India's future lies in being an open society, an open polity, a functioning democracy respecting all fundamental human freedoms, accepting the rule of law and, at the same time, to emerge as a successful, internationally competitive market economy. After reading this please read this piece -why china no match for india
The Week has an interesting article by Sabeer Bhatia and an equally interesting profile of Rajesh Jain. Highly timely , it covers the evolution of the internet thus fare and related opportunities and give a look ahead in terms of what could be in store. Sabeer Bhatia writes, The growth in Internet usage did not happen in a steady manner. The inflexion point happened in the late 90s precipitated by two innovations — the availability of the ubiquitous Web browser and e-mail services such as Hotmail. Since then, the Internet has evolved into a platform for free speech that is now accessed by nearly a billion users worldwide, and its influence and impact on communications, commerce and intellectual freedom is unprecedented. In India, this opened up opportunities for consumers—the medium could be leveraged to achieve social, business and development objectives—and for software creators to craft technology solutions based around the Internet to establish India as a powerhouse for innovation. India’s performance on the first front has been middling. The Internet user population in India is estimated at around 25 million - it is an anaemic figure. Also, this growth is concentrated almost exclusively within large cities. I am often asked a question: "Could you have done Hotmail in India?" And my answer has inevitably been, "No!" Had I attempted to create Hotmail in India, somebody would have come to me claiming that I was taking away the revenues of phone or fax companies! The Internet can be a powerful democratising force, offering greater social, economic and political participation to communities that have traditionally been overlooked. While there have been several attempts to bring down the cost of PCs to an affordable level, these efforts have been largely misplaced. I do not believe that bringing down the cost of a PC, to say Rs 10,000, would magically facilitate a ‘tipping point’ that would unleash wide adoption. Mobile networks, that are increasingly pervasive in India, will provide the last-mile channel for individuals to access the public Internet network and these will increasingly be broadband in nature. To boot, Internet access can be provided by upgrading the many privately-run public telephone offices in the country today. This blog covered about challenges and unique solutions in improving teledensity in India. The week article goes on to cover Rajesh Jain. Before fame and money embraced Jain he swallowed many failures. His foray into software development failed, forcing him to take a break in the US in 1994. Fascinated by the power of the Internet, he started IndiaWorld, a Web-based news and information service for NRIs, with his savings. IndiaWorld made rapid strides in collecting content as well as making eye contact. Consisting of Khel.com, Khoj.com, Samachar.com and Bawarchi.com, it became one of the largest India-centric portals. Rajesh feels that a positive aspect of the Internet boom was that it triggered a "flavour of entrepreneurship". He wished that the boom had lasted a little longer. "With any new technology, we tend to overestimate what it can do in the short term and underestimate what it can do in the long term," he says. "For anything to work, the eco-system has to fall into place." Jain is now on a mission to take the Internet to 100 million Indians through his venture, Novatium. Interesting prople, iconic entrepreneurs and lot more is expected to come from both.
Fastcompany has a very interesting perspective on leadership and the challenges faced in the emerging future. The article starts by defining leadership as a fuse of vision and integrity, perseverance and courage, a hunger for innovation, and a willingness to take risks and goes on to cover Anthony J. Mayo and Nitin Nohria's perspective :The duo unearths an immutable attribute that's shared by all of the giants of business: They had an innate ability to read the forces that shaped the times in which they lived - and to seize on the resulting opportunities – naming it aptly as “Contextual Intelligence”. They have also come up with a ranking of the top 100 business leaders of all time.
They find that contextual intelligence is an underappreciated but all-encompassing differentiator between success and failure. Seeing how context creates different kinds of business opportunities, the authors categorized their business legends by the different types of opportunities they pursued. Nohria identified three prototypical leadership types - the entrepreneurial leader, the leader as manager, and the charismatic leader - and showed how each used their contextual intelligence to thrive in their times. I was curious to see what type of context setting lay in store for potential future leaders : The context is summed up very well: In the next 25 years, demography, technology, government regulations, geopolitics, labor conditions, and social mores will powerfully influence the opportunities available. Government is playing a bigger role than it used to & are witnessing shift in geopolitics. In terms of technology, breakthrough innovations in IT and pharmaceutical development may have run their course. We think of these as growth industries, but they might well be maturing. In demographics, what will happen as retiring baby boomers start withdrawing their money from the market? And then there are the dramatic changes in Asia. Just as Japan created lean manufacturing, is there a new management innovation that's coming from India or China, but hasn't yet been given a name? In each of these dimensions, there are very important changes afoot. They will coalesce and create opportunities for entrepreneurial leaders to launch new businesses, for managers to maximize the value of existing businesses, and for leaders of change to rescue businesses that have fallen into decline. The one thing that we know for certain is that context is vitally important; it will shape the opportunities in these new times.
(Via Javaworld)Oracle is building its middleware portfolio through R&D and acquisitions and is increasingly getting positioned as head-to-head competitor with IBM. Already locked in the database slugfest, the middleware fight seems to add a distinct flavour to it. SAP and Microsoft, also see opportunity as corporate data centers move to environments where data and systems are shared and reused in so-called service-oriented architectures. Middleware - such as application servers, business integration software, and data management systems based on open standards and Web services - provides the foundation for this new IT environment. Information and the integration of information is becoming much more important, as it helps enterprise gain insight into their own operations, their customers and their competitors. The fight is essentially controlling every possible space as the industry itself is transiting, mutating before consolidation. We recently covered IBM’s aggressive middleware acquisition strategy and IBM’s domination of the EAI market. Oracle is in a similar acquisition spree – outside of its application business, notoable acquisitions include acquisition of the assets of content integration software maker Context Media, identity management software – Oblix & Collaxa for business rules engine. IBM is working towards providing native XML support for DB2 & Websphere product line shall be geared for grid deployments, an area where oracle already has a lead. Oracle appserver is gaining more respect and IDC analysis shows that Oracle's application-deployment software business growing at twice the rate of the market average. With changing markets, customers are looking for databases, application servers, message-oriented middleware, and even applications and tools that integrate well, and prefer buying form one vendor. Oracle is positioning itself as a software vendor that can provide the integrated infrastructure that a corporate buyer needs, from its database to its PeopleSoft enterprise applications—all supported on its flexible, grid-based infrastructure.Interesting development- but all point to one thing - consolidation is happening fast at least at the base of the technology stack and big players shall dominate - but they have to do a lot( more efforts and spend more resoorces) to become more pronounced.
Intel and RIM have agreed to a deal where Blackberry will use battery-saving chip technology in future versions of wireless handsets and support Intel’s push to encourage WiMAX long-distance wireless communications technology. A Research in Motion / Intel partnership may also give a glimpse of what is to come in future versions of BlackBerry handheld devices. RIM doesn’t yet offer the volumes that would normally attract the likes of Intel, they are a dominant player in the handheld market, a market that Intel has had trouble entering. The low-power Centrino chip would, of course make it easier for RIM to build Wi-Fi capabilities into future versions of the BlackBerry. When you hear about Intel getting into bed with a wireless handset maker to offer low-power, battery-saving chipsets that you could be talking about some type of Centrino technology. A Centrino powered next-gen BlackBerry that is WiMAX ready is too exciting to think of. Interesting development indeed.
The Industry Analyst Reporter highlights thatSOAused primarily by large enterprises to rescue applications and processes in distress is now reaching ubiquitous implementation in the U.S, regardless of size or vertical industry designation, according to the high tech industry analysts. The Yankee Group sees, in a matter of a few years, SOA has seen wide adoption across the market, most notably among wireless, financial services and government sectors. Survey results show that retail will show the fastest adoption rate in the next 12 months; planned use of SOA in 2006 reaches saturation for wireless, retail, financial, manufacturing and government. 2006 will be the year of initial SOA project completion on a broad basis - not a hit or miss trend, but through a rising tide of broad and deep adoption of SOA across the market. Up until now, SOA implementation has been a predominantly homegrown, in-house affair, but now plans are in place to employ comprehensive SOA solutions strategically as a foundational improvement in areas such as application integration and content aggregation. As Sandra Rogers points out,We’ve had business process technology for a while, but it’s all been proprietary. Now there’s an effort to get a view of end-to-end processes. There are many business drivers you can point to: compliance issues and regulations that require process tracking and auditing, older legacy applications, and client-server applications. The need for flexibility is driving a lot of the interest. The adaptability, the flexibility to create a system and change it as needed are important. We’ve also seen companies taking advantage of the speed to deployment and the reusability of these services. It’s a continuing learning process—they’re trying to figure out the most efficient way to develop a service. We hear from people who are turning to vendors to provide these services. The amount of vendor support behind the standards is critical. Users see continued forward movement on the part of the vendors, and that lends a lot of credibility to Web services.Enterprises ramping up their SOA initiatives indicate they are placing their focus on content, data and metadata. Amongst the standards that matter, XML tops the list and tools, directory and middleware messaging standards followed in order of importance. SOA is definitely top on the list in many enterprises - How holistically - they can be planned, executed and leveraged are the key determinants of success.
BEA is in the news of late for matters like improved quarterly results, beefing up Business Process Integration engine and CPU pricing norms revision.Today it announced the acquisition of Plumtree portal software. BEA has its own J2EE-based portal platform - the BEA WebLogic Portal, which the company describes as a transactional portal. Plumtree's product suite includes a portal designed for non-technical business users and related products for collaboration, search, analytics, and content management. Plumtree supports both Microsoft .Net-based and J2EE-based application servers. This cross-platform support was appealing to BEA. Alfred Chuang says, "The portal is becoming the central point of integration in the enterprise." There is no overlap as seen by BEA as its reasoning is that WebLogic Portal targets companies using transactional portals in a J2EE application development environment & Plumtree's portal is designed for business users in a collaborative workgroup setting. A lot of people asked me what I think of this – as I work with closely with both the companies, I shall not saying anything in detail – but I think this is good for Plumtree customers and it was always there in the air for a long time that PT is just waiting to get the right price to sell out & good for BEA as it gains more customers at a throwaway price and begins to look a little more strong. Portals play a critical role in delivering personalized & contextual user experiences. Increasingly portals are becoming an integral structure of SOA frameworks that intelligently aggregate, integrate and orchestrate the presentation/interaction management layer. We wrote earlier that a framework of service-wrapper tools, orchestration tools, process automation &execution engines, and a page generating engine could be composed to produce a generic composite application framework that could be used by business to generate a composite app. The hallmark of composite applications will be the use of standardized & consistent set of infrastructure services provided by the composite application framework based on the SOA framework of dynamic, extensible, federated interoperability and enabled by XML-based technologies. Portals are increasingly being seen as integral to component applications framework – this enables them to blend portlets comprised of applications, information, communication and collaboration services centered on various profile data/metadata standards. In general different portal products may have different frameworks/standards on template mechanisms, communication interfaces and may follow different approaches on the nature of build and orchestration. It may look surprising but interoperable standards across various portal platforms do vary. We may see that enterprises may take a positive view on best of breed portals , all other things being equal including financial standing and quality of support, but may increasingly be more inclined towards examining the full blown application from so called platform vendors like IBM, BEA, SAP, Oracle. The resulting scenario could be that inside every enterprise there may be a couple of major platform players/infrastructure platforms that provide the anchorage for core applications - but it is likely that many enterprises will be looking at a set of preferred vendors providing core SOA support around which best-of-breeds may be spun together. It may become a race between such ecosystems for marketshare and gaining positive points in terms of performance & flexibility. I also foresee a few more acquisitions and coming together and hosted environment centric portal solutions getting prominence.
Derek Sivers writes, being protective about ideas has been historically felt. Ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions. Good ideas include some thinking about execution and delivery. In general moving from an interesting but vague idea, to specific and actionable is the difficult part of creation and invention.
Explanation: On a scale of 1 to 20, an awful idea may score -1, good idea = 10, brilliant idea = 20
NO EXECUTION = $1 WEAK EXECUTION = $1000 SO-SO- EXECUTION = $10,000 GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000 GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000 BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000
In business primarily to measure, we may need to multiply the two. The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.That’s why we say execution is the key, excellent execution may make the difference between huge success and other grades of success. Thats what Ram Charan & Paul Allen are writing about.
The Internet is a place of innovation, creation, and communication & any regulatory mechanism need to be centered around the principle - “don't constrain the technology; constrain bad actors”, writes Greg & Susan. In an excellent article starting from first principles , they argue about the care and subtlety needed in regulating the internet environment. Excerpts with edits & comments added:
The Internet has become a forum for borrowing, mixing, developing, and tinkering. In the softer sciences like science and art - innovators build on each other's work. Innovation has flourished, countries have reaped the rewards, because Internet technologies enable the rapid, widespread, and often anonymous flow of information. With free flow with advances in digital media - photography, video, music - and there lay an amazing opportunity for wide-scale experimentation and creative expression. Two decades ago, home computers brought us a revolution called desktop publishing. Now home users have the tools to create professional-quality movies and music - and a way to share them with others. Public policy should encourage innovation and free-speech, balancing the rights of individuals with the greatest public good. DRM, needs to respect experimental, standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants aspects of the Internet. DRM technology should be designed to respect legitimate needs and current rights of honest users (including backups, format changes, excerpting, and so on). The following principles of digital rights management need to be considered by all: - Innovation flourishes through openness - open standards, reference architectures, and implementations. - All creators are users and many users are creators. - Content creators and holders of copyright should be compensated fairly. - Respect for users' privacy is essential. - Code (both laws and technology) should encourage innovation. An "optimistic" model whose fundamental credo is "trust the customer" is the need of the hour. Excessive limitation not only restricts consumer rights but also potential, as such solutions strongly interfere with the creation of future works and fair use of copyrighted content. In an ideal world, solutions should encourage information flow, including the capability for creating future works. Systems that encourage the user to play with digital material, to experiment, to build and create, will be a win for consumers, for technology developers, and for content producers. Technologists, artists, developers, users, and rightsholders need to move ahead in a balanced and forward-looking manner. If done properly, it will be a win for the Internet and for society.An excellent article worth reading several times and ponder over.
India headquartered software companies could potentially unseat such giants as EDS, CSC, Capgemini, Unisys, Perot Systems, Accenture and BearingPoint,says a study by Katzenbach Partners LLC (New York). The study finds that the indian big four - Infosys, Wipro, Satyam and TCS will have greater market incentives and capabilities to serve customers consistently and make good on promises during the critical third and fourth years of contracts. Indian firms are motivated to grow and maintain quality, and the marketplace has taken into account the quality of their operations and cash flow. The U.S. and European players are mainly seeking to build value by cutting costs, whereas the India headquartered companies will continue to invest in clients into a contract, when half of all outsourcing deals normally would fall apart. Legacy Outsourcing players may disappoint customers deep into IT Contracts. Richard Schroth, a technology and outsourcing expert & Nathaniel J. Mass, have developed a new corporate performance metric called the Relative Value of Growth(TM) (RVG) and together with Roopa Unnikrishnan, worked on the report and its findings were shared recently. RVG determines the degree to which a company is rewarded - in terms of market capitalization - for growth and/or margin improvement. Companies with high RVGs that are predominantly rewarded by growth tend to be rewarded handsomely for achieving it - and also tend to have strong profit margin A virtuous cycle is seen with Indian outsourcing companies: Strong growth boosts valuation ratios, which, in turn, create reinforcing incentives to grow. Indian companies offer superior operating margins due to low cost of service, strong vertical market focus, high quality, reinvestment in innovation and strict conformance with global standards. The U.S. & European players will not be rewarded by Wall Street for growing and investing - only for streamlining, and that's not good for customers.A company rewarded by margin improvement tends to have an inferior profit margin and may realise less pronounced gains in shareholder value, due mainly to the difficulties of trying for cost improvements to retain long-running customers. In analysing IT and outsourcing firms, the study finds Indian players to have a high relative value of growth rating. They are highly motivated to grow and the marketplace recognizes its quality of their operations, cash flow and prospects. But American and European companies have much lower relative value of growth rating, meaning their main incentive is to build value by cutting costs.
I agree with Dr. Scroth’s view that the US/Europe biggies may talk about economies of scale, experience and commitment to customers, but that's a disconnect when it comes to the basic incentives and the marketplace. Faced with cost pressures, they may be prone to turn over projects to more junior staff, pay less attention to older customers and focus on rationalization, consolidation and even withdrawal from businesses that require greater innovation investment. Meanwhile, Indian companies are evolving into global players by developing international strategies that include recruitment in China and Russia. Major U.S. and European outsourcers must grow and improve profit margins or face mergers, consolidation and loss of market share. The advantage for India headquartered firms amongst other things is that they do not have to unlearn old behaviors or adjust to old systems. Some of the plusses credited to Indian firms include superior operating margins, obsession with quality, reinvestment in innovation, leadership in conformance to global standards and world-class corporate governance. The warning bells for some and welcome signals for more are loud & clear – Seeing the growth, scale-up plans and impressive wins recorded by Indian HQ firms, it is more than obvious that in this changing flat world – India headquartered firms are are very likely to give the glorified titles of Old Stanby’s to the Accentures,EDSs,Cap Geminis,Bearingpoints and the likes of the world.
Last week, Sandhill published a piece that I wrote about the emerging world of composite applications. I had been too busy the whole of last week -could not find the time and inclination to write a brief for this blog and point to sandhill. Here's the excerpt:
Today in reality, most IT applications inhibit & not truly enable business process change. To meet the business needs, IT must either build or deliver a new generation of applications that embody business processes, reuse existing applications, and are built to accommodate change with minimal effort. The enterprise application features are mostly maturing, and increasingly large enterprise users are finding less missing functionality in their applications, creating a downward pressure to spend on upgrades around these products. Software margins are suffering due to smaller average prices, flat or reduced license sales, heightened pressures on needed investment in technology changes and an increasing apathy of end use investment in packaged software. Budgetary constraints and years of expansion and overpurchasing have left many enterprises with a hodgepodge of ERP solutions. Business finds that as the installed software base grows, traditional approaches to serving new business needs are proving inadequate. The need is clearly finding mechanisms to support synthesis of new processes while supporting existing processes powered by packaged software and other applications. Today the epicenter of applications that can bring distinct value to business is now firmly centered on domain-specific application platforms or frameworks.Composites embodying processes require less code and less time to build fit in nicely as the solution here. Composite applications consuming services, represented as existing corporate applications, packaged enterprise applications, third-party functions, or new features and functions shall become the new framework for application deployments within enterprises. A framework of service-wrapper tools, orchestration tools, process automation &execution engines, and a page generating engine could be composed to produce a generic composite application framework that could be used by business to generate a composite app. Enterprise applications shall 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. The architecture effort needs to ensure support for scalability, consistency, reuse and breadth. The distinction amongst enterprises shall come through distinct style and pattern of deployments, elements of it will be off the shelf and require integration, such as infrastructure, services platforms, packaged applications, and standards based process templates interfacing possibly with legacy apps exposed as services. Obviously moving to such an arrangement is a huge decision for enterprises- a strategic one of high order magnitude. 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. The composite application ecosystem can comprehensively transform the enterprise ecosystem. Read the full article here