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Thursday, November 30, 2006
eWeek has a coverage on the emerging on-demand vs on-premise model of business applications. The article while noting the rising subscriptions of salesforce.com points out that Oracle differs from other on-demand players in its definition of software as a service. It's not about multitenant software—the practice of putting each company's software installation on a shared architecture—or subscription licensing where users pay for software on a monthly basis. It's about whether or not Oracle takes the responsibility for hosting and upgrading a user's software. Nicholas Carr attacks established players of overlooking the potential of SaaS as it may affect their existing streams of revenue.
Category :SaaS, Emerging Trends |
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Am in KL today to join Gartner's Jim Longwood in the Geosourcing meet today here at the Ritz-Carlton, I just came across Unisys executives prediction that in 2007, enterprise open source will evolve . Amongst their predictions:
Category :Open Source,Emerging Trends |
Monday, November 27, 2006
Category :Google Checkout, Emerging Trends |
Sunday, November 26, 2006
With the shopping season in full swing in the western world –the online retailing is expected to grow several times faster. Amazon to a lesser degree and walmart.com to a larger degree had major outage issues last Friday. One or two other online retail sites also reported some problems. ComScore Networks, an internet information provider, says online retailers expect the biggest sales ever on “Cyber Monday”, the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of Americans take advantage of high-speed internet in their offices to hunt for presents. During the first 19 days of November, total retail spending online reached $6.35 billion, a 23% increase compared with the corresponding period in 2005. ComScore predicts that online retail consumer-spending for the two months to Christmas will exceed $24 billion, up by almost a quarter compared with last year.
Category :Emerging Trends |
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Category :Web 2.0, Emerging Trends, Emerging Technologies |
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Recent estimates suggest that 5% of global software may be delivered as application on-demand. One of the well known players of on-demand, salesforce.com has been ranked as the third largest CRM player in the world. One of the often repeated cliché is that close to 1/4th of the software sold in Asia may be application on-demand in a few years from now. Given the cultural and economic complexity and diversity of the Asia Pacific region, the adoption of SaaS is not uniform across the region. Australia and New Zealand are closer to North America in terms of SaaS adoption trends, and Australia is the largest SaaS market in the region. China and India are seen as countries with the greatest potential in the mid to long term future. Independent research suggest that India may be the fastest growing market in Asia. But in reality, as much as I could see all around in Asia, the pace of adoption of SaaS is indeed slow. The cynical may see the pay-as-you-use model where licensing & services bundle in technical and operational support as far fetched, but indeed some leading edge companies have successfully demonstrated that atleast lightweight applications can be delivered this way. Most of these applications are aimed at serving large customer base or mobile salesforce. All the marquee names in software are coming out with SaaS models and are actively promoting it as well. Research suggests that when assessed on TCO models, enterprises under 500 employees may find SaaS adoption more economical for certain type of applications like payroll , CRM etc.There is reasonable evidence that for Asian ecosystem where a majority of enterprises are of the small to medium category while measured on a global scale, may find SaaS as a natural fit, the adoption rates seems to be less than promising. The cultural mindset seems to be coming in the way. Unlike most of the western enterprises which view IT as an investment and productivity enhancer, the asian enterprises despite having having global ambitions look at IT, mostly as cost. The enterprises here have just finished one wave of investments centered on internet and IP technologies and are quite cagey abou trying new technology models. This is pretty paradoxical as SaaS can help businesses realize benefits faster then others to start with and help organizations become more efficient by helping focus on running their operations. One of the things that I notice is that business getts more excited than IT when it comes to SaaS and young companies seem to adopt SaaS faster. Asia needs to look at SaaS more closely –at the moment SaaS adoption in Asia Pacific is definitely far behind the potential.
Update : Sriram pointed me to this viewpoint expressed by Oracle, confirming my views on limited SaaS adoption in Asia.
Category :Asia, Emerging Trends,Saas |
Increasingly the startup magic is definitely reaching a larger number of professionals around the world. Auren Hoffman writes that big companies are losing their “A” players and they’re struggling to attract “B” players. In an industry where everything is about people, large tech companies are in trouble because they are losing the talent war. And keep in mind, an “A” player in an organization can usually produce the same results as three “B” players. He asks, Why would you want to join a big high tech company (Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay, HP, Oracle, or Cisco) when you can join a cool startup? At a big company you’re stuck with corporate politics, paralysis decision making, and a lack of getting things done. At a small company you’re having fun, pursuing your dream, and actually getting things done. I can neither agree nor disagree with Auren. Kathy Sierra points out the differences between startups vs big established concerns. No doubt big companies can be stifling( most of the time in big companies go into meets and conference calls), but they come with a set of many plus –infrastructure, system, customer base, brand etc. There are mavericks and self driven people who would make headway under any circumstances – there are some who would like to try out something new. These people would find startups very likeable. However for a majority it may not be all that suitable. One has to respect both perspectives and positions – the world is big enough to find right talent for both the streams and full of opportunities.
(Image Courtesy :Kathy Sierra)
Category :Startups,Emerging Trends |
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
A recent Booz Allen Hamilton study finds that in a group of 1000 companies surveyed, 94 “high-leverage innovators,” including Toyota, Apple, Christian Dior, Google and Caterpillar spend less than their competitors on research and development, yet consistently outperform their industry rivals across a broad set of performance measures. The study notes that these “High-Leverage Innovators” use many different models and approaches to outperform their competitors, but are generally noted for their distinctive skill in at least one element of the innovation process and are adept across all of the stages. Google, for example, is known for generating new ideas with blistering speed. Toyota excels at developing its products and processes far more efficiently and effectively than most other companies. And Apple is noted for its well-honed capabilities in project selection and customer understanding. In the list of 1000 companies analyzed, Ford tops the list on R&D spend and everyone will agree that Ford is hardly seen today as an innovative company. The report titled smartspenders finds that the high-leverage innovators distinguish themselves not by the money they spend, but by building strong capabilities in the four principal elements of innovation: ideation, project selection, product development, and commercialization. High-leverage innovators listen closely to their customers across the entire innovation cycle.
Category :Innovation, Emerging Trends |
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Michael Schrage has an interesting article on change management. He points out that “The Give Change a Hug” crowd swears that successful change management requires welcoming arms and open minds. They're wrong. Skepticism is best practice. Enterprise change hugging should be done with the same level of care as swimming with sharks or playing with porcupines: It's going to hurt no matter what ‘s done. Change management is pain management. Change management—like pain management—is really process management, and change leadership is really process leadership. That's true for people, systems and apps.
Category :Execution, Emerging Trends |
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Traditionally governments were symphathetic to the cause of the open source movement and were pushing some open source solutions for their selective usages. I was very surprised to see the ICT minister of the new Thai government saying that his government’s plan was a case of the blind leading the blind, as neither the people who are in charge nor the people in industry seem to know the dangers of open source software.
"With open source, there is no intellectual property. Anyone can use it and all your ideas become public domain. If nobody can make money from it, there will be no development and open source software quickly becomes outdated," he said. Apart from Linux, he claimed that most open source software is often abandoned and not developed, and leads to a lot of low-quality software with lots of bugs."As a programmer, if I can write good code, why should I give it away? Thailand can do good source code without open source," he said..
Please read this confession on linux from one of its chief protaganists. Sometimes good sense comes from the most unexpected source!! As I wrote recently, with open source solutions, the service providers/consultants need to take a massive leap of faith - more so with massive/time-compressed/aggressive/critical deployments planned - one that would be seen from first principles to be fraught with fundamental risks.
Category :Opensource, Emerging Trends |
The puzzle for tech sector business leadership is indeed getting more and more curious to watch. The MISO players are busy firing all the cylinders. But from the sidelines two others are declaring victory over the largest of the MISO group -IBM. Mark Hurd declares that as of this date, HP holds the title of the biggest tech company in the world. He means that - owing to an impressive acceleration of efforts, Hewlett-Packard's business divisions pulled together to deliver solid revenue and profit growth. While IBM has exited the PC business and Dell is focused mostly on a slow-growing corporate market and moribund demand for desktop models, HP is taking advantage of brisk demand from consumers, particularly for laptop computers. The company's laptop sales grew 24%, and the company is exploiting its vast retail presence in the U.S. and in emerging markets such as India, Russia, and Brazil. Indeed, HP surged against struggling Dell to become the PC market leader in the third quarter. Trends now show that Dell might have caught up with HP here. Courtesy of Manish saw this : Accenture beats IBM to be anointed as the No.1 service provider. For a change, IDC comes with a refreshing perspective - high growth areas include investments in SOA, infrastructure improvements, and application services and SIs that have invested in emerging areas, stayed close to customers, and focused on efficient execution are well positioned to capitalize on the market as it improves. Companies that will succeed in the SI market going forward will be those that embrace the evolution of the software environment, collaborate closely with partners and customers, possess a strong understanding of industry-specific business processes, and have a mature and seamless global delivery capability.
Category :Enterprise Players, Emerging Trends |
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Courtesy of Jason Wood saw this insightful and interesting perspective. Matt McCall of Portage Ventures fame has an interesting post sharing with readers a sense of the mood at the DFJ global retreat. The group’ has a very different venture model from others. Its partners runsomewhat autonomous operations in cities across the world, linked together by common infrastructure, incentives and philosophy. One of the closest models would be BCG or McKinsey where each region draws from the resources of other offices, shares a common legacy but have somewhat independent regional operations. To that extent the experiences are more varied and have a more local flavour. As he reflects on his experiences at Half Moon Bay, based on discussions therein with the other DFJ funds and portfolio companies, it is clear to him the technology world has become more global than can be imagined. He writes :
Talent and ideas are moving rapidly across the globe. There are firms using Russian & Estonian programmers, selling product to Asia and competing with European competitors. New technology models in mobile are popping up in Asia & Europe years before the US and next generation silicon is emerging from China before our Valley brethren can get out of the starting blocks. It reminds me that our world is much more than simply building the best Midwest technology firms but rather about building the best global technology firms. The spoils accrue to the #1 or #2 firms and the rest get table scraps. Without this global perspective, it becomes very difficult to understand this global market.
My Take : Is it the end of the road for the west : No Way - Most leading Western companies are turning toward a new model of innovation, one that employs global networks of partners. These can include U.S. chipmakers, Taiwanese engineers, Indian software developers, and Chinese factories. IBM is even offering the smarts of its famed research labs and a new global team of 1,200 engineers to help customers develop future products using next-generation technologies. When the whole chain works in sync, there can be a dramatic leap in the speed and efficiency of product development .No doubt that the world is changing. Many developing countries are making rapid strides. The global commodization of education is definitely taking some sheen out of the US. The developing countries have their own dynamics when it comes to doing business. It is believed that most of chinese advances have some linkages with their government in some form. I think that the US definitely has the lead in tech innovation. No other country would enable immigrants to make the best out of opportunities. The US is the economic engine of the world – lets hope that it continues to innovate faster, better and emerge stronger. Collaboration in innovation is always a workable solution. Together with the Asia, the hotbed of economic activity today, let more innovation blossom and let the world prosper a lot more - innovation and prosperity are closely related.
Category:Emerging Trends, Globalization |
Friday, November 17, 2006
Jeffrey Phillips writes an interesting point about companies needing to focus on adapting for the present and plan for the future – overlooking the option to copycat successful yesteryear models:
Category :Emerging Trends, Business |
A.T.Kearney’s Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index shows China & India as preferred destinations, the same survey scored China low — much lower than India — for its rule of law and corporate transparency.
Category :BRIC, Emerging Trends |
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Jamais Cascio has an interesting perspective on the emerging culture of participation. In his own words, he sees that the we’re moving into a world where the public, through the use of collaborative tools and open models, can be as effective—sometimes even more effective—than traditional top-down authorities in gathering and analyzing useful information. We hold the world in our hands. We are rapidly developing the tools to allow us to work together, openly, transparently, responsibly, for our mutual betterment. It’s idealistic, but oddly enough, it’s a practical idealism. We know these tools work; we’re only beginning to understand their power. This is, more and more, an era of remarkable possibility—and we all have a role to play.
(Pic Coutesy : Jamais Cascio)
Category :Emerging Technologies, Emerging Trends |
Dr.Wendell Williams writes that the hiring practices of even good companies need to be examined critically , despite believing that they have best-in-class practices. He points out that hiring criteria run the gamut from "Y'all come" to get-to-know-ya interviews, to magic-question interviews, to highly structured interviews, to interview/test/simulation combinations, and on-the-job exhaustive tryouts. He takes the example of well publicized hiring machine and adds his insight, which I found to be indeed insightful. A company that has hired 4,000 people in the last 18 months expects each new employee to be smart, a fast learner, collaborative, curious, and love solving problems. Looking at these goals from a whole-job-whole person, this description only covers two of the four critical job competency clusters.After going through the hiring process he points out that to be seen as complete, the company needs to expand the profile to include planning/organizing ability, additional interpersonal skills, and a few more motivational aspects. In addition, it needs to clarify how-much of each skill is necessary for each job-type (managers, for example, need broader and deeper cognitive abilities and better coaching skills than job-holders).
Category :Hiring, Emerging Trends |
Monday, November 13, 2006
A cautious Bill Gates warns against the rush to new Web-based software services, likening the frenzy to the days of the 1990s Internet bubble. "He sees that the world is 're back kind of in Internet-bubble era in terms of people thinking chasing more and more I think that he is right in saying that there are still some areas where it is unclear what's going to come out of that. Scobeleizer’s defence looks too weak – agreed that some factors may look different and less pronounced but the overall frenzy is certainly not justified. Whenever I talk of web 2.0, I keep saying that a good PPT need not necessarily become a good business.|
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Vivek Ranadive points to the fact that the Web consumer has a short attention span, so competition is only a snick away and if enteprises are not real time, you are history. That applies to companies as well. I look at IBM, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft as companies of the past. They have the database model. It is only now that they are talking about service-oriented architecture. They have been making big money from global customers for years. Customers are locked in. For any kind of change, they have to go back to them. The world of hardware, software and communications technology has changed. So, the fact that IBM is bigger does not make them better.
Category :Emerging Trends, Emerging Technologies |
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Peter Drucker once laid out what he saw as the three ingredients of the discipline of innovation: focus on mission, define significant results, and do rigorous assessment. What looks seemingly simple are amongst the most difficult things that organizations can hope to achieve. Just came across this interesting interview with Innosight’s Mark Johnson. He believes the most important piece that needs to be in place is having a common language and a common way to frame innovation. That allows groups to collaborate in a way that allow innovation to happen given that they think about it in the same way. All too often different groups speak a different language of innovation. When that happens there’s what’s called an absorptive capacity issue – knowledge transfer which is so important for innovation to take place doesn’t happen because the fundamental language is so different between units. Quite true – many large organizations are blind to the fact that the reported innovation in various business lines hardly appeal to the whole organization – many disbelieve the innovation reported by other groups as these are generally hailed as respective leader’s showmanship. On the other hand, as Clayton Christensen observed, a small company can disrupt the market and gain an advantage against a much larger competitor with a revolutionary new product. This happens a lot on the tech industry. Many startups try to develop "giant-killer" technologies and once they are proven technically and in the marketplace they are bought up by the larger company or one of its competitors.
Category :Innnovation, Emerging Trends |
Friday, November 10, 2006
I wrote a brief note for sandhill.com on whats happening in the enterprise software world - The traditional platform vendors are working hard to define new outline for traditional layers like operating system, middleware etc. Historically the traditional separation has been brought out by commercial vendors and this line keeps changing with the moves of the platform vendors. The traditional separation between these layers is fast disappearing with the concerted efforts of the platform players. If these are to be recast, it opens up multiple questions. Some of them include the likes of where (the direction) this can take things towards and how (the enablement) is this made possible. Undoubtedly SOA is playing the role of a linchpin here. The redrawn boundaries between traditional separations of layers are pushing the framework into the world of business processes. The middleware & SOA combination is shifting the control from applications into this block. Such a strategy gives traditional vendors a good lock-in over with assured recurring revenue whether the infrastructure expands or applications get built on top.
Category :Enterprise Software, Emerging Trends, Emerging Technologies |
Marisa Meyer of Google says that the company has learned its short history that speed makes all the difference for the web consumer and how Google understood the power of speed. In a consumer research on search page design they found that those in the control group with 10 results stayed longer than those who asked 30 results. The control group's search, which displayed 10 results, took .4 of a second vs. those getting 30 results, took .9. Today, Google allows users to do a search that touches anywhere from 300-700 machines before it comes back to you in .05 of a second. Greg Linden confirms this to be true in early days of Amazon.com as well. Google says that they have applied this lesson in enhancing Google Maps as well resulting in demonstrably better results in usage.
Category :Speed, Emerging Trends |
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Six major firms — among them PWC, Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche — say the corporate financial reporting system is bust. They say it delivers a lot of dense, impenetrable information without giving the full picture of a company's performance. Quarterly information disclosed are pass’e. The crux of the recommendation is that alongside standard information like earnings, sales and cash flow, it should be mandated that companies disclose nonfinancial data – after all in today’s connected world, information flows quite fast . Bringing tangibility to traditional intangibility seems to be the goal here. In a way, earnings call provide opportunities to get such information – but sometime, big companies do not expose the key management executives even in such occasions. Even common financial measures are classified as non-mandatrory disclosures today. Many progressive enterprises today do report key performance measures – only thing is these need to be reported in a standardized way. For example, the ARPU factor of telecom service providers, employee turnover/addition for consulting firms, the load factor of airlines, the inventory turns for process industries – in other words the top 10/15 critical measures that a CEO is expected to monitor – but to be reported in a standardized way. Obviously we need to have vertical/geography specific add-ons/flavours. After all stakeholder valuations are based on assessment centered around a set of such factors.
Category :Emerging Trends, Corporate Accounting |
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Pricing is always a tough call to make. Different service providers have different approach towards pricing depending on various factors like sector, vertical, geography,technology,customer etc. A recent case involving Accenture made significant impact to its share prices as well. The power of influence of commerical team in different organizations vary quite dramtically. Some finance departments inside organizations are focussed in doing their accounts, some are more strategic and can provide point analysis for various pricing scenarios and recommend a best course of action. As an organization grows, several of the so called contextual decisions may hurt them in the medium to long term. Indian headquartered firms also take different approach to pricing. The buyers also take different approaches towards engaging outsourcing at a broad level and engaging consultants for specific opportunities. They have to take a disciplined approach as well. Is the case different for the numerous boutique consulting firms? No says this Forbes article. Many consultants simply underestimate how much a business will cost to run and warns against new entrants trying to charge less as an entry strategy. It makes it hard to up the fees later and so suggests that new entrants can look at making the first engagement free of cost and demonstrate value before finalizing on a pricing structure for future. Its interesting to see the various patterns of billing practiced by consultants of different industries : information-technology consultants will charge by the hour, while more high-level consultants like strategic planners or management coaches will charge per project. Lawyers, accountants and wealth managers tend to nab those retainers. As for how much to charge, strategy consultants usually command the steepest fees, followed by operations-management, human-resources and IT gurus. Most consultants are cagey about their fees, so studying the competition is a bit tricky but here’s the most sensible advice : No matter what price you charge, be sure to give customers what they paid for. Look at the interesting set of slides on how to price your consulting services.
Category :Pricing, Emerging Trends |
Monday, November 06, 2006
Harvard Business Review's Working Knowledge has an interview with Harvard’s Richar Tedlow, author of the book, Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American. The book gives a glimpse of Grove’s style of management outlining Grove's approach to management. The publisher’s claim that Tedlow has built the book around a year-by-year, blow-by-blow account of Intel's ups and downs, punctuated by Grove's contemporaneous musings, drawn from his private notebooks. Some of the points that Richard makes about Andy Grove stands out. He points out that for Andy, putting common sense on a pedestal as against the "uncommon nonsense" epitomized by the "virtual" cheering at parades in his ealry days mattered more. Grove's career has innumerable lessons for the business executives of today and tomorrow. Grove is an autodidact—a man capable of teaching himself a remarkable variety of new skills. Writing down his thoughts plays an important role in this process of teaching himself. Grove's experience growing up in Hungary became a foundation for the "Intel way." What Hungary was, Intel was not. Intel culture emphasized knowledge over power, common sense, and respect for ideas. The act of writing contributes an important element of discipline to his thinking. Pointing out that he has an uncanny ability to abstract himself from a decision in which he is deeply, emotionally involved and view the problem as an outsider would he adds that this ability to view issues that for others would be fraught with emotion in a clinical fashion, has led to some of his most astute decisions.
Category :Andy Grove |
Saturday, November 04, 2006
More than 15 months ago, I spotted the determined moves that China was making on IPV6. Chinese attempt at control involves the Internet's physical infrastructure. Within China, the Web looks more and more like a giant office network every day, centralized by design. Last month, China announced its latest build-out—the "Next Carrying Network," or CN2. This massive internal network will be fast, but it will also be built by a single, state-owned company and easy to filter at every step. Its addressing system (known as IPv6) is scarcely used in the United States and may make parts of the Chinese Internet and the rest of the world mutually unreachable.
Category :IPV6, China, Emerging Trends, Asia |
Courtesy of Vinnie saw this announcement of Rick Sherlund leaving Goldman Sachs. Clearly amongst the most respected and a long time veteran in the financial analyst community with a penchant for deep analysis as can be seen here, it would be a difficult void for GS to fill.. The analyst landscape is certainly changing, as far reaching things are happening in the enterprise software industry. Look at this – even seasoned analysts can get tripped when giant execution machineries fail to click in time. I heard several friends say very good things about him in the recent Enterprise 2006 meet. I hear similar things about him around the world when I talk to industry veterans.Here’s wishing him well in his new endeavors.
Category :Rick Sherlund, Analysts |
Friday, November 03, 2006
One of the great things about the internet is that it’s a sort of leveler. It does not respect big or small, rich or poor, race, color etc. Besides its such an empowering medium for those who embrace it. Microsoft, generally considered a laggard in embracing the net, has come out with a new service offering.
Category :Office Live, Emerging Technologies, Emerging Trends |
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Oracle plans to acquireStellant.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. This is a sensible acquisition seen from Oracle perspective. They are weak in the content management space While Vignette/Interwoven might have appeared to be more glamorous, this is really good for them. Actually, I see that Oracle is able to improve things when they buy products in spaces where they have not been there. This is quite similar to their Glog or Portal acquisition. Wherever they buy for marketshare - we may have to wait and watch the results. Existing customers of acquired product demand more. Too big a width may affect their bargaining power in large system integration deals - so it may make sense for them not to just roll up and bundle all these new products. After all the customer always want more choices.
Category :Oracle,Consolidation |
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I was in a conversation with someone known to me working in a different industry – he thought his enterprise had an entrepreneurial streak – while not being skeptical about what he was saying, I told him too often we confuse unstructured and aimless pursuit as entrepreneurial – suddeny he asked me whats the litmus test for measuring that. I pointed him to this small piece by Seth Godin.
Category :Entrepreneurism, Emerging Trends |
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