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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Emerging Competition Between Google & Microsoft

The NYTimeshas an interesting take on the emerging Google –Microsoft race . Google believes that cloud computing can be a game changer. Henry Blodget has an interesting perspective on this. As I see it, Microsoft appears to be losing customer centricity and their cultural DNA seems to be moving away from incremental innovation –particularly with the windows platform and their inexplicable delay in rolling out Longhorn are clear indications of losing steam. Microsoft will take decades to be out of business as their product basket of offering is wide – and some niches may still save the company.I am still baffled why Microsoft (other than for being selfish about its interest)is not considering providing a hosted solution - when enterprise application software vendors are beginning to provide and stepping up aggression in pushing. Microsoft may end up to be a pale shadow of its present –that would be sad indeed – but the risk is indeed high for Microsoft. Microsoft is lucky that currently there is no one alternative that can dislodge it in key arena's - starting particularly in the desktop segment. While looking at future of microsoft, I wrote that the impending power of Broadband and hosted models are creating a new tapestry very different from what Microsoft is envisaging - one can note that microsoft has lagged behind in most of the new elements in this picture. Many think that hordes of cash, lock-ins and a lack of credible alternative to it would insure microsoft against any downturn in future - I doubt it - while microsoft may be trying to creating froth in the consumer electronics sector- it is appallingly falling behind in its ability to be creative and seems to be losing touch in respect of making new roll outs win in the market - MSN portal, MSN search , declining attraction towards hotmail, the non starter called spaces.msn.com etc - all conclusively point to this. Glorious past is certainly no pointer to great success in future. It is nice to see that Microsoft is planning to take the right moves - Time for Google to pre-empt Microsoft in this move.
Another interesting perspective to be considered here us that given the exponential increase in Internet connected devices, coupled with increased processor power and bandwidth attached to devices, the very definition of "server" may be about to change. With IPV6 about to get rolled out on a massive scale, the nature of relationship between a server and a client undergoes significant shift. This enables creation of an environment ripe for the development of new client layers and application models, operating on a much more distributed scale than we have ever seen and who better than Google could capitalize on this. The Google model of massively distributed computing gets more relevant here and extend this to a new ecosystem of net-enabled devices. Its going to be a different, different world – one wherein Microsoft would begin to get more and more less dominant.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Enterprise Software : Not The Significant Other

Scoble says that enteprise software isn’t sexy. Vinnie makes a passionate defence.By definition, enterprise software products are designed to integrate computer systems that run all phases of a businesses' operations to increase internal coordination of work and cooperation across an enterprise. These products facilitate the integration of core business operations and processes, including sales, accounting, finance, human resources, inventory and manufacturing. An implementation might involve a single application, or portions of a single application, or an enterprise system could control all major business processes in real time, via a single software architecture on a client/server platform.
Tibco’s Vivek Ranadive highlighted somewhere that some banking customers of TIBCO have infrastructures that are bigger than the public Internet in terms of the storage they consume, given all the data and equipment they have to support. It’s massive.
The current developments in the web have given the users a sense of empowerment . This means people can do things very quickly and on their own, so the velocity of information is a lot faster. This gives a sense of illusion that things move only faster in consumer space. Lets step back – what is the future of the darlings of consumer space of today : moving into the enterprise . Matt Asay points out,the real enterprise software companies of tomorrow are probably the biggest consumer technology software/online brands of today: Google, Yahoo, Digg, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

As I wrote here, the consumerization of enterprise technology has the potential to open up new powerful combinations. The possibilities of such fusion of different worlds may open up good chances for disruptive innovation - this provides a platform for such an ideal fertile ground that can lead up to a potential business model innovation – so enterprises need to be well prepared to capitalize on such possibilities. What should the CXO’s do in such contexts: Embrace such technologies faster and in innovative ways align them to their business growth plans. Consumer technologies are not a taboo to be shunned - these need to be constantly assessed for their potential for innovative leverage in growing business.

Imagine a world of business and commerce without those huge software applications. The global prosperity wave that we are seeing, significantly leverages enterprise software capabilities.There are repeating patterns of significance from the cavalcade of mergers, products, partnerships, and technologies on the enterprise software market . The highly competitive and high-IQ nature of software technology guarantees that the tide of significant advancements in the enterprise software industry will not likely be seen next week. The scope of impact is dramatically different between the enterprise software applications and that of the consumer space. A macro-trend cuts a swath through the software industry's silos, affecting the industry cross-region, cross-vendor, cross-market, cross—vertical industry, and cross-customer – a feat that enterprise software specializes in and one as irregulars, we are happy to facilitate make it happen faster, better and cheaper. Like they say that brevity in expression is a hallmark of an expert, extend the line of thinking, the blog traffic is not the indicator of impact - in real sense.In doing so, we don’t need to feel glamorous on a minute-to-minute basis.After all, enterprise software is not the significant other.
Update : Irregulars - Michael Krigsman, Dan Farber, Dennis Howlett, Anshu Sharma, Craig Cmehil, Jason - offer their perspectives.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

India : Venture Capital Flow

Venture capitalists invested more than $777 million in 57 deals for entrepreneurial companies in India during the first three quarters of 2007, according to the Quarterly India Venture Capital Report published for the first time today by Dow Jones VentureOne and Ernst & Young. This was nearly five times the $158 million invested during the first nine months of 2006 and more than twice the annual investment record of $320 million set in 2005.

While the rupee's meteroic rise against the USD is creating huge issues- the inflow of money into the country remains unstoppable. Paul Kedrosky points to the the skyrocketing venture investments in India.

Though the majority of financing rounds in the first nine months of 2007 were struck in the IT industry, the Business/Consumer/Retail industry attracted the most venture capital with $376 million invested during this period. The median amount invested in a Business/Consumer/Retail round of financing reached $12 million, double the median round size in IT. This reflects a significant trend reversal compared to 2006, when both industries showed a similar median amount invested of approximately $9 million. Within India's IT industry, the first nine months of 2007 saw more than $113 million invested in 17 deals in the Information Services sector, a four- fold increase over the $27 million invested in this sector during the same period last year.

Clearly, a lot of activity is happening in India best captured by this one - Time to short facebook, buy bollywood - this is written much before the concerns related to facebook began to emerge.

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