“In the last 25 years, .com has transformed nearly everything in our worlds from the way we shop, connect with our communities, make weekend plans, engage with our government, educate our children and even how we think!”
“As part of the 25 Years of .com anniversary, a panel of Silicon Valley influencers will select the ".com 25"; the 25 people and/or companies whose inspiring contributions were fundamental in shaping the Internet and, thereby, our worlds.”
The Good, the Bad and the Scary future of the web..
..perspectives from Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf at Google, Richard
Stallman of the Free Software Movement, Bjarne Stroustrup at Texas A&M, Mena
Trott of Six Apart (which hosts my blogs), Leah Culver of Pownce and Jonathan
Zittrain at Harvard Law School
One of the most enjoyable sessions at the Enterprise conference last
week (other than the CIO panel, I ran, of course!) was one where
executives of 5 up and coming vendors presented for 10 minutes each.
Jason Wood does a nice job summarizing the wares of NetSuite, OutlookSoft, SensorLogic, SOA Software and Zimbra.
annual survey of CIOs (1,400 surveyed with average IT budget of $ 71
million and staff of 300 IT employees) shows Business Process
Improvement as the highest priority for 2006. Not surprising based on
comments I got back from a few of them as they read my "process angioplasty" post.
Many of the innovative CIOs I have written about in the last year - Steelcase, Starbucks,
others have focused on mobility, telemetry, predictive analytics,
biometrics and collaboration applications. They have found huge
paybacks from relatively small investments in those areas. Not
surprisingly, those technologies get high priority. While the software
industry keeps hyping up SOA as the silver bullet,
CIOs rated that 6th in importance on technology priority. Another
buzzword "virtualization" shows up 9th.
Courtesy of Dave Berlind
I saw this definition of "mashup artists" using ubiquitous APIs to
build new applications on what Dave calls the "uncomputer". I then saw
this "Mashup Camp" (already
sold out). The creative prospects are unbelievable -and I was
marveling at how far we have come from the initial APIs in the enterprise world and the ambitious Open Applications Group attempted in 1995.
But why just stop at APIs? It would be great to see other building
blocks - RFIP, GPS, open source, predictive analytics - being similarly
being mashed up to create enterprise applications.
Any one care to join me to think about a Monster Mashup camp on the lines above? Say, around Halloween?
spent yesterday at the AMR conference on Enterprise Software at the
Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, CA. Great location and genial hosting
by Tony Friscia, the CEO. As usual, Bruce Richardson, the Chief
Research Officer was at his joking best with quips and jabs for every
one in the industry. And he manages to keep them coming back for more!
But I left the conference feeling half-full - no not food wise, more about the content presented by the vendors.
a) Oracle's SVP of Application Strategy, Jesper Andersen had few
details about real progress on Fusion. Just a few hours later and a
few miles away, Charles Phillips and John Wookey presented far more
details to the press. The audience at the AMR conference is more
influential in the market - what statement is Oracle making with that
b) Shai Agassi of SAP was probably the most entertaining presenter of the day -
funny, charming. Did a nice job summarizing SAP's positioning and
SOA. But was way too fixated on Oracle. Would have liked to hear
more about what SAP is doing around new verticals, redefining
application categories, open source, BPO - there are plenty of other
non-Oracle competitors lurking in those niches. More importantly plenty of customers.
c) I was really looking forward to the speech on innovation from
IBM's Rod Smith, their VP of Emerging Technologies. IBM should have a
bunch of case studies to highlight examples of magical innovation.
Instead the presentation was a fairly high level discussion of IBM's
views of trends around SOA, Open source and Web 2.0 stuff (AJAX, PHP
etc). Confirms the point I made about IBM last week.
d) Same thing with Microsoft. Dan'l Lewin, Corporate VP of .NET
Business Development could have spent more time on that community and
how Microsoft's enterprise software is doing- Dynamics, SQL server etc
given the focus of the conference. But there was little of that.
e) Parker Harris of salesforce.com demoed some of the partners in
their recently launched appexchange. Probably was the most "real"
portion of a day filled with vendor promises and slideware.
f) Patrick Grady of Rearden Commerce, like Parker, talked about a
real life application his company supports - travel and other services.
It was nice to hear about a business use of technology. One nit -
during Q&A he was evasive of the volumes he is supporting today.
Patrick - look at it this way - whatever you are supporting is miles
ahead of others.
g) Dave Duffield and Aneel Bhusri, co-founders of Workday in their
"coming out" of stealth mode teased the audience with basic tidbits of
what they are planning. Enough to merit a post on the blog of Jeff Nolan of SAP.
In their kick off presentation AMR presented the fact that players
like Logility, Descartes, Indus and ILOG stocks were up between 40 and
over 100% - whereas SAP was only up 2%, and Oracle went down 11%. I
wish AMR had allowed a couple of their CEOs to present - see how the so
called "living dead" are reinventing themselves and getting the stock
AMR also presented an interesting theme in their kick off - one
around the workplace of the future - aging workforces on the one hand
and the next generation of iPod and myspace.com savvy users -will
influence business applications. It did not get covered again during
I posted yesterday that I thought it was nice to see AMR allow
vendors, more than their analysts, to talk. In retrospect, there was
too much vendor talk. As a result, there was way too much SaaS and SOA
- not enough telemetry, next generation CRM, BPO. Now I wish AMR
analysts had presented more.
I certainly did not feel like running out to the cliff at the hotel
with a stunning view of the Pacific and screaming "I am full" - a la
the Taco Bell commercials.
Author Note: Randy Weston of AMR posted his summary of the event here. I missed yesterday's CIO panel session and see at bottom their reaction to SOA - a little different than vendor excitement.
Whatever we remember 2005 for, we can all agree it was the year blogs
exploded in numbers. And bloggers, shy as we are, are not hesitant to
look ahead. But scanning the many blog projections for technology in
2006 we see a majority focused on Web 2.0 - Google this, Flickr that.
Of course, with Apple and amazon.com enjoying a bumper holiday season,
the focus on consumer technologies is only accented.
as I love Google, it cannot process BOMs for the average manufacturing
company. Much as my daughter loves her iPod, it will not process
insurance claims. Whoever does whatever with AOL will not improve
supply chain logistics at UPS.
As we did in the last Internet
Bubble, we risk making the Web and consumer technologies the center of
the technology world. It's the Gates/Plattner scenario again I wrote about earlier. As I wrote in Florence during the Renaissance,
innovation is happening in a number of other areas which CIOs are
actually much more excited about - especially at amazing new price points. But as I have written in several columns this year, many elements of enterprise technology spend are also grossly overpriced.
here's my forecast for next year - good and bad - with more of an
enterprise focus, unsexy as that may be relative to Web 2.0:
SAP, Oracle and Microsoft (around enterprise software) will have tough
years as pricing pressure intensifies on core products, particularly on
maintenance revenue streams. SAP will de-emphasize its web services
talk and go back to focusing on applications and business payback.
Oracle will go the other way and talk more about architectures as it
masks the enormity of rationalizing its various application
acquisitions. CIOs will increasingly question if all they are doing is
subsidizing Microsoft's intense focus on Google. It is behind its own
schedule or its competition in so many areas CIOs want to hear about -
from Vista to Business Solutions (Dynamics)
2) We will see
version 2.0 definitions of CRM, SCM, HRM etc - almost every software
category - emerge which will a) redefine process coverage (e.g. CRM is
more than SFA and call centers, SCM is much more than planning and
optimization) that the market leaders have chosen to define the
categories as and b) utilize appropriate, newer technology building
blocks - GPS, RFID, RSS, predictive analytics in the category
3) CIOs in many non-manufacturing
verticals will tire of waiting for robust software solutions for their
major engines (claims processing, trading systems) and more
aggressively look at BPO options to support these processes. These
CIOs, especially in financial services verticals, will also pioneer
attempts to leverage web 2.0 driven discovery and social networking
tools with their enterprise applications.
4) An infrastructure
vendor - likely Dell (or Sun as it tries to redefine itself and if it
can get over its allergy of labor intensive products) - will introduce
infrastructure outsourcing at aggressive, "utility" price points to
cover a wide range of network, database, desktop and other services. In
its hype cycle for outsourcing Gartner defines infrastructure
outsourcing as one of the most mature. As systems management automation
and offsite, shared labor models mature, an efficient services "supply
chain" becomes much more viable.
5) A generation of
"appligators" will emerge - small systems integrators which specialize
in innovation areas like web services or telemetry and willing to work
with clients in small, intense teams. We will not be able to tell till
2007 if they are of a more modest breed than their predecessors, the
Scients, Viants around the ebiz boom in late 90s.
6) Large US
and European outsourcers (EDS, Accenture and by extension IBM, HP etc)
will find themselves squeezed between a) private equity firms who want
to take their valuations from 1 or 2X revenues to close to 10X many of
the Indian vendors enjoy and b) CIOs who want price points much closer
to what Indian vendors can quote. This will force these outsourcers to
finally get serious about becoming much more efficient with automation,
shared services, global delivery models etc. They will find Indian
vendors expanding into horizontal process consulting and BPO (finance,
HR) beyond their traditional IT competencies.
7) An emerging
truism in global sourcing circles is to look to China for low cost
manufactured products, but to India for services. We will see China
start this year to challenge this assumption and also flex its muscle
around software and services. The Chinese GDP was recently "updated" by
another $ 300 billion. Apparently they had "forgotten" to count their
growing services sector.
8) SaaS models will come under
increased scrutiny from buyers about stringent SLAs and business
continuity plans. In 2001, after the India/Pakistan nuclear war threat,
Indian vendors went through a similar spike in scrutiny. After last
week's well publicized outage at salesforce.com, this will become a
required due diligence step in evaluating SaaS options. The scrutiny
helped Indian vendors mature - it will similarly increase corporate
confidence in SaaS.
9) CIOs will do serious "spend management"
around storage (due to proliferation of volume demand) and
telecommunications (due to proliferation of mobile, broadband and other
products) investments. For all the promise of VoIP and free municipal
WI-FI, the reality is telecomm services are still the single largest
category in IT budgets. Most CIOs would also love to avail of Google
Mail's 2.7 gigabytes of storage for free!
10) Finally, one more
of a prayer for the US economy than a prediction. Realize 2006 is an
election year and Enron's Ken Lay will finally go on trial - but
Gartner predicts 15% of 2006 IT budgets will be related to compliance
with Sarbanes-Oxley. And as we know in different industries we have
other compliance expenses related to FDA Validation, HIPAA etc. This is
a tax American corporations have to pay that most of our global
competitors do not. So, I predict CEOs will start lobbying Congress to
back off on the compliance burden. It has been 4 years since the Enron
scandal. Today global competitiveness in a "flat" world is a far more
compelling issue than compliance.. So I predict the SOX gravy train for
many software vendors and auditors will slow down in 2006.
plus 6 quarters may buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks! Today plus 4
fiscal quarters out, a version customized by Zodiac signs is planned if
a fraction of these predictions come true...