Insurance IT buyers have distinct preferences when it comes to how they learn about new technology.Tech vendors think IT buyers learn about the hottest technology because of the bright, shiny stuff that their marketing organizations spend all kinds of time and money producing. Wrong.
Only two years after acquiring webMethods, Software AG shakes up the BPM world once again with its announcement to acquire leading process modeling vendor IDS Scheer. Since the webMethods acquisition, Software AG has continued to push the envelope on combining solid human-centric and integration-centric capabilities under a single vendor roof. With the IDS Scheer acquisition, Software AG is sending an indisputable and clear message to the market: "We are a major BPM player, hear us roar!" Or should it be, "hear us bark?"
In many ways IDS Scheer has more brand cachet in business process improvement circles than Software AG, leading us to wonder: Is the tail wagging the dog on this deal? Is Software AG buying IDS Scheer, or is IDS Scheer really buying Software AG? The truth is that Software AG is buying a global brand that has the potential to completely remake Software AG into a process improvement powerhouse.
Microsoft announced more details on Office 2010 today. It's a healthy release from my perspective: more, simpler, better, faster, cleaner. But there's an interesting new thing that Microsoft has introduced with this release. They call it "Backstage," but it might be easier to think of it as the context of the document -- everything you need know about it and everything that you can do with it.
At the highest level, Backstage is all the stuff you do once the document has been created: save it, print it, email it, etc. It's also all of the metadata associated with the document: permissions, version history, etc. This makes it much easier for teams to collaborate on documents and for documents to be part of a workflow or business process.
It looks like this:
So why does this matter? Three reasons:
The "context" of the document as visible as the contents of the document. It's as if the book just got a cover, a card catalog label, and an availability tracker. Wow. Metadata that matters to anyone who's looking for the document.
In May, I blogged about NetApp's announced acquisition of deduplication pionneer, Data Domain. The announcement triggered an unsolicted counter-offer from EMC, followed by another counter from NetApp. But after a month of offers, counter-offers and regulatory reviews, EMC ultimately outbid NetApp with an all cash offer of $2.1 billion. I believe that Data Domain would have been a better fit in the current NetApp portfolio; it would have been easier for NetApp to reposition its current VTL as a better fit for large enterprises that still planned to leverage tape. It's also said that more than half of Data Domain's current employees are former NetApp employees so there would have been a clear cultural fit as well.
For $2.1 billion, EMC gets Data Domain's more than 3000 customers and 8000 installs but it also gets a product that in my opinion, overlaps with its current Quantum-based disk libraries, the DL1500 and DL3000. In Forrester inquiries and current consulting engagements, Data Domain is regularly up against the EMC DL1500 and DL3000. EMC will need to quickly explain to customers how it plans to position its new Data Domain offerings with its current DL family, both the Quantum- and Falconstor-based DLs as well as its broader data protection portoflio that includes Networker and Avamar - which also offer deduplication.
There's a lot of buzz right now surrounding social media, Twitter, Web 2.0 — and whether there is any business value. My gut said there was... but having a Ph. D. in engineering, I knew that hypothesis needed to stand-up to testing. I began talking to customers, the brave souls who have ventured down the social media path, about what they were observing. None had calculated an ROI, but they could share with me their observations — their benefits, their costs and the risks. I looked for trends.
IBM threw a big event in New York City on Thursday, October 1, and Friday, October 2, to publicize its Smarter Cities initiative, part of its Smarter Planet marketing message. The event featured an impressive list of politicians (Mayor Bloomberg, NY Governor Patterson, governors from Vermont and North Carolina) and CEOs (CEOs from ABB, Verizon, American Electric Power, etc.). I was part of the crowd of hundreds of attendees and IBMers on Friday, and my colleague Doug Washburn attended on Thursday.
It would be easy to dismiss this as part of hype machinery that IBM is running to build awareness of and create customers for its Smarter Planet initiative and the emerging offerings that it is creating under that rubric. But I think there is more going on here. What IBM is really doing is creating a vision - or more precisely, half a dozen visions - of how a new generation of technology can help address some critical challenges facing the planet. Visions of course can easily become hype. But as several speakers noted, visions are also a necessary first step in any transformation process, building awareness of what can be different at the end that will inspire people to start the journey. And IBM to its credit put concrete examples behind the proposals.
Here is what IBM is doing right:
Focusing on key social and economic problems facing many countries around the world. Cities and national governments face challenges of providing healthcare more efficiently, improving the quality and delivery of education, managing greater and greater volumes of people travel and goods transportation, providing public safety and security in the face of increased threats of terrorism and persistence of crime, and encouraging energy conservation and alternative energies to counter global warming. These are the problems that IBM's Smarter Cities initiative focused on.
In many of my recent conversations with CIOs and IT infrastructure and ops professionals, I’m noticing an increasing interest in understanding how green IT will evolve.
Why do IT leaders want this vision? In the short-term, IT leaders want to ensure they’re not missing out any easy opportunities for savings they haven’t thought of yet. And over the long-term, IT leaders developing their green IT strategies want to strive for a broad scope of projects that reduce the environmental impacts — and of course costs — within and outside of IT.
2009 was the year we focused on virtualization and consolidation of IT infrastructure to drive down costs. Virtualization and consolidation will remain top initiatives in the second half of 2009 as IT organizations strive to save more by expanding virtualization and driving up the ratio of virtual machine to physical server. But what’s next? For one, virtualization is changing IT management, processes, and roles but most organizations have yet to adapt. Second, a lot of initiatives were put on hold in 2009 to focus on projects that had an immediate return on investment. As a result, many organizations put off infrastructure upgrades, postponed ITIL process adoption, and stepped back from process automation. But in order to achieve the next level of IT operational efficiency we’ll need to reprioritize these initiatives. And by doing so, we’ll be in a better position to selectively leverage web, cloud, and outsourcing services to eliminate some costs completely.
If you want to learn more about these topics, please join my complimentary Webinar, "Transforming IT Infrastructure And Operations in 2010" on July 16th at 11AM EST. You can register for the session by visiting: www.forrester.com/ioassessmentwebinar.