Quickly: It's good for Microsoft that it didn't buy Yahoo -- now it has to reform itself.
Steve Ballmer unintentionally dodged a bullet today when the Yahoo/Microsoft deal collapsed. Yahoo + Microsoft would have been a disaster -- the best and the brightest from Yahoo would have gone to Google, the culture clash would have been destructive, it would have put Microsoft back in the sights of the regulators. And Yahoo wouldn't have helped Microsoft with its biggest task at hand -- adapting to the emerging executable Internet software model.
Last week, I delivered a presentation about the recent report Web3D: The Next Major Internet Wave at the vBusiness Expo in Second Life. I'll share some of my experiences and observations, as I'm sure that during the coming year many of you will be invited to present at or attend virtual conferences and meetings -- if you haven't already. These tips may prove helpful.
Picture this. You, the application developer, are in a big conference room. On your left is your boss. On your right are enterprise architects. Across from you are the business analysts and project managers. In the hallway is the businessperson on his "crackberry". Why is everyone gathered here? To discuss the next important application development initiative that the business needs to drive revenue, stay competitive, and be more efficient.
The number of pure-play vendors in user account provisioning decreased on April 7, 2008 when Hitachi announced that it acquired M-Tech Information Technology, and changed the name to Hitachi ID. Although Hitachi has been lacking an identity and access management (IAM) pedigree, this move can prove important due to the following reasons: 1) Using IAM for provisioning of physical resources and hardware resources. 2) Extending enterprise role definitions to previously uncharted verticals and cultures. 3) Evangelizing user account provisioning and IAM in Japan and other APAC regions. 4) Hitachi becoming a major player in Japanese SOX (JSOX) implementation.
Needless to say, the above will hinge on Hitachi's ability to retain and grow the existing customer base of M-Tech IT in North America and Europe, and also on Hitachi's ability to compete against EMC's selling of Courion and RSA products. How Hitachi will create an access and adaptive access management (Web and desktop) portfolio to complement its identity management and provisioning portfolio also remains to be seen.
Overarching causes described in the report are not surprising; control failures, an overly aggressive focus on short-term growth, and excessive risk taking are among the high level issues addressed. Also in the report, however, are scores of more detailed explanations of control failures in more than 20 different categories. Specific problems on the list include:
The thesis: "...we have been turned loose in the industrial age equipped with the brain of prehistoric times." Simply stated, most human beings are terrible at managing complex systems. Dorner's students run a model of a small fictitious African village -- changing variables like cattle stocks, food stores, arable land. Invariably the students kill off the entire "population" through their miss-planning
As it turns out, good managers of complex systems showed common approaches:
While much of the world paints itself green today in observance of Earth Day (being Irish I thought that was a March 17 initiative), it seems like an appropriate occasion to stop and ask “how green is your interactive marketing”? Last Friday, we published a report Direct Marketing Needs A Green Wake-up Call– but what about interactive marketers?
Jeff Lash muses at length about the importance of rising above tactical product management work in this excellent post. Here's a juicy quote:
Think about all of the tactical activities in which you engage — documenting details, answering questions, describing functionality, responding to feedback, tracking down responses, and the like. How much of your time is taken up by these activities?
The aggregate answer we received from our recent survey (publication pending) is, "Way more than we should." Although every job imposes some time spent on seemingly unproductive or counterproductive tasks, the degree to which product managers feel misused is striking.
One major struggle may be the difference between how product managers see their jobs, and how other people in the company (including their own management) view product management. Jeff touches on this problem indirectly, and perhaps accidentally, in the following section of his post:
Every time you as a product manager are presented with a task, ask yourself these questions:
On April 18th, IBM announced its intent to acquire virtual tape library (VTL) and deduplication vendor Diligent Technologies. For IBM, Diligent is a good fit. The company offers both mainframe and open systems virtual tape libraries and they are a pioneer of deduplication. However, IBM already offers a market leading mainframe VTL based on its own intellectual property and an open systems VTL based on FalconStor technology — although the open systems VTL has very limited adoption — so there is also a lot of overlap. Because Diligent is a software solution, IBM can quickly integrate Diligent with any of its storage systems and bring new VTLs to market relatively quickly. It’s very likely that IBM will in fact pursue this route so it can bring an inline deduplicating VTL to market as quickly as possible.
Forrester is planning on creating a Leadership Board for product managers. What does that mean?
Here's an official description:
The Forrester Tech Industry (TI) Leadership Boards bring senior executives together to stimulate new thinking & encourage business growth. Each is a knowledge community, layered on top of Forrester’s research services, tailored to a specific role. The Forrester Leadership Boards (FLBs) help members succeed by offering member-driven content, unique deliverables, community interactions and a dedicated relationship team.
In other words, above and beyond the normal research and consulting, the FLB for product management may provide things like..