Compliance requirements of large enterprise customers are too complex to satisfy with organically grown role management software. As a result, it appears that the role management acquisition storm is starting. With BridgeStream acquired by Oracle and now Vaau by Sun, enterprise role maintenance is finally coming of age and will be part of Sun's Identity Management portfolio. Vauu's large number clients will continue to demand vendor agnostic solutions from RBACx, and although Sun has traditionally been one of the strongest players in the market of multi-OS vendors, it remains to be seen how Sun will handle the multiplatform challenge and keeping RBACx alive non-Sun operating systems. System integrators now have one less choice for picking an independent role magagement vendor. Eurekify, BHOLD, and Omada will likely now to receive acquisition offers from other large IAM suite vendors trying to complete their provisioning role management portfolio.
I remember my days as a PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant in the late 90's and early 2000, when the company was awash in HP acquisition rumors and then later discussions of the failed transaction. IBM beat HP and picked up a gem — PwC in these days was hard to beat in many areas, especially in business intelligence management consulting offerings. HP then went on an picked up a much smaller BI boutique Knightsbridge. Now that IBM is acquiring Cognos, will HP follow the same fate and acquire smaller Information Builders, Microstrategy or Actuate? There's also still SAS that would give HP a complete BI stack, but as we know acquiring the world's largest privately held company can be a financial and cultural fit nightmare (plus a rumored $20B or more than 10x revenues price tag is hard for anyone to swallow). That's why I thought that HP's potential acquisition of Cognos + Informatica + Teradata could've given HP best of breed components in all areas of BI stack. But just like with PwC, HP will now have to pursue smaller, more niche BI opportunities.
Back to IBM. Well, not so fast. Back to IBM and SAP. In my opinion, IBM/COGN and SAP/BOBJ deals are defensive moves since both companies have been telling us for years that they prefer to grow their BI portfolios organically, with smaller tuck-in acquisition. However, organic growth is not happening fast enough, and giving in to sideway pressures from Oracle (with two top of the line BI products from Siebel and Hyperion) and upward pressures from Microsoft (after Proclarity acquisition and with significant Performance Point market momentum), IBM and SAP had no choice but to react.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the enterprise software world were on board with your server virtualization efforts? Imagine downloading the latest version of PeopleSoft or Crystal Reports in a virtual server format that could be loaded on to VMware ESX and would just run – no installation, no configuration hassles, just instantiate and go.
Microsoft today put itself squarely into the enterprise search market by introducing Microsoft Search Server Express 2008. You can download the release candidate from its website and give it a try if you have a Windows 2003 Server with some free space on it. It's free today, and it will be free when it goes to general release in the first quarter of 2008. Don't be fooled by its cost; this is a capable product that will get the attention of anyone considering or in the midst of a search deployment. Search Server will disrupt the strategies of clients and vendors within the already confusing search landscape. It is better than 'good enough' on many fronts, including its connectivity into Documentum and FileNet content repositories — also free — and its unified administration interface. For more insights, take a look at Forrester’s view on the release.
Second Life is an anonymous virtual world — most people cannot identify themselves with avatars that use their real names. I say most people because I suppose there is a chance your name in real life could be Baklava Lacava and you could have picked this combination for your avatar. Oops, no you couldn’t – Rob Koplowitz picked that one a long time ago. Anyway, users in Second Life (called “residents”) choose a first name and a last name from a list of options ranging from realistic to fantastic. For a long time I’ve been thinking that because Second Life is an anonymous world it will be doomed to be no more than experimental grounds for use at work. But yesterday I had a phone interview followed by an in-world tour from Claus Nehmzow, a partner at PA Consulting, a 3,000-person consulting company headquartered in London. My thoughts after talking with Claus:
The consolidation of the IAM market is not a new phenomenon and has been following the following pattern: a large software company with a follower IAM product set acquires a smaller IAM vendor with a proven track record to update the IAM product and services portfolio and to secure increased market presence. The acquisition of Securent by Cisco is fairly different and highlights the following trends: 1) Entitlement Management is needed so much by the market that Cisco – even though it has not traditionally been a player in the IAM space – enters the market first with an Entitlement Management product. It is surprising, as only CA has an EM product today – all other IAM vendors are still trying to build their own as the other serious competitors on the EM market, BEA ALES is not for sale as a startup. 2) Entitlement Management may be moving (along with to IAM) to operations and to the network protocol level. In fact, Cisco intends to incorporate the Secucent EMS product into the policy engine of their SONA architecture. Policy Enforcement Points (PEP) are currently implemented at the application endpoint. With this acquisition, in the future customers can implement hybrid PEPs distributed between the network and the application, thus starting to move non-business policy logic into the infrastructure layer.
I picked up a book at the airport last week because 1) It had a pretty cover, and 2) The title was Juicing The Orange: How To Turn Creativity Into A Powerful Business Advantage. I've been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between the stuff that information and knowledge management (I&KM) pros are doing at work and the business movement toward organizations that are creative and have a heavy emphasis on innovation and design. Juicing The Orange turned out to be about lessons learned specifically in the advertising industry — not exactly my area of expertise. But I couldn't put it down! Many of the points authors Pat Fallon and Fred Senn raise are directly applicable to the efforts I&KM pros are undertaking — especially those who are or who work directly with HR, chief design officers, or other "culture players," as they are described in Juicing The Orange. In particular:
I recently heard from a client who wanted to know whether I had any data or best practices around how business-to-business firms define – and count – their customers.
Here are two scenarios to consider:
A large software company sells to Vodafone UK, Vodafone Spain, and Verizon (US). All are owned by the parent company, Vodafone. Each entity goes through a separate buying process, contract negotiation, and installation. How would you count this: as one customer or three?
A top ten professional services firm has separate engagements with GE Money, GE Appliance, and GE Medical. These are three very different businesses, each with a separate purchase process. How would you classify any subsequent sales to GE Appliance: cross-sells/upsells or new business?
My perspective: I see B2B companies define “customer” as a legal entity with which they have a contractual obligation. A “customer” is the part of the organization with the budget authority and the potential to deliver a future revenue stream through service contracts, training, consulting, upsell/cross-sell, and the like – without having to run to the parent for approval.
Interwoven has announced its acquisition of Optimost, a company offering Web site testing and optimization through a software-as-a-service model. Optimost enables organizations to use multivariable testing to identify combinations of Web content — such as ads, pricing, and layouts — that get the best response from site visitors (all the better to drive up those conversion rates).
This isn't Interwoven's first effort to appeal to marketers; earlier this year, the company announced a targeting management module that allows non-technical users to manage contextual experiences for Web site visitors. This latest acquisition plays nicely into the story of traditional WCM vendors offering features such as targeting, testing, and analytics that will differentiate them from the platform vendors, which tend to offer more limited functionality in those areas.
My colleague Suresh Vittal commented that this acquisition is just another step in the broader issue of increasing relevance and targeting. The question now is whether Interwoven will continue to add additional components of an online marketing suite, such as enhanced campaign management and Web analytics, in order to further differentiate themselves from their competition.
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Chairman Emeritus, IBM Academy of Technology, was speaking from experience this morning during his interview by Wall Street Journal Columnist Walt Mossberg at the BIF-3 collaborative innovation summit. By a near-death experience, Wladawsky-Berger was referring to what IBM went through when Bill Gates founded Microsoft and the PC took off. Another example interviewer Mossberg raised during the conversation was Apple, which was in terrible financial straits in the mid 90s and has risen from the ashes to become today’s darling in the consumer electronics and digital music markets. Wladawsky-Berger said that near-death experiences open up the mind to new experiences – they “clean the brain.” These experiences force people to think in new ways and look for new opportunities. For IBM, the Internet became the lifeboat and the company clutched onto it. Later came Linux and other technologies.