Today began with very interesting news — Autonomy entered into a definitive agreement to purchase message archiving and eDiscovery vendor Zantaz. This is a great purchase for Autonomy. They have already integrated IDOL server into Zantaz's archiving and eDiscovery applications, so they can capitalize on synergies immediately. eDiscovery is a hot market for both companies — the combined entities will have likely the best brand value in the eDiscovery space. With organizations truly called to action by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCPs), Autonomy/Zantaz has the solution set to help implement a short-term solution that can evolve into longer-term information management strategies (see our eDiscovery market overview for more information on how the FRCPs have become an information management spending driver).
This also makes Autonomy more attractive to the larger vendors, and I would not be surprised at all to see a CA, EMC, IBM, or Oracle in turn acquire Autonomy. Oracle makes the most sense as it is the only of the big infrastructure vendors that lacks the message archiving capability that Zantaz could provide.
I recently co-presented at a workshop on eDiscovery. Before I spoke about what enterprises are doing about exploding discovery costs and the fragmented solutions landscape, a very experienced corporate general counsel spoke to the IT-heavy audience. The theme of his presentation was "help a lawyer today." That's right CIOs and IT project managers - your legal team is not going to tell you how to handle eDiscovery. You are going to be responsible for effeciently and defensibly collecting information in response to regulatory and legal requests. In fact, legal is relying on your expertise in technologies to better manage information.
The moral of the story is that IT must take the leadership role in creating a formal, cross-functional team and process for managing eDiscovery. Don't fret - here's a few cheat sheets to get you started:
A while back I was invited to a very interesting presentation of some research going on in Sun Microsystems' labs. They were showing off a project called MPK 20. The name of the project is aligned with the naming of the buildings on their Menlo Park campus, MPK 1 - 19. MPK 20, the next building, will be completely virtual. Think of MPK 20 as a private, behind the firewall, version of Linden's Second Life. The idea is for Sun to provide a very rich area for remote workers to come together and collaborate. Their early vision is very much a virtual version of their physical workspace world. The question that occurred to me is, do we need to pursue this path of virtual workspaces?
Let's start with an assumption. The paradigm of bringing workers to a physical office is beginning to break down and it's only going to get worse. A few driving factors:
Carbon footprint. Organizations will be increasingly held accountable for the overall effect they have on the world. Asking workers to drive or fly to a physical location in order to do work that can be done virtually is undoubtedly the biggest contributing factor to overall carbon footprint for most organizations.
Competition for workers. If you require workers to come to an office every day, your hiring is constrained by the talent pool that is located within commute distance of your office. Would you rather have the best worker available in the world or the best worker within 30 miles of your office? Additionally, workers that commute from long distances are far more likely to become frustrated and leave.
At the end of May, Microsoft announced a project called Microsoft Surface. Microsoft Surface is a new, game-changing computing interface: a 30-inch display table that individuals or small groups can gather around and use collaboratively. The user interacts with Surface using natural hand gestures, touch, and physical objects placed on the surface. Here's a photo courtesy of Microsoft, but photos don't do Surface justice so check out the demo on Microsoft's Web site.
My take is that this is all much ado about nothing. Why?
*Google is an easy target. Google is so large, and has seen such rapid growth over the last 3 years, that we all (competitors, consumers, government officials, press, industry analysts) can't help but be a little suspicious of them. And maybe a little jealous of their wealth and presence.
One of the great joys I have in working for Forrester is the opportunity to collaborate with my colleague Oliver Young on the future of Web 2.0. Oliver and I bring very different perspectives to the table and the final product is better as a result. Part of the reason for our difference in perspective is generational. I am a baby boomer (born between 1946 and 1964). Oliver is what Forrester calls a millennial (born between 1980 and 2000). Oddly enough we share a passion for Converse All-Stars. Mine was the result of seeing them worn by the late great Wilt Chamberlain. Oliver, no doubt, was influenced by some highly pierced and tattooed musician.
During a recent trip to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, I was treated to a tour of the company's Workplace Advantage showroom. Workplace Advantage is a Microsoft real estate and facilities management program “focused on empowering Microsoft’s employees by creating new work environments that foster innovation and productivity and that reflect the culture and position of Microsoft in the marketplace as a visionary technology leader,” according to the program’s glossy literature. Some highlights:
Forrester encourages B2B marketers to use online video, recorded Web seminars, and other rich media to educate, train, and persuade buyers. Through testimonials and case studies, video creates a lasting impression and emotional bond that is important in business marketing. It’s also less risky to experiment with this medium with the cost of recording decreasing.
But how far can B2B marketers push video from traditional interview or demonstration formats into non-traditional word-of-mouth? Clients see consumer-oriented video ads on YouTube and ask if we see viral video work in business marketing. The answer? We don’t see much.
Exceptions do arise: Scalent VP of Marketing and friend, Kevin Epstein, sent me an April Fool’s joke video his team put together, and – on a whim – decided to post on YouTube. Kevin wrote about this decision on his blog and I asked Forrester’s marketing research team to look and weigh in. Our take: video may become the digital tchotchke: logo-emblazoned pens, toys, and other useless items companies give to prospects or hand out at tradeshows.