Are Great Application Developers Making A Comeback?

Mike Gualtieri

"I don't want 10 developers. I want 3 great ones", is what a client told me when I asked him how his company was responding to the economic crisis. Of course, I think this is good advice even in good times and I think we have gotten away from this is recent years. Why? I think there are couple of reasons:

  1. Outsourcing changed the focus from finding great developers to hiring large numbers of developers.
  2. Project managers and business analysts worked their darndest to separate developers from the business problems that develoeprs need to solve. Agile has mitigated this a bit, but treating developers like machines on an assembly has been in fashion for years now.
  3. There are fewer great developers because back in the day people passionate about software development gravitated towards a career in application development. Now it is a career choice for many and percentage of great developers has been diluted and thus they are harder to find.

I am asking every application development professional I talk to, including you, the following questions:

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"... we had the data, but we didn't have the information..."

Boris Evelson

Borisevelson

By Boris Evelson

I know I am in the right business. Over 25 years ago, when I was a junior programmer on Wall Street, I heard the CEO of Citibank, Walter Wriston, say during one of the company meetings that “information about a transaction was going to become more important than a transaction itself”. I pondered on his prediction of the impending information revolution and decided to get into the business. I have not felt sorry ever since.

That is until now. I saw a good portion of my savings plan evaporate, some friends loosing their jobs on Wall Street in droves, and out of control media predicting, what basically amounts to, the end of the world (well, at least economic and social structures) as we know it.

What went wrong? While I am obviously not qualified to comment on the disastrous chain of events and a failure at every single link of the entire credit value chain (yes, I am not going to mention unreasonable social programs, uneducated consumers, greedy bankers and investors, ineffective risk rating agencies, and government regulation paralysis – did I miss anyone?), I am somewhat qualified to partially blame failed Business Intelligence at some levels of the credit value chain.

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Revolution? Please, not again!

Boris Evelson

Borisevelson By Boris Evelson

I am appalled at what has been happening in the economy lately. Seems like we are moving from one crisis management to another. First it was the oil price increase crisis, now it’s the credit markets crisis, while the oil crisis seems to have disappeared. There are revolutionary approaches to solving these crises being thrown around very lightly and carelessly these days: nationalization of certain industries, redistribution of wealth and other extremist approaches. Haven’t we learned from history? Don’t we know by now that revolutions do not work? It’s been proven time and time again in Soviet Union, China, Cuba and many other nations that revolutions only lead to disasters: terror, holocausts, starvation, turning societies and social structures upside down, and people leading miserable existence. I know. I lived in one of those countries. I do not want to live in another country going through revolution.

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BI Crystal Ball – Next Gen BI may be closer than you think

Boris Evelson

Borisevelson By Boris Evelson

Most modern large enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) tools are very robust and feature rich these days. Up until a few years ago BI users could blame vendors for most of their BI ills. This is getting harder and harder to do. Many of the BI tools, especially the ones reviewed in our latest BI Wave, are very function rich, robust, stable and scalable. However, while the tools have really improved for the better over the last 5, typical BI issues and challenges remain the same as when I first tackled them as a BI programmer over 25 years ago: silo’d implementations, incomplete data sets, dirty data, poor management and governance, heavy reliance on IT, and many more.

We are right now in the middle of running a BI survey, exploring these and other BI issues. While the results are still pouring in, the preliminary findings are 100% supportive of the evidence we’ve collected qualitatively and anecdotally over the past few years:

  • Not all data is available in BI applications
  • Data is less than 100% trustworthy
  • BI applications are somewhat difficult to learn, use and navigate
  • Most of the reports and dashboards are developed by IT, not end users
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Global GS1 Adoption

George Lawrie

GS1 offers the opportunity to standardize the attributes that retailers and their suppliers exchange, reducing the need for retailers to maintain on-boarding portals and for manufacturers to publish their item master data to multiple retailers in multiple formats. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests disappointed adoption particularly in Europe where Forrester hears “things are different” and “retailers can’t use GS1 standards without significant modifications”. I would welcome comments from readers. Are the GS1 standards really only appropriate to the allegedly homogeneous market of North America or are they a universally attractive way to simplify new product introduction? If GS1 falls short of European and international requirements or the requirements of smaller firms then what specifically is lacking?

Excel As A BI Tool? Not So Fast!

Boris Evelson

Borisevelson By Boris Evelson

Ever since our latest BI Wave was published a couple of weeks ago, I keep hearing comments about why we have not included evaluation of Excel as a BI tool. For example, Rajan Chandras, one of the contributing editors to the Intelligent Enterprise, poses really good arguments in his recent blog on why, when and how Excel can and should be used as a BI tool. Excellent question, everyone!

  • As I wrote in my very first report when I joined Forrester, Ouch! Get Ready - Spreadsheets Are Here To Stay For Business Intelligence: "Spreadsheets - the most widely used business intelligence (BI) tool - are a permanent fixture in enterprises because no other analytical application outperforms them in flexibility, ease of use, and ubiquity."
  • Furthermore, I consider Excel a major component of BI Workspaces: BI Without Borders.
  • And last, but not least, we do place a heavy emphasis on Excel as a delivery vehicle or UI for all BI environments in our Wave.
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The Joker On Open Source Software: "If you're good at something, never do it for free"

Mike Gualtieri

ThejokerThe Dark Knight is chock full of memorable quotes and, dare I say, advice from none other than the Joker, a role played eerily, crazily, and fabulously by the late Heath Ledger. One of the many quotes that stuck with me is "If you are good at something, never do it for free." This is pretty good advice, especially when you are proposing to "Kill the Batman" in exchange for half of the mob's money. It worked for the Joker. He got the job.

But, is this advice good for software developers?

On the surface it seems silly to even ask the question. Why would anyone want to work for free? But plenty of people donate their time and talent to causes great and small in an effort to help people and to benefit humanity. That is a good thing. But, is this in fact good advice for open source software developers? To answer this question we need to know what motivates them and what they hope to gain.

Software developers contribute to open source projects for many different reasons.

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And They Lived Happily Ever After. Not!

Boris Evelson

BorisevelsonBy Boris Evelson

When Business Objects got acquired by SAP earlier this year, it made a statement that it plans to continue to remain an open, heterogeneous BI vendor, treating all partners equally. Apparently, all partners are not created equal – and, as we suspected and long predicted, this Business Objects strategy does not extend to its own parent.

Well, the cat's finally out of the bag. Efforts are already underway at SAP to improve the existing connectivity between Business Objects products and SAP applications. The improved connectivity that Catsoutofthebagmay result from these efforts will be very much optimized for Business Objects products only. SAP states that "SAP customers who instead decide to move forward with non-SAP third party BI tools will not benefit from these types of improvements and enhancements."

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Do You Aspire To Be A CIO?

Mike Gualtieri

Mikegualtieri_2 Many application developers aspire to be a CIO or at least have words of advice for their CIO. Please check out my latest column on CIO magazine's website: 9 Reasons Why Application Developers Think Their CIO Is Clueless.

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What Happened To The Airline Industry's Business Intelligence?

Boris Evelson

BorisevelsonBy Boris Evelson

Remember my blog dated January 16, 2008 where I said that everything that happens in the software market is somehow related to Business Intelligence? I am now expanding that conjecture to include all other market segments. Specifically, the airline industry.  And not just Business Intelligence. Just plain old intelligence.

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