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.
2) Microsoft has added a privacy blog entitled The Data Privacy Imperative. I am interested to hear its thoughts moving forward, although I do find it a bit odd that the only two posts other than the inaugural one to date are by Erik Bratt (the Marketing Communications Manager) rather than technical members of the privacy team.
Since the Symbol-Motorola acquisition closed in January, it is plain to see that Motorola has plans in mind for the WLAN assets and technologies that it has taken in-house. One could be forgiven for making a snide remark about the Symbol assets being lost within Moto, however, all signs point to the large, Illinois-based technology firm making earnest efforts to give the Symbol technology visibility within its Wi4 wireless portfolio. For those who doubt it, there was a very large banner at Interop to prove the point.
The Wi4 portfolio positions Motorola against only one other competitor, Nortel, to take on the role as supplier of the ubiquitous mobile network. What do I mean by ubiquitous? Think of a network that not only includes indoor and outdoor 802.11 solutions, but also wider-area networks like muni mesh and, eventually, WiMAX. These two companies are the only two companies poised to supply this entire network with their existing portfolio.
Both Nortel and Motorola, with deep carrier equipment expertise and a growing presence in the WLAN market (as individual names, one can argue that Symbol stands as a founding father in WLAN) stand apart from other WLAN vendors due to the synergies of their existing carrier and 802.11-centric businesses. One can argue the finer points of why one vendor potentially trumps another in terms of winning the WiMAX battle, however, the carrier and IT-focused wireless offerings each vendor provides places them in a clearly different category from other vendors, and arguably in the position to win or lose the battle for supplying the ubiquitous mobile network. Which will win? Too early to say in my opinion, especially with wildcards like foreign competition from the likes of Huawei thrown into the mix.
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:
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Ultimus User Conference in Munich, Germany. The conference was quite refreshing and encouraging from many different perspectives, starting with its unique theme: Empowering People, Driving Process. Why do I say it’s a unique theme? Every single BPM conference I have ever attended over the past 15 years has always zeroed in on one thing — how to use workflow or a BPM suite to automate the predictable and structured part of a business process. In other words, most business process management conferences explore how to drive business processes while ignoring anything about empowering the people who participate in business processes.
What a shift in thinking and maturity this get together demonstrated. Empowering people ran the gamut from the need to integrate collaboration, business intelligence and content into business processes, all the way to addressing user acceptance and people management issues that always surface whenever companies embark on changing or continuously improving their business processes.
Another real eye-opener at this event was the significant number of large, medium and small sized companies throughout western, central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa that are getting tangible and measurable benefits from business process management suites. BPM clearly isn't just a US trend or a large enterprise only trend — it’s clearly gone global and also moved into medium size businesses in a big way.
Imagine two gigantic mountains of money. On top of each sits a warrior that wants nothing more than to be sitting on a pile of money twice the size. One warrior, we'll call him Google, dominates the world of on-line search and advertising. The other, we'll call him Microsoft, dominates productivity software.What's the fastest way to double the size of your mountain? Simple, take the other guy's pile.
Google entered the world of enterprise productivity software earlier this year. While they continually claim that they don't compete with Microsoft and that their goal is to bring collaboration and productivity to currently under-served workers,it's hard to imagine that they aren't eyeing that big pile of money that Microsoft is sitting on. Afterall, all those free lunches in Google's cafeterias aren't really free. Google wants you to give up that software and information on your laptop and access it all from their data centers.
Google spokespeople continually repeat the mantra, "We understand the enterprise". While I believe that to be true, I also think that Google has a lot to prove before being taken seriously as an enterprise software vendor. If they really intend to try to get at Microsoft's pile of money, they are going to have to demonstrate that they understand security, privacy and reliability and all in the emerging software as a services (SaaS) model. They also have to prove that they have the stomach to take on Microsoft for the long haul. Let's be clear here, Microsoft is not fond of anyone putting their hands on their pile of money.
I’d like to hear what my colleagues out there think about the convergence of structured and unstructured data business intelligence. Here are the intersects as I see them. I see two types of BI paradigms emerging in the future:
Structured OLAP will continue to be just that – structured, as far as the process and UI are concerned. However, to become more effective, we will need to bring unstructured data into the analysis, in a way that is transparent to the end user. For example, as we are creating customer segmentation analysis for a marketing campaign, in addition to structured data such as customer demographics and prior buying behavior, we’d want to bring in comments hidden in customer email and voice mail requests. In an ideal environment, the OLAP engine will automatically match these emails to a customer dimension and quantify and qualify comments into star schema facts (number of requests) and dimensions (request types).
Combination of search and light-weight query used for ad-hoc research and analysis. Here, a familiar search text box should be the main UI, however, the engine should be smart enough to a) quantify and qualify unstructured results into facts and dimensions – a so called guided search, or b) recognize that the request is actually about data stored in a structured repository and automatically return search results via OLAP, cross tab or tabular report format.
Microsoft has fallen upon tough times in the x86 server virtualization space. Following an announcement last month in which they delayed the beta for Windows Server virtualization (aka Viridian), a recent Windows Server team blog entry announced certain core features would not be a part of the initial production release.We believe a production-ready hypervisor is one of the biggest draws to the Longhorn Server platform, and stripping features coupled with a delay getting a product into testers’ hands is a setback in their effort to deliver a competitive alternative to VMware’s solutions. In particular, the removal of live-migration and hot-add resources in Viridian’s initial release make it less dynamic than VMware. Instead of live migration, Microsoft will recommend clustering, which is frequently used for high availability, but less so for non-critical applications. Furthermore, it isn’t clear when the dropped features will be available or if customers will have to wait until Microsoft ships R2 in 2009.
Wow, IT Forum 2007, for me, was a blur. The level of interaction with clients, the feedback I received, and the information I learned surpassed my expectations. I walked away — albeit on Sunday evening after spending the weekend with family in the Nashville area — with the following in mind:
Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's privacy commissioner, is speaking to the Canadian Marketing Associates convention this week about privacy. She's an unusual speaker because frequently the relationship between privacy advocates and marketing is strained. Marketing wants more information and to process the information to its best advantage, while privacy and security experts often have to be the ones to squash new information uses.