SAP Launches Business ByDesign

SAP's official announcement of Business ByDesign, formerly known as A1S, targets midsize companies looking for relief from complicated ERP implementations and support. Some key points regarding the Business ByDesign (BBD) announcement:

• The solution will be provided as a hosted, subscription service

• A dedicated website enables a try-before-you-buy sales approach, where customers can rapidly configure a demo system that reflects their needs

• Pricing is set at $149 per user, per month, with an nominal charge for self-service users

• The scope of the offering is comprehensive, spanning finance, HR, supply chain, supplier relationship management, CRM, project management and compliance management.

• SAP has 20 live early adopters and another 20 that are actively engaged in rolling the solution out. The initial emphasis is on US and Germany, with expansion to more markets in 2008 and 2009.

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Sesame Street 2.0

Web 2.0 is hitting the preschool set, as children's TV favorite Sesame Street is now producing a weekly video podcast. Each video podcast is five minutes long and features content repurposed from the show’s broadcasts. The content is available as a download on the show’s Web site and via an RSS feed, as well as through iTunes (apparently to help keep the wee ones occupied and educated while they're being dragged around town on errands).

So even the Muppets are finding new ways of engaging their customers by distributing Web 2.0-type content through multiple channels. Hope they’re using a digital asset management system and a good solid taxonomy while they’re at it.

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RFID in the Automotive Industry: Perspectives From IBM's Innovating With Insight Symposium in Stuttgart, Germany

Today was the first day of IBM's Innovating With Insight Symposium being held at the company's RFID Solution Center in Stuttgart, Germany. Most attendees are from European automotive OEMs or suppliers, with roughly even representation from business process owners and IT managers. While everyone agrees that external market pressures are forcing auto manufacturers to either innovate or stagnate (one IBM survey noted 90% of auto industry executives want to drive moderate or substantial change in their organizations) many disagree on the role that RFID will play in this transformation:
  • A few European divisions like DaimlerChrystler AG have invested in leading-edge RFID pilots oriented around operations processes (like vehicle tracking or container management, for example) but have not taken the next steps towards full implementation. Why?
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Taleo Introduces Its Version of Employee Performance Management

Taleo unveiled its product and vision for employee performance management at the vendor’s user conference, Taleo World, which was well attended with over 600 customers, 50 financial analysts, and a smattering of industry analysts like me. 

Taleo’s new product is built on its new platform “Akira” which will eventually become the platform for all of its products.  Its user interface (including hooks to apps like Outlook) demos quite well and exploits social networking and Web 2.0 technologies — all hot technologies that grabbed the audience’s attention.  Apart from the shock and awe of the nice interface, the real value of an integrated performance and recruiting solution should not be ignored and includes:

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BI Market Consolidation Predictions

by Boris Evelson.

Yet another rumor crossed the wires today about Business Objects getting ready for a takeover. These rumors have come up before, and it may be nothing else but a routine exercise that BO and other vendors go through to test the market periodically.

As I already blogged back in March '07, there's no denying however that the business intelligence (BI) and business performance solutions (BPS) markets are consolidating. Last year Microsoft bought ProClarity; this year Oracle bought Hyperion, Business Objects acquired Carthesis, SAP acquired Outlooksoft, and most recently Cognos acquired Applix.

I predict that within 2-3 years there will be five major BI vendors carving up the BI and BPS market: Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Oracle and HP. There'll be much M&A activity seen from these vendors in the near future.

Here's how I see it playing out:

  • HP will probably make the next big move by acquiring somebody like Business Objects, Cognos or SAS. HP is pushing into BI market very strongly: It repositioned NeoView as a strong data warehouse (DW) platform and bought Knightsbridge — leading BI boutique strategy and implementation consultancy. It'd make a lot of sense for HP to pick up BO or SAS, since in one transaction HP would get the entire BI and PM suite. Cognos would be the second choice for them, since Cognos does not have operational ETL and data quality offerings.
  • SAP told us repeatedly that they can't justify very large acquisitions — it doesn't fit their model. So Microstrategy, Actuate or Information Builders would be more obvious pick up choices for them.
  • I sincerely hope that Oracle is more than busy with Hyperion integration and more than set in the BI and BPS markets for a while. I don't see the next big move coming from them.
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Google proposes global privacy standard... joining the crowd

A few weeks behind the likes of Microsoft,, and well behind many large corporations who have decried the need for a global privacy standards for years, Google has now suggested that a global privacy standard is necessary. This of course in theory is a great idea for corporations, it will make doing business at the international level easier and make regulations consistent around the world. But right now we've got a long way to go because almost every country in the world has a different (or as of yet undefined) understanding of what privacy means for their citizens.

They have also highlighted the idea of considering actual harm when regulating privacy. At first glance this does seem like a good idea, no harm no foul right? But the trouble arises when clever thieves often hold onto the information they've stolen (or bought from someone else) and use it months or years later when the victim may no longer be on their guard. Therefore it's very tricky to link actual consumer harm to a particular theft. In the end, it's the consumer who again ends up with the short stick, and no way to prove which company lost their information to cause this particular theft.

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What is up with Gmail?

I have been a Gmail user for years. I've always been happy with it until recently. About a month ago, I started seeing a noticeable increase in the number of SPAM messages that made into my Gmail inbox. Granted, my Gmail address is out there; it's the address I use to order online merchandise, the one I use for mailing lists, etc. But Gmail had always done a decent job of keeping the SPAM volume low. I used to only get at most two SPAM a day. Something changed recently. I've been getting more and more SPAM everyday, over ten SPAM a day! I started seeing SPAM that would have been filtered out by any decent anti-spam tool. For example, I got an email today from "Ursula Diggs", 

Ursula Diggs           buy now Viagra (Sildenafil) 100mg x 60 pills $129.95

This mail was sitting in my Gmail inbox! Are you seriously telling me that Gmail can't recognize a piece of SPAM when it has "Viagra" neatly spelled out in the subject line?

Has Postini started to manage Gmail? I don't know. Hard to imagine that Postini would let something like this slip by. But what is the explanation? What is up with Gmail? Have they stopped working on the security features of Gmail, in anticipation of the Postini integration? 

I love to hear what think about this and what your experience is with Gmail.

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Cisco Joins The 802.11n Fray


This week Cisco announced - in an oddly timed unveiling - its 802.11n-based infrastructure offerings. The heart of the announcement, the Cisco Aironet® 1250 Series access points, based on draft 2.0 of the 802.11n standard, mark the vendor's maiden voyage into the next iteration of WLAN infrastructure. Colubris Networks, Meru Networks, and Trapeze Networks have all announced product based on draft 2.0 prior to Cisco, however, the networking giant's move into .11n is likely to push IT budget owners' and decision makers' interest in technology based on the standard into higher gear.

Ben Gibson of Cisco makes some salient points on the Cisco Mobile Visions blog about the move to .11n, calling out the "not-an-ap-only-decision" facts that have received too few mentions to date. I'll be exploring some of the questions and answers around moving to 802.11n in an upcoming Q/A document to be published later this month.

Cognos Makes A Smart Move To Pick Up Applix

Continuing the trend of rapid consolidation in the business performance solutions (BPS) space, Cognos announced a definitive agreement to acquire Applix on Sept. 5. Cognos is positioning the acquisition as an extension of its financial performance management capability. The combination is an interesting contrast of styles:

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HP Unveils New Business-Class iPAQs, Software, And Services