As part of the run-up to the Business Innovation Factory summit (BIF-3) currently going on in Providence, Rhode Island, attendees participated in an online social network. On the social networking site, the most common one-word answers to the question “What are 5 keys to innovation?” were rolled up into a tag cloud (see figure). Words that rose to the top of the list included creativity, collaboration, and passion. These are all good.
Trapeze Networks, the Pleasanton, CA based WLAN infrastructure vendor and well-known OEM partner of Nortel is currently rumored to be exploring a sale to a larger infrastructure vendor or related technology company. Rumors being what they are, this is completely unconfirmed information but it begs an interesting question. Could Trapeze, as an acquisition, be Nortel's move into making its own 802.11 gear? Would the acquisition of Trapeze alter its perception as a strategic vendor of WLAN infrastructure in the eyes of IT buyers? How would such a move in the market change your perceptions of the vendor, for better or worse?
At any rate, a company could stand to acquire worse technology, based on Trapeze's performance in our most recent WLAN Wave report.
Today, Dell officially released the
details of its first service offering under the IT
Simplification initiative: on-demand
desktop streaming. How does it work? Through a bundle of Dell hardware (its
now diskless OptiPlex 745 and 755 desktops, PowerEdge 2900 NAS storage,
PowerEdge 2950 server, and PowerConnect Gigabit Ethernet switch) and Citrix’s
Desktop Server software. The biggest opportunity for Dell however is the
services behind it, specifically with helping companies assess, design, and
deploy this alternative computing model.
Yesterday was the first day of Dassault Systemes (DS) Annual Industry Analyst Event, and I had the opportunity to catch up with executive leaders across the company’s spectrum of PLM product brands (Catia, Solidworks, Enovia, Delmia, Simulia, and most recently, 3DVia). CEO Bernard Charles set a visionary tone by laying out DS plans to enable “true collaboration where people virtually image, share, and experiment” in three-dimensional technology. This vision has propelled the creation of the company’s newest brand, 3DVia — an online community where consumers can create and share lifelike 3D images and animations. It’s certainly a bold and interesting move by DS and it holds the potential to fuel a wave of growth beyond the mature PLM space, but there are lots of questions and implications in shifting from a core industrial customer-base to a consumer-oriented online marketplace. How will DS differentiate in a whole new landscape of customers and competitors? How will they simplify their complex 3D design tools for the everyday layman? How will the online subscription model evolve to promote networking and adoption while still capturing profits?
The change of command at the top is never an easy undertaking. However, we see opportunity in Sprint's decision to bring in a new CEO, especially when considering enterprise services. With the consolidation of providers to near-oligopoly status in the US, we think a new CEO at Sprint's helm could help re-energize the languishing domestic enterprises services marketplace – if (and it may be a big if) he or she elects to re-commit Sprint to enterprise services.
SAP made a major departure from its "tuck-in" strategy with the October 7 announcement of its agreement to acquire Business Object for 4.8 billion (Euro). On the surface, the deal makes sense from the standpoint of marrying business intelligence (BI) technology with ERP applications. The deal is surprising in the sense that SAP has long insisted that its growth strategy is organic and that it would not make major acquisitions to gain market share. The Business Objects deal is by far the largest SAP acquisition to date, comparable in scope to Oracle’s acquisitions of PeopleSoft, Siebel and Hyperion.
SAP and Business Objects today announced that the companies have reached an agreement for SAP to acquire Business Objects for approximate sum of slightly above 4.8 billion euro. Forrester has been predicting this continued market consolidation for some time — see our Microsoft Buys Proclarity and Oracle Buys Hyperion research documents, as well as a couple of my earlier blogs on the subject. SAP must be feeling a lot of pain and pressure to make such a significant move — SAP executives have been telling the world for years that they prefer small, tuck-in acquisitions. The deal though does make a lot of sense. In one transaction SAP gets the best of breed set of BI tools with full BI stack capabilities, everything from data integration tools like ETL and data quality to reporting, OLAP, dashboards, text analytics and many others. This deal has multiple implications to enterprise software users, especially for those 30-40% from the common SAP/BOBJ customer base:
Business Objects users will gain from SAP’s domain expertise. In the era of increasingly commoditized products and services, domain expertise and industry specific solutions are key differentiating factors for any enterprise software vendor.
I am chomping at the bit about the 3D Internet (of which virtual worlds and massive multi-player online games are early iterations). What I see is its potential to improve my work experience dramatically — and the work experience of information workers world-over. Not that I've got it rough — I am privileged to be able to work from my home office in rural Rhode Island when I'm not on the road. But working remotely has two major downsides:
Backup is a struggle for both enterprises and small and medium businesses. It’s a complex ecosystem of backup software, networks, servers, disk arrays, and tape systems. Most companies report they are having difficulty completing backups in the time available and when backups fail or complete with errors, it’s often very difficult to discover the root cause. Couple those troubles with the fact that the amount of data that you need backed up is growing conservatively at 30% to 50% per year. Aside from these challenges, most companies are also interested in keeping backups longer for version history and companies are interested in the ability to perform much faster restores if they could.
Given the headaches associated with backup, many small and medium business and even some enterprises are choosing to outsource their backups all together to a service provider. There are already numerous players in the marketplace from Evault (which is resold by a number of different service providers) to Iron Mountain, to your telecommunication provider, and to emerging entrants such as Berkeley Data Systems and its Mozy service offering. This opportunity is so huge that even Symantec (which acquired Veritas) launched a beta of its own online backup service called the Symantec Protection Network. EMC’s acquisition of Berkeley Data Systems is just further proof that the online backup market is a huge opportunity.