Last year, Google proposed a $3.1 billion acquisition of Doubleclick, which prompted consideration of the acquisition by the Federal Trade Commission and a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. Both the FTC and the Senate were addressing not only anti-trust risks for competition but also the implications for consumer privacy of a merger of the leading Web search engine and leading behavioral advertising provider.
About a year ago, one of my credit card companies "upgraded" two of my credit cards to include a paypass RFID token in the card. In doing so, they automatically canceled my old card account and changed my credit card numbers (so my automatic charges failed). In my research, I have explored the security and privacy risks of RFID, mainly for a business. But these risks are not limited to the business, the same attacks can work on consumers carrying these cards in their wallets, cards could be cloned or be made to accept fraudulent charges. Thankfully, the financial risk to the consumer is fairly minimal, as any financial loss is carried by the card issuer. Alerting and fixing any mistakes is still a responsibility of the consumer. My complaint with the cards, is that I was sent them automatically with no choice and then had tremendous hassle to get my normal cards back. I called customer service and the representative could not understand why I did not want the card. He had not been trained in how to respond to questions about the technological aspects of the card, and instead he tried to follow his (non-relevant) script about the benefits.
An article in January 25, 2008 Chronicle of Higher Education really caused me to sit back and reflect. The author, a university professor, questions the contradiction of conference travel thousands of miles away to hear or give presentations in light of global warming, with air travel one of the greatest polluters. Academics as well as business people travel all the time. In many cases it's critical for executives to gather for multiple-day meetings that address an issue or for academics to conduct research and interact with colleagues. But these are often the exceptions. People travel all the time to one-day meetings or even two-to-three-hour events and then turn around and come home. In fact I fall into this category. Recently I traveled from California to Amsterdam to deliver a half-hour speech, have Q&A, and do a five-minute Website video. At the after-party, I had an opportunity to meet and make connections and learn lots. It was great! I loved it! And that's why people travel. . . as social animals we like the face-to-face interaction, the new environment, or the invigorating atmosphere of a new culture. But is that always enough reason (as the author states) to "put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than do 110,000 Chadians or 11,000 Indians in an entire year?" But patterns are hard to change, especially when we like and get additional value from traveling. After the speech I didn't turn around and come home but traveled on to Belgium and Germany (by fast train) to see friends and deepen those cross-cultural human bonds that are so important in our challenging world today.
The media yesterday (Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Economist, etc.) were all over 31-year-old Jérôme Kerviel, the trader at France’s Société Générale who has apparently confessed to fraudulent trades resulting in an estimated loss of roughly $7.2 billion.
In further coverage, we hear that the bank has apologized to share holders, filed legal claims against Kerviel, and promised the public that the incident does not suggest any larger issues with the company’s risk management. The Wall Street Journal however, follows up with a story questioning the effectiveness of regulatory oversight that can let something like this transpire despite Société Générale’s claims that controls were adequately tested and did not fail.
Now for my core coverage area — data warehousing (DW) — and the topic of my first Forrester research report, coming soon. (Everybody note: Boris Evelson is our lead BI analyst. But given that BI and DW are joined at the hip, I had to put in my two cents on the intersections of these (and other related topics — I also cover CEP for Forrester as it impacts information and knowledge management professionals).
by Tim Sheedy
A factor that tends to be considered when choosing an IT service provider is how many project failures they have had – particularly when some of those failures are large, costly, and well-publicized. And if that is not a formal consideration, project failures are often on the mind of sourcing organizations. In fact many companies that I have spoken with over the past 12 months have actively excluded some players from their short list due to their previous failures. These types of metrics tend to work against the large players as they have more contracts and therefore, if they run at an industry average failure rate, they are most likely to have more failures. IBM, as the company that probably does the most IT projects, has the most failures (assuming that their failure rate is the same as that of their competitors) – and this works against them. I have actually heard people say that they would never have IBM in as an IT services partner because of the fact that so many of their projects fail. And this does not only refer to IBM – you could switch in any large IT services vendor’s name here as the sheer number of projects they work on means that they are likely to have more problems too (as very few IT projects go smoothly). If the failure rate is 1 in 10 (and this is just a guess) then a vendor that has undertaken 1,000 projects will have more failures than one who has undertaken 10…
In my humble opinion, focusing on failures or project problems is a short-sighted view. Project failure is rarely the fault of your IT services partner – even if it is, it is your fault for not managing the process effectively and pulling them up before it turns into a failure. The only time when the partner is to blame is when they promise to do something that simply is not possible – and again, they are probably just responding to your impossible requests.
By Matt Brown, Erica Driver, Mike Gilpin, Kyle McNabb, Rob Koplowitz, and Colin Teubner
We’ve been getting lots of questions about what the Oracle/BEA acquisition means in the Information Workplace platforms market. Here’s our take:
Oracle has made assurances to BEA customers
Oracle has assured us that they will be very mindful of protecting the interests of existing BEA customers, just as they have been for customers of Peoplesoft and Siebel – and we find their assurances credible. It’s not in Oracle’s interest to aggravate these customers, and in many cases BEA customers are already Oracle customers, anyway.
There are six main areas of synergy we’ve identified:
Business intelligence (BI) remains one of the most vital and innovative sectors of the data management arena. The past year saw BI achieve a new degree of importance in the solution portfolios of users everywhere. In fact, BI has begun to play into a much broader range of enterprise IT planning and deployment decisions than ever before. What follows are the most important trends that will continue to transform the BI industry, and add a new degree of complexity into decisions confronting CIOs, enterprise architects, and information and knowledge management professionals:
In October of last year, I published "Give DOM its Due" and argued that for years, document output management (DOM) had been pegged as a back-office operation that produces customer statements and bills. And that now, customer experience demands will thrust DOM into a major software category supporting the growing and diverse content that enterprises must assemble and deliver to customers. A few weeks ago EMC purchased Document Sciences. And now on January 22, HP has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Exstream Software, a privately-held provider of document creation and publishing software for print, mail and online channels. HP expects to close on this transaction in the second quarter of HP's 2008 fiscal year.
Exstream continues to be a leading choice for the high-volume segment of the DOM structured market and will greatly strengthen HPs document automation capability. Initially targeting service providers — a tough crowd — Exstream followed an object-oriented development model to allow re-use of document components, which was quickly adopted by service providers to provide similar applications to many customers. Today's focus is heavily in the interactive and on-demand DOM segments with strong direct sales. While revenue numbers were not available, Exstream has 300plus employees.