So I have now spent a couple of days at TechEd - attending sessions when possible, and meeting with some Microsoft executives to discuss their strategies in more detail, I have also spoken with the "real" attendees at the event when possible (after sessions, in coffee queues, etc) to get their take on the proceedings.
As hypothesized in my first blog post, my first impressions were correct. Microsoft is a much more positive organisation - no longer apologising for its past sins (Vista, Windows Mobile 6 etc) but looking forward to better times where solid and reliable platforms, such as Windows 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5 will help their customers to make better use of the great platofrms that already exist within their customer base (such as Exchange, SQL Server. Windows Server and SharePoint).
Jeffrey Hammond and I did a Teleconference today for clients about the first release of Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g. One of the big areas of concern among attendees was an old chestnut that I actually haven't seen for awhile: Portability. The basic question: If we develop for Oracle's stack, are we locked into it?
Jeffrey and I have documented the basic risks of lock-in we see in Fusion Middleware 11g in our analysis (http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=55043). I don't want to revisit that analysis here; rather, I'm more interested in why we suddenly heard this concern..
I've been writing about software technology roughly since the birth of the "open systems" movement during the late '80s. At that time, open systems meant SQL relational DBMS + Unix at its core, with DCE and CORBA sometimes tossed into the mix as well. The concern for code portability extended to Java's "write once, run ... anywhere" promise in 1995. And then I think it started to die.
A government report published September 3, 2009 (and reviewed in a Washington Post article titled “Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring Binge”) reports on a detailed study of US Government positions that will become open requisitionss as Baby Boomers retire over the next four years. This concern about large numbers of government retirees is not new but this study makes some stark predictions that are eye-catching.
Top 10 Areas of Government Hiring in Next Four Years
On October 22, Microsoft will release Windows 7, thereby effectively ending the Windows Vista era for consumers. That day can’t come too quickly: Windows Vista will go down in history as a period of trial and tribulation for Microsoft – and for many consumers who used the product, particularly during its early days.
There are too many product strategy insights to be learned from the Windows Vista era to fit into one blog post. Let’s look at some of the major lessons – those that can be generalized to consumer product strategies in any industry. And let’s quickly extract both the “sins” of product strategy and some general product strategy lessons provided by the Windows Vista experience:
TJ Keitt, Heidi Lo and I presented a Forrester Teleconference about the Millennial or GenY on September 2, 2009. The multi-generational chat was by far the most active I’ve seen during a Teleconference with over 100 entries in an hour. TJ and I presented for a half hour and then opened the phone lines for voice questions. Heidi handled the tweets. Having two co-presenters helped us to participate in the chat. Because the pace of chat was so fast with so many conversations, participants were reacting to comments of others rather than just responding to a presenter comment or question. It was dynamic and truly community generated.
The premise of the teleconference was that the youngest generation in the workforce (Gen Y or Millennials) is neither revolutionizing the workforce (yet) nor acting as entitled employees. Some of the highlights of the participant interaction follow:
“It’s hard to get a job because as a new grad we can’t meet the ‘years of experience’ requirement.” Recommendation: Apply anyway. Be tenacious and prove that you can do the job. One Baby Boomer participant is about to start a company that mentors new employees at corporate customers to address this “experience” requirement. Another GenYer suggested using your social network to reach the hiring manager. Another said that that GenXers in an organization can be excellent mentors for the GenYers.
For the last two years Forrester has presented and most recently partnered with the Tech:Touchstone event management company that produces the Green IT 2009 Conference & Exhibition in London. Despite one year in passing and a challenging economic environment, green IT is still top of mind in 2009.
Recently I took a look at an EA-maturity-model-cum-roadmap from Leo de Sousa, Manager of Business Application Services and Enterprise Architecture at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (click to read Leo’s blog on EA CMM). To my surprise, I liked it. Why was I surprised?
I have never liked EA maturity models. Yes, tracking progress is important. And yes, there should be a consensus about what characterizes a mature EA practice. But I don’t like how they would ostensibly be used to compare one enterprise with another, a la benchmarks. Perhaps I was soured on them by seeing them used as a governance technique in US federal agencies.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) required agencies to assess themselves against a standardized maturity model, with progressive hurdles in successive years. Federal agencies, accustomed as they are to all sorts of oversight and compliance mandates, know how to pass compliance audits. Did you ever wonder how (then) Popkin System Architect got so popular in the federal government? An EA tool was required to demonstrate a certain level of EA maturity and System Architect was the lowest-cost offering at the time (I’m sure there are other reasons as well). Behavior was around letter-of-the-law compliance, and it seldom catalyzed getting with the spirit. Even when Dick Burk at OMB introduced a clever workaround in a second version of the model — you could leapfrog to a level 4 if you showed actual business benefits, regardless of what other checklist items you missed — agencies simply marched through the maturity level checklists getting the requisite items done. The scores were good, but in my opinion they overstated the degree to which EA was ingrained in the culture of the agencies.