Forrester DataByte: Spending On Custom Software in 2010

I fielded an inquiry from a client last week who asked what levels of investment Forrester is seeing in custom software development, and whether that investment remains significant compared to other activities in IT, especially given the downward pressure we've seen on budgets in 2009. The request was timely, as I've started to comb through the results of our annual Enterprise And SMB Software Survey.

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What Does $100 Million Buy You? A Semantic Search Engine That Works.

The technical folks behind Monster.com invited me to visit last week. I somehow couldn’t convince them to show me any Superbowl ads but they did demo their cool new search engine. It’s based on technology they acquired when they bought Trovix in 2008. What can it do?

  • Understand the meaning of words: The search engine knows the difference between “development” in the fundraising context and “development” in the software context.
  • Appreciate the relationships between words: A custom ontology fortifies the search engine. The ontology rolls up skills like auditing into the larger category of finance. It differentiates between a top ranked school and a lower ranked school. It understands that years spent working as a prosecutor should count towards a candidate’s overall legal experience.
  • Cut text-heavy resumes into nimble content components: Recruiters can use the power resume search to compare candidates side-by-side, because the search mixes and normalizes the information into simple, clean categories like “Experience,” “Education,” and “Skills”.
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Nokia Accelerates Phone-Based Navigation

I wrote last year that phone-based navigation would overtake both the in-built car systems and the devoted Portable Navigation Devices (PND) made by the likes of Garmin and TomTom, and that it would happen by 2013. Certainly Google's introduction of Google Maps Navigation on Motorola's Droid removed one of the primary barriers to realizing this shift: price. Unlike the turn-by-turn navigation services offered by US carriers (primarily powered by TeleNav) that cost $9.95 per month or are bundled with other services, Google's application is included with the Droid (and its Nexus One) and costs nothing to use.

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Looking backward and forward, virtually

Train for Success hosted a panel discussion today in Second Life to both look back to 2009 and forward to 2010 and discuss observations and trends in virtual worlds.  The other panelists — Sam Driver of ThinkBalm and Doug Thompson of Remedy Communications — are really the experts on virtual worlds and all that is developing in and around them.  I spoke primarily about the rise of virtual event platforms, which the other panelists referred to as “pseudo 3D” environments.  Despite the denigrating nature of the label, I accepted that the platforms that I have focused on are less rich, and less interactive than Second Life and other “real” virtual worlds.  However, as my previous blog post indicates, that richness comes with a downside.  The barriers to entry are just too high for the use cases that the “pseudo” virtual environments have specialized in.  When using a virtual platform (of any kind) for marketing purposes, targeting a large and diverse audience, the “real” virtual environments just aren’t there yet.

However, I did want to share some of the observations that I made on the panel.  My comments were really based on adoption and use cases for “pseudo” virtual environment as tools for B2B marketers. Looking back at 2009, what did you see as highlights, lowlights, and trends in the virtual platform enterprise market?

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The Devil’s Dictionary, InfoSec Edition

Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary is a wickedly witty piece of work (and website). It slyly redefines common words and phrases, usually with a bitter, contrarian, or comic touch. But why should Mr. Bierce (or more correctly, his estate) have all the fun? It is time for one in the information security field. Here are a few nominations. Most of these are original, but a few were gleefully filched from others:

ALE: an intoxicating liquor that gives imbibers perceived omniscience and discernment, but with one unfortunate side effect: it causes their pants to spontaneously fall down

Advanced persistent threat: a security product manager hyping new categories

Blended threat: a hemlock smoothie

Claims: a more expensive form of assertions, officially sanctioned with George Orwell’s posthumous blessing. cf “flatbread” v. “pizza”

Collective intelligence: the dawning epiphany that the cyber-villains have already won

Data leak prevention: adult undergarments for stopping electronic incontinence

Device control: using Super Glue to plug holes in the sides of laptops

Full disclosure debate: a ritualistic Kabuki performance that ends with a fist-fight amongst members of the audience

Actionable: providing information of sufficient detail and clarity to enable one party to sue another* 

Full disk encryption: spray-on auditor repellent

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Lotus Knows, But Do You Know Lotus?

First, thank you IBM/Lotus for getting me out of Boston before the snow. I know that has something to do with my good mood. But that aside, what Lotus unveiled at its 17th annual Lotusphere in Orlando this week warms my heart in another way. For all the advancements in its product portfolio and technologies, the real accomplishment is Lotus' keen focus on people, context, and simplicity.

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IBM's Project Vulcan: A Blueprint For Business Inbox Next

I can't deny it. Gmail intrigues me. No, not the idea of Web-based email client. That's old hat. Rather, it's that Gmail gives me a box of tools that taken together are my personal command and control center. Everything I need to be connected, get to appointments, find a friend, stay in touch, locate stuff I need, and remain on task is in one spot.

It's convenient. It's my inbox next. It's my touchstone for personal communications.

But at work, I'm using an email client, an IM client, a calendar client, a task list client, a microblogging client, a browser client, and a bunch of other applications. Just getting from one to another gives me a headache.

So where's my business Gmail?

From where I'm sitting, that's the mission of Project Vulcan. Read Ed Brill's post for the official IBM description of the vision of a hyperlinked, rapidly-evolving, highly tailorable, multi-modal inbox. I've spoken with Alistair Rennie, Lotus's new GM, and Kevin Kavanaugh, VP and head of Notes & Domino, about this project.

My take is that Project Vulcan is nothing less than IBM's blueprint for the future of business messaging and collaboration. In particular, it will:

 

  • Build on Lotus's market and technology foundations.
  • Unify many kinds of communication media and apps into a single frame
  • Provide an anchor point for employees' information work day.
  • Use Web deployment to rapidly experiment and learn what works. (Yes, it's a code fork.)
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Case Study #3: InfusionSoft Uses Social Media to Reduce Customer Service Costs

If you have been following this blog, you might remember that I posted this a while back. But with the new year here, I thought it might be good to repeat some of the case studies while adding new ones... just incase you missed them or incase you wanted a refresher as you start down the path of providing a solution to your company social media needs!

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How You Can Come Out Smelling Like A Rose In 2010

Whew. Thankfully there are finally signs that the Great Recession is waning (knock on wood). The metrics used to judge the health of the economy such as unemployment are bad but not as bad. The stock market had a big bounce off lows, Avatar raked in a billion dollars, and Barbara Walters named Lady Gaga one of the 10 most fascinating people of 2009. This does not mean we are out of the woods yet.

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Second attempt at a Second Life

TrainforSuccess I participated in a panel yesterday on Train for Success in Second Life in which three panelists discussed:

  • Highlights, lowlights, trends in the 2009 virtual world enterprise market
  • Directions for 2010
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