Some Observations From Agile 2010

A few quick observations on what we've seen at Agile 2010 this week:

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Wave Bye-Bye

Google's decision to pull the plug on Wave was hardly surprising. Not only did Wave stumble out of the gate and then never quite get its footing, it violated a core principle of software as a service (SaaS): It's the application, stupid.

If you're going to be in the SaaS business, you need to deliver an application that's attractive, comprehensible, and usable immediately. Not after a horde of developers built a library of interesting widgets. Not after a quasi-beta program in which the product is really in production, but you just choose to call it beta. Not after potential users scratch their heads for days, wondering what the heck this Wave thing is supposed to do, and then sell their equally perplexed colleagues on its purported value. Deliver value now is the cardinal rule of SaaS.

On-Premise Strategy For An On-Demand Application
Wave's product strategy resembled a traditional on-premise strategy, in which you built the platform first, and then added an application to it. In the cloud, the product strategy moves in exactly the opposite direction: application first, then platform. A classic example is the Salesforce portfolio, which started with a highly capable CRM application that was easy to implement. Later came the platform, Force.com, on which customers and partners could build customizations and adjacent applications.

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Polycom And Microsoft Announce Strategic UC&C Plans

Today (August 9, 2010) Microsoft and Polycom made public their future-looking plans to continue to work together to develop and deliver unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions. The two companies have worked together for some time in the UC&C market, for example:

  • Polycom has long designed and sold universal serial bus (USB) and voice over IP (VoIP) phones tuned for Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) server.
  • Polycom CX5000 began life as the Microsoft RoundTable.
  • The two companies were joined by HP, Juniper Networks, and Logitech/LifeSize Communications as founding members of the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (visit UCIF at www.UCIF.org)

So what’s different and why the public announcement? The two companies are making plain their intent to work together in a strategic fashion.

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Attending Agile 2010 Next Week; Are You?

All next week, colleague Dave West and I will be at Agile 2010. On Monday, I'm doing a workshop on the effect of Agile in technology companies, in the rest of the organization beyond the development team. IT professionals might see a lot of similar effects in their organizations, too. The workshop is chock full of exercises, including at least one serious game. So, expect some Agile fun in the Orlando sun.

At the end of the week, Dave is doing a presentation on the new trend toward product-centricity in IT organizations. How do you combine two disciplines, Agile and productization, to achieve even better outcomes? Dave's a great speaker, so if you're going to be at Agile 2010, you'll kick yourself if you miss his session.

As Forrester analysts, we're always available to our clients for inquiries. If you're in Orlando with us, we'd be glad to try to set up an inquiry face-to-face instead of the typical phone call. Drop me a line at tgrant@forrester.com if you're interested in meeting while we're at Agile 2010. See you there.

Thought Leadership: Incorporating The Voice Of The Customer

Today was our first official update to the research plan (a.k.a. the development document) for our project investigating thought leadership in the technology industry. A quick refresher: this particular piece of research is our first venture into Agile research development, which (1) applies Agile principles to our research, and (2) opens the project to the community to participate in the research process from start to finish. In other words, we're using the newly-launched Forrester Community as the forum where the voice of the customer will speak directly to us about our research as we're doing it.

You can see the current development document, including the updated text and the comments that inspired those changes, here. As promised, we're also maintaining a change log for tracking these changes over time. (The development document is also versioned, so we can look back on the history of edits through that mechanism, too.)

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Microsoft’s Inner Conflict With Privacy

This article from The Wall Street Journal offers a fascinating glimpse into some inner workings at Microsoft. The short version of the story: the IE team was building in some pretty powerful anti-tracking technology into IE 8.0; Microsoft’s ad business got wind of it; the functionality got quashed or crippled. Microsoft's ad group saw the privacy controls as a significant threat to their business: namely, that curbing data collection reduces the effectiveness of advertising. The article notes:

“When Microsoft released the browser in its final form in March 2009, the privacy features were a lot different from what its planners had envisioned. The feature, called InPrivate Filtering, isn’t turned on by default, and resets to OFF every time the browser closes down."

According to the article, the two sides faced off, and Microsoft “convened a four-hour meeting…to allow outside organizations to voice their concerns, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Online Publishers' Association and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.” Sounds like a pretty stacked deck. What about organizations representing the privacy side, such as EPIC or EFF?

Microsoft’s CPO was involved. But I wonder where the Trustworthy Computing (TWC) team was in all this? Here’s an excerpt from TWC’s  privacy page:

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Software AG On The Critical Path

Software AG announced today a significant change in their executive structure. After the acquisition of webMethods back in 2007, the second largest software vendor in Germany acquired IDS Scheer last year, at topic we explored already in this report

If you follow Software AG over this time, you might realize that the way CEO Karl-Heinz Streibich runs a post merger process may involve dramatic disruptions in the executive structure of the company. Dave Mitchell, the former webMethods CEO left some months after that acquisition. Today, the Chief Product Officer, Dr. Peter Kürpick surprisingly left the company. Peter was a member of the executive board since 2005, and, although his contract officially runs until 2013, he is leaving at his own request immediately. He stood for the successful turnaround of Software AG’s product strategy and repositioned Software AG from an outmoded mainframe shop into a leading global integration player. The successful merging of Software AG’s mainframe and integration know-how with the newer webMethods product stack into one interoperable integration stack was one of Peter’s major achievements. Peter also took over the responsibility for Software AG’s ETS (mainframe) product strategy after the integration business reached a solid stability. He would have had the skills and experience to create a consistent technology stack spanning from the mainframe over the WebMethods integration up to the business architecture tools of IDS Scheer (ARIS).

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Sustainability — The Next Driver For Innovation And Growth

I haven’t posted recently for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most pressing of which is because I have been immersed in some serious research into (environmental) sustainability. I want to take a moment here to outline this exciting research agenda.

We recently published an update of our green IT survey of global enterprises and SMBs. My colleague Chris Mines highlighted some of the key findings in his blog. In this report we introduced our new categories of sustainability solutions and services to help provide a clear taxonomy of the varying solutions available in the marketplace. This taxonomy comprises three main sectors: IT energy and resource efficiency (as known as "green IT"), IT-enabled green business processes (what we term “IT for green”), and corporate sustainability planning and governance (“green business”). The graphic below provides some examples of each of the categories.

Forrester Sustanance Solutions And Services

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