Yesterday evening, Microsoft announced at the 2009 Annual Educause Conference that they would be rolling out SharePoint-based collaboration and productivity services for universities via Live@edu. While this news arrived quietly at a conference to which collaboration software vendor strategists rarely pay attention, it is potentially game changing in the collaboration platform space. Let me say that again: the fact that Microsoft is getting SharePoint in the hands of the future business leaders of America (and beyond) during their formative years is potentially HUGE. But let’s back up for a second and bring everyone up to speed. For those unfamiliar, Live@edu is Microsoft’s hosted email and collaboration suite targeted at universities. It’s a free service that in the last four months saw over 5,000 schools sign up. One of the underlying goals of Live@edu is to get college students ready for the real world by letting them play with Microsoft tools in college.
It had to happen eventually. The success of iPhone (now used by 14% of US, UK, and Canadian smartphone-using information workers) is driven signficantly by "there's an app for that." So that while a huge congratulations! is in order, getting to 100,000 applications available was just a matter of time. Mostly consumer apps, of course, but a growing number of business applications, including Cisco WebEx, Oracle Business Indicators, Roambi's Visualizer data dashboard toolkit, and Salesforce Mobile.
But what IT professionals need, particularly those focused on making information workers productive with smartphones, is much better support for managing custom and prepackaged business applications. (That along with a bunch of things like more robust security, easier device management, stronger encryption, more policy-based control over the device, things that RIM does but the largely Microsoft-controlled ActiveSync solution doesn't. But more on that another time).
Focusing here on applications, it's time for us all to insist that Apple make it easy for IT professionals to:
Support wireless application downloads.The current iTunes or iPhone Desktop Configurator solution just doesn't cut it for businesses. They need over-the-air download and update capability.
Push application updates. How else can IT feel confident that a business application will work?
Configure applications remotely. How else can in-field changes be supported?
One of my favorite Forrester survey statistics to quote about SOA is the proportion of service-oriented architecture (SOA) users that see how important SOA can be for changing their business. In our Enterprise And SMB Software Survey, North America And Europe, Q4 2008 (taken after the start of the current economic crisis), 38% of Global 2000 SOA adopters said they are using SOA for strategic business transformation. This is a very high level of business impact — and far more value than was ever credited to object-oriented or component-based development. Why is this important to note? Many think of SOA first as a technology for reuse, like objects and components, and miss the reality that SOA is much more about business design and flexibility. By missing the business perspective on SOA, they miss the fact that SOA is the foundation for a much broader shift in application architecture and its relationship to the design, monitoring, and optimization of business processes.
Architecture teams often spend a significant amount of their time working with or consulting for IT project teams. This is a recognized best practice for ensuring that project teams execute in line with the architecture and for demonstrating that the architecture team provides tangible value, but it is also a double-edged sword. The downside is when IT management perceives that the EA team's primary value is in tactical problem solving.
This morning, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released preliminary data on the US Gross Domestic Product in Q 3 2009, which included data on business investment in computer equipment, software, and other IT equipment (principally communications equipment).The headline news is the 3.5% increase in real GDP in the US from Q2 2009 to Q3 2009 (at a seasonally adjusted annual rate).That is the first positive growth in US real GDP since Q2 2008, and the strongest since 2007.Some special factors, such as the cash-for-clunkers program in autos and the tax incentives for first time home buyers, contributed to this strong growth, so growth in coming quarters will be closer to 2% since these incentives have expired or are likely to do so.Still, the economic data does suggest that the recession is over.
As GRC practices continue to gain traction, I’ve had a lot of great conversations lately with clients about the importance of peer interaction for professionals in governance, risk, and compliance roles. With his finger apparently on the pulse of all major technology trends, Forrester’s Josh Bernoff must see this as well. This week he announced the winners of the 2009 Forrester Groundswell Awards, with two top GRC vendors among the winners. (For those of you not familiar with Josh Bernoff or Groundswell, check out the book info here.)
When I stopped into an Apple Store in Palo Alto last summer, it was swarming with cute kids in hot pink tee shirts, logoed with the name of a local day camp. Okay, I figured what the heck, 8-year olds learning how Apple's stuff and software works is a cool way to kill a couple of hours.
Then I learned that my eight-year old daughter (self portrait below) was "super excited" to be going on a class field trip to the Apple Store in the local mall. The class of third graders would take the local bus to one side of town and pick up another local bus to the mall (itself an adventure in our car-centric town).
The goal was to learn iMovie, which the kids have access to at school, and to make a movie. Actually, it's a pretty good idea to outsource movie production class to someone else, especially someone passionate about making movies. Regardless of where they are. Smart guy, Mr. C. (her teacher).
But now I'm starting to think that this is a master plan coming from Cupertino, indoctrination through the school system. And it's something that HP and Dell and Microsoft can't replicate right now (though Best Buy could). So I asked my daughter to do some investigative reporting and ask how many school field trips the Apple Store has every month.
Yesterday morning, I came down at 6:30 as usual to let the dog out and empty the dishwasher. Unusually, the kitchen wasn't dark. My eight-year old was already up and ready to rock. "I couldn't go back to sleep, Dad. I was too excited," she bubbled. Ah, the Apple Store awaits.
OK, so I used a tongue-in-cheek title to attract your attention, forgive me. A recent blog about the Boomer retirement phenomenon provoked some comments by a colleague with strong opinions about COBOL's useful life. I felt that his comments raised a topic that is substantial enough to warrant its own place in the blogosphere. The comments read, in part:
" I am a boomer myself ... But as a software architect who has to look ahead and figure out what customers and users want I can't wait for the 3270 green screen boomer generation to retire. It will allow for the acceptance of a new application paradigm. Those stepping up to the plate will not hesite to dump the COBOL garbage and use modern tools to create modern mobile apps that will finally end the drama of IT as today's business disabler. ..."