Forrester DataByte: Spending On Custom Software in 2010

Jeffrey Hammond

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

Ted Schadler

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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Looking backward and forward, virtually

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

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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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

Mike Gualtieri

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

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

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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Social Media Survey Results Preview

Nigel Fenwick

When we embarked on this project I wasn't sure if it would be a complete failure or a roaring success. Still, the optimist in me suggested it might work. The timing of launching the survey, just before the Christmas Holiday period was risky. However I'm pleased to say the results so far have been better than expected.

Those of you who read my original blog post, "Can Social Media Penetrate The Exec Suite?", know that Forrester_Research_Social_S this survey was also an experiment to see the reach of social media into the C-Suite. So let's look at that question first. Based on the interim results at the end of December 9% of the respondents reported being at the C-level. That's certainly above the percentage we might have expected based upon the number of C-Level execs in the general population. So even at this early stage we might reasonably conclude it is possible to penetrate the C-Suite through social media.

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SAP Brings Back 'Standard Support'

Duncan Jones

Along with its 2009 results, SAP today made another attempt to undo the damage of its clumsy attempt to hike its maintenance % up to Oracle-like levels, by announcing the reinstatement of Standard Support as an option for customers. “SAP’s new support model is a direct response to the many discussions we’ve had with our customer and user groups,” said Léo Apotheker, chief executive officer, SAP.

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SAP’s Tiered Support Announcement Defuses a Contentious Issue

Paul Hamerman

Today, SAP announced a tiered support offering which reinstates Standard Support as an option, in addition to the Enterprise Support offering that SAP put in place in July 2008. This announcement should help to defuse a contentious battle that has played out over the past 18 months, where customers pressed for SAP to reconsider its phased-in migration to higher-priced Enterprise Support.

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Why VMWare Bought Zimbra: It's The Seats, Stupid

Ted Schadler

Zimbra has been the sleeper cloud-based email provider for the enterprise. I've known about the Bechtel deal -- roughly 50,000 seats globally -- for some time, but couldn't talk about it. Though it's been a while since I've spoken to Ramesh May, he did share some important facts with me:

1. Zimbra's code base is open source, with a 20,000 active members in the community. The Zimbra code base runs on Linux. It can be downloaded to run on-premises and it also is the foundation of Zimbra's cloud email service.

2. Yahoo! Zimbra was selling an email seat for $28/mailbox/year for 50+ seats. We'll be interested to see how the pricing changes.

3. The company was working with the community on adding instant messaging, expanding widgets, and building an offline email client. We also saw some interesting mashup and document viewing features.

4. Back in April, the company had 130 employees, 600+ .edu customers, 44M mailboxes, and 60,000 customers.

So why hasn't Zimbra been bigger on the national stage selling its hosted (80% of seats) and on-premises (20% of seats) email and calendaring solution? Two reasons.

First, Yahoo! did not build a direct sales force that way Google and every other enterprise email provider did.

Second, because a lot of these seats are sold through service providers. Comcast and NTT Communications have been selling Zimbra seats. You may be running Zimbra and not even know it.

So now it becomes clearer why VMWare bought this massively successful email provider. 

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