I just came back from an exciting week in Orlando, FL, shuttling between SAP SAPPHIRE and IBM Cognos Forum conferences. Thank you, my friends at SAP and IBM for putting the two conferences right next to each other (time- and location-wise), and for saving me an extra trip!
Both conferences showed new and exciting products and both vendors are making great progress towards my vision of “next generation BI”: automated, pervasive, unified and limitless. I track about 20 different trends under these four categories, but there’s a particular one that is especially catching my attention these days. It went largely under covers at both conferences, and I was struggling with how to verbalize it, until my good friend and peer, Mark Albala, of http://www.info-sight-partners.com, put it in excellent terms for me in an email earlier today: it’s all about “pre-discovery” vs. “post-discovery” of data.
Based on the recent wave of announcements flooding my inbox, BPM vendors are now stampeding to the cloud party. Over the last two months, I have received no less than 6 cloud-related announcements from various BPM vendors. So here's the running time line:
"Big Blue." That's the image of IBM I grew up with - bloated, rigid, complicated. Come on, you've heard the joke, "How many IBM engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb? More than you can afford!" And I've seen this first hand in the past with IBM Websphere Process Server (WPS).
In 2006, I supported a major enterprise BPM evaluation for a large federal agency. Several vendors were brought in, including Big Blue, to demo BPM functionality. I have to admit, the functionality and depth presented by IBM the federal customer - they literally shook their heads with disappointment. At that time, IBM was force fitting the WPS product to be a human-centric BPM platform. I described it as a "headless horseman" - nice integration functionality under the covers, but missing the required interface for users to interact with their tasks and workflow. The end result of the evaluation: IBM lived up to its Big Blue image and the agency decided that Big Blue was not the right platform for their fledgling BPM initiative (which would go on to become a multi-million dollar, multi-year BPM program).
In yesterday’s Forbes.com HP VP and CTO Russ Daniels wrote a short commentary on how cloud computing can help reignite the global economy and his focus is what makes the difference. Where Russ differs from many others on cloud computing in that he is talking about the vision from a higher, business level than most others, who are down in the IT weeds most of the time. Where Nick Carr talks about cloud computing sending corporate data centers to the trash heap, Russ is looking at what new business opportunities can be enabled by the cloud.
In an analyst event on Apr. 22nd in London, Symantec outlined their new Partner Management concept – increased focus on a decreased number of partners.
Channel partners are the lifeblood to Symantec’s sales and already contribute ~85% of the business in EMEA - which is expected to increase. This is split into segments; Small Business, which Symantec simply classifies by deal sizes below $5k, Commercial Business, which is above that threshold, and Enterprise Business with named accounts. To better execute on this segmentation Symantec has introduced a new dedicated SB (Small Business) organization and the cross-segment role of Business Development Managers to their ranks.
ECM vendor Open Text announced this morning that it intends to acquire Vignette, provider of Web and transactional content management technologies. In some circles, the acquisition of Vignette has been a foregone conclusion for many months now. Vignette has been an established player for years, with an impressive customer base. But the company’s missteps (a major WCM upgrade that stranded longtime customers, questionable expansions into non-core areas, inconsistent customer service and contact) have left them weakened in a market where they should have been able to take advantage of the lack of size and/or stability of some of its competitors. As a result, Vignette’s license revenues have declined in a hot content management market, and the brand has been devalued despite its strong technology.
Forrester’s IT ForumTech Innovation Demonstrations are your first glimpse at new and alternative technologies that will provide solutions to your current business needs.View innovative products and services selected by Forrester analysts that will stretch the boundaries of what you’d previously thought possible. The Tech Innovation Demonstrations will be hosted in the Technology Showcase at The Palazzo Las Vegas.
The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed 64 cases of swine flu in the United States and as other countries including Canada (6), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (2), Spain (2), and now Germany have confirmed cases, the World Health Organization has raised the worldwide pandemic threat level to Phase 4. This means health officials have confirmed that the disease can spread person-to-person and has the potential to cause "community-level" outbreaks. The CDC recommends avoiding travel to Mexico and if you get sick, to stay home from work. Large numbers of employees out sick will impact the business (revenue) and cost your company a lot of money in productivity loss (you still pay employees their salary when they're out).
Stopping the spread of the disease and treating those infected is obviously a health issue, but the swine flu outbreak does have implications for IT professionals in both the short term and the long term. First, if you haven't done so already, you need find a copy of the bird flu business continuity plan (BCP) that your company developed in 2006 and call a walk through exercise immediately. And if your responsibility is IT disaster recovery and not necessarily business continuity, don't wait around for someone else to dust of the plan and call the exercise - this is too important to wait. Call your CIO, CISO, COO, and CEO and tell them it needs to be done now. There's a good chance that the plan is out of date and that it hasn't been exercised in a long time.