Yesterday I got a sneak peak at the new Intel Classmate PC, both the clamshell and convertible models. These new models are significant upgrades from the previous version. While I never really wanted my own mini-laptop, I now have Classmate envy.
Highlights that mattered to me included (drum roll please):
10.1 inch screen to replace the tiny 8.9 inch screen – as a result the keyboard is bigger, accommodating adolescent and even adult fingers. Honestly, the previous design was just too dang small. My fingers were all over each other.
Ruggedization (is that a word?) – now designed to withstand accidental drops from desk height, with a water resistant LCD, keyboard, touch pad, HDD shock protection using the accelerometer to detect falls, and a really nice rubberized surface making it easier to hold onto.
Retractable handle – while I’m on the topic of holding it… may I say that I really don’t understand why other PC vendors don’t put handles on their laptops. My Panasonic Toughbook has one and I love it.
eReader interface – while I’ve never used my Kindle (really, not once), I do think I’d take advantage of the eReader capability of the Classmate. The accelerometer flips the content to portrait and the touchscreen allows you to “flick to scroll.” You can also highlight and take notes directly on the page. The eReader feature was what Wired magazine picked up on in their Classmate product review.
In a conversation with a vendor in the application portfolio management space the other day, we got on the subject of what "Cloud" means to them and by extension to their current and future customer base. My colleagues have written extensively on what it may mean to Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, HP and others, and our conversation began discussing the potential of cloud-computing from a vendor perspective - for instance:
How successful is your firm at attracting and retaining people with the skills you need to develop, deploy, and maintain your applications? Do you believe we're headed for much tougher times trying to hire and retain skills or do you think some of the hype is overblown? We have fielded a survey on staffing and skills issues and I'd like to encourage you to participate as we dig into many of the issues.
Analytics gets a lot of attention these days. And it should. Additional business insight is really important to improve the customer experience and more and more to understand the on-line experience. And predictive analytics is really cool. But these exciting areas tell only part of the story. Analytics can also help improve content management and transactional business processes. The infrastructure and plumbing that keeps most companies afloat. Analytics can help consolidate archives, improve capture, classify documents, improve business processes, and enhance the value of packaged apps. In short, there is a strong analytics play just for better content management and process improvement but poorly deeloped use cases and better buzz in other areas tamps down the potential. But we shall hear more about this soon.
Larry Ellison angrily dismisses suggestions that Oracle’s business will be harmed by the rise of cloud computing. Many misinterpret Ellison’s remarks to mean he (and by extension Oracle) thinks cloud computing is a dumb idea that Oracle won’t pursue. We are now learning that Oracle does, in fact, intend to pursue cloud computing. But we're also learning that Oracle's strategy is more limited than those of IBM and Microsoft, its large-vendor competitors.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, man is born free and is everywhere in chains. So too Enterprise app deployments are conceived as self contained yet everywhere are integrated with legacy and complementary apps.
My colleague Ken Vollmer and I are looking at packaged apps integration best practices and how these might change as some apps move to the cloud. We are asking:
What kind of middleware do you use?
How do you help process owners to assemble (composite) processes that have transactional integrity?
What do you do about the conflicting data models of apps from different stables – for example yours and those of a third party or perhaps in –house?
How far can so called “canonical” data models and meta data help to overcome such problems?
If you have experience and an opinion about what constitute the top three best practices in such packaged apps integration, or if you can warn about the three most egregious pitfalls to avoid we would love to talk with you.
We all struggle with complexity of designing, building and maintaining BI apps. Why? Among many other reasons, the simplest one is that there's just too many components involved. Just to name a few
Data modeling (star schemas, cubes)
Delivery (portals, schedulers, emails, etc)
For years there were many attempts to automate some of these steps via metadata. So rather than than coding source to target SQL transformations or DDL for DW generation vendors came up with, what I know call "1st generation" metadata driven BI tools, such as
ETL tools where metadata auto-generated SQL scripts for data extraction, loading and transformation
BI tools where metadata auto-generated SQL for queries
Data modeling tools where metadata auto-generated logical data models and DDL for physical data models
But, the "2nd generation" metadata driven BI apps (note apps vs tools now) do much more. For example, they:
Use metadata to generate multi vendor apps (like BalancedInsight, Kalido and BIReady do), and having a single place where changes can be made
Use metadata to generate all three (ETL SQL, BI SQL, DW DDL, like Cognos, Wherescape, BIReady do), and having a single place where changes to all 3 can be made
Using metadata to generate report layouts (like Cognos does)
Our latest featured podcast is Clay Richardson's "Challenges For Process Professionals Leading Process Initiatives In 2010".
In this podcast, BP&A Senior Analyst Clay Richardson walks through five key challenges that process professionals need to address to be successful with business process management in 2010. Topics include lean principles and lean thinking, effectively connecting process initiatives with value drivers, the importance of data, and process based management.
We look forward to your questions and comments.
Subscribe to Business Process & Applications podcasts through iTunes.
After the recent board changes the strategy will change too
After the recent board changes at SAP the message we could read in most news was like ‘new board – old strategy’. Along with the board changes SAP did not announce (yet) any significant strategic changes. But what good is it to change the board and leave everything else as is?
The recent SAP board changes are just the visible tip of the iceberg of much deeper changes SAP will and has to go through to renew itself as a leading IT vendor. Below are 10 predictions for changes in SAP’s strategic direction I expect within the next 10+ months:
1. More SAP Board Changes Will Come
Additional board changes will further strengthen the product & technology focus and competence within the SAP board. See also Forrester’s blog on the recent SAP board changes: SAP CEO Resigns – Long Live The Co-CEOs
2. Business ByDesign Will Get Back Into SAP’s Strategic Center
Business ByDesign will become again the corner stone of SAP’s growth strategy and the successful introduction will mark a ‘make it or break it’ milestone for SAP.
3. SAP Announces The Next-Generation ERP
SAP will announce a next-generation ERP solution to regain leadership in its core business area and it will likely be based on the ByDesign platform.
4. SAP Changes Its Cloud Strategy
SAP will rework its whole On-Demand strategy and will unify and align all components based on the ByDesign platform. See also Forrester’s recent blog on SAP’s On-Demand strategy: SAP Is Skydiving Into The Clouds.