An article in January 25, 2008 Chronicle of Higher Education really caused me to sit back and reflect. The author, a university professor, questions the contradiction of conference travel thousands of miles away to hear or give presentations in light of global warming, with air travel one of the greatest polluters. Academics as well as business people travel all the time. In many cases it's critical for executives to gather for multiple-day meetings that address an issue or for academics to conduct research and interact with colleagues. But these are often the exceptions. People travel all the time to one-day meetings or even two-to-three-hour events and then turn around and come home. In fact I fall into this category. Recently I traveled from California to Amsterdam to deliver a half-hour speech, have Q&A, and do a five-minute Website video. At the after-party, I had an opportunity to meet and make connections and learn lots. It was great! I loved it! And that's why people travel. . . as social animals we like the face-to-face interaction, the new environment, or the invigorating atmosphere of a new culture. But is that always enough reason (as the author states) to "put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than do 110,000 Chadians or 11,000 Indians in an entire year?" But patterns are hard to change, especially when we like and get additional value from traveling. After the speech I didn't turn around and come home but traveled on to Belgium and Germany (by fast train) to see friends and deepen those cross-cultural human bonds that are so important in our challenging world today.
The media yesterday (Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Economist, etc.) were all over 31-year-old Jérôme Kerviel, the trader at France’s Société Générale who has apparently confessed to fraudulent trades resulting in an estimated loss of roughly $7.2 billion.
In further coverage, we hear that the bank has apologized to share holders, filed legal claims against Kerviel, and promised the public that the incident does not suggest any larger issues with the company’s risk management. The Wall Street Journal however, follows up with a story questioning the effectiveness of regulatory oversight that can let something like this transpire despite Société Générale’s claims that controls were adequately tested and did not fail.
by Tim Sheedy
A factor that tends to be considered when choosing an IT service provider is how many project failures they have had – particularly when some of those failures are large, costly, and well-publicized. And if that is not a formal consideration, project failures are often on the mind of sourcing organizations. In fact many companies that I have spoken with over the past 12 months have actively excluded some players from their short list due to their previous failures. These types of metrics tend to work against the large players as they have more contracts and therefore, if they run at an industry average failure rate, they are most likely to have more failures. IBM, as the company that probably does the most IT projects, has the most failures (assuming that their failure rate is the same as that of their competitors) – and this works against them. I have actually heard people say that they would never have IBM in as an IT services partner because of the fact that so many of their projects fail. And this does not only refer to IBM – you could switch in any large IT services vendor’s name here as the sheer number of projects they work on means that they are likely to have more problems too (as very few IT projects go smoothly). If the failure rate is 1 in 10 (and this is just a guess) then a vendor that has undertaken 1,000 projects will have more failures than one who has undertaken 10…
In my humble opinion, focusing on failures or project problems is a short-sighted view. Project failure is rarely the fault of your IT services partner – even if it is, it is your fault for not managing the process effectively and pulling them up before it turns into a failure. The only time when the partner is to blame is when they promise to do something that simply is not possible – and again, they are probably just responding to your impossible requests.
By Matt Brown, Erica Driver, Mike Gilpin, Kyle McNabb, Rob Koplowitz, and Colin Teubner
We’ve been getting lots of questions about what the Oracle/BEA acquisition means in the Information Workplace platforms market. Here’s our take:
Oracle has made assurances to BEA customers
Oracle has assured us that they will be very mindful of protecting the interests of existing BEA customers, just as they have been for customers of Peoplesoft and Siebel – and we find their assurances credible. It’s not in Oracle’s interest to aggravate these customers, and in many cases BEA customers are already Oracle customers, anyway.
There are six main areas of synergy we’ve identified:
In October of last year, I published "Give DOM its Due" and argued that for years, document output management (DOM) had been pegged as a back-office operation that produces customer statements and bills. And that now, customer experience demands will thrust DOM into a major software category supporting the growing and diverse content that enterprises must assemble and deliver to customers. A few weeks ago EMC purchased Document Sciences. And now on January 22, HP has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Exstream Software, a privately-held provider of document creation and publishing software for print, mail and online channels. HP expects to close on this transaction in the second quarter of HP's 2008 fiscal year.
Exstream continues to be a leading choice for the high-volume segment of the DOM structured market and will greatly strengthen HPs document automation capability. Initially targeting service providers — a tough crowd — Exstream followed an object-oriented development model to allow re-use of document components, which was quickly adopted by service providers to provide similar applications to many customers. Today's focus is heavily in the interactive and on-demand DOM segments with strong direct sales. While revenue numbers were not available, Exstream has 300plus employees.
Welcome back from an end of year respite and into the New Year. As you change gears from the goals of 2007 and reassess where to focus your efforts as Business Process & Applications professionals in 2008, our analysts are poised to provide the most relavant research and analyses to address the core competencies of your role.
In 2008, expect our analysts to weave the importance and impact of five key trends on Business Process & Applications professionals throughout our research and commentary. While numerous trends will affect how BP&A professionals approach their roles, these will center on next-generation applications and architectures and becoming a more business-process-oriented organization. These trends are: Dynamic Business Applications; Web 2.0 and tech populism; software-as-a-service (SaaS); business process centers of excellence (COEs); and the evolving business analyst role.
Additionally, Forrester will tailor all of our research not only to your role, but to your role's most important objectives -- what Forrester calls Success Imperatives (SIs). On January 12th, Success Imperatives will transform the forrester.com site experience. While all of Forrester's research will remain accessible, you will be able to tailor your primary site experience to the SI most critical to your success at any given time. The result? The most finely attuned offering of pertinent and up to date research, tools, teleconferences, and videos accessible all in one place.
Without further ado BP&A professionals' SIs:
1. Become a more business-process-oriented organization
2. Define a strategy and framework for governing all enterprise app decisions
3. Prepare for next-generation packaged applications and architectures
While I echo my colleagues' earlier comments on the Microsoft/FAST Search transaction, I also give Microsoft thumbs up for being the first of the major BI vendors to embrace alternative DBMS for BI. For a while now I've been predicting that alternative DBMS for BI will gain continually increasing momentum for the following reasons:
Traditional relational databases were designed from the ground up for transaction processing, not BI. Only in the last decade have they even begun to accommodate BI-style queries, and still play a constant balancing act between OLTP and OLAP optimization. Columnar databases, such as Vertica, Sybase IQ, KX, ParAccel, SAND Technology, InfoBright, are specifically designed and optimized for nothing but OLAP query processing. Their schemas are also much more flexible since it's as easy to drop, add, or update a column in a columnar database as it is to insert, change, or delete a row in a relational database.