Tech trends and business ideas

All things that motivate entrepreneurs

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"We need just Information; Vendors can keep the Tech"

Michael Krigsman predicts end of IT –

“Since the days of punch cards, IT has believed itself to be guardian of precious computing resources against attacks from non-technical barbarians known as “users.” This arrogant attitude, born of once-practical necessity in the era of early data centers, reflects inability to adapt to present-day realities. Such attitudes, combined with recent technological and social changes, are pushing IT to share the fate of long-extinct dinosaurs.”

Yes. Complexity can no longer ensure CIO’s job security and worse, he has to make way for user onslaught.

To that, Vinnie Mirchandani brings out a stellar insight

"I am amazed how arrogant the category of social software really is. Why does it feel the need to boil the ocean, change the enterprise? It has its role particularly in collaboration - but along side not instead of CRM, SCM, ERP, security, telecom and a bunch of other software categories. It needs to do its job well, not worry about the rest of the enterprise.

When it hones its focus and shows appropriate payback, it will find the CIO or IT is not the enemy. Just a bunch of folks trying to juggle a wide range of competing technology initiatives."
I agree with both. But I have this user perspective –

Enterprise IT faces extinction if it does not progressively busy itself with envisioning where a company is going and take over its IT complexities. Clients have just Information needs; spare them the pain of Technology. Enterprise IT vendors can very well keep it.

Here are some more areas where Enterprise could play a larger role. Think of Master Data Management, Meta Data integration, App streaming and moving from process centric to information centric architecture. In effect, transform Business Intelligence to much wider Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) that yields the big picture. In that I see the end of licensing model as we know it. Transition to significantly more flexible memory based pricing or even by the no. of virtual cores.

Darwin said "extinction presages evolution" and in all this, they sure will be doing Darwin a lot proud :)

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Is it R.I.P for IT security vendors?

Fear is the key driver that sells insurance and - security software. So I don’t bother to read further if I see headlines like this. “Phishing attacks on banks rise six-fold: Symantec.” To me, it means Symantec badly needs to scale up revenues. Here is the sales talk in that report –
“The Symantec lab monitors the complete threat spectrum and malware activity all across the world. It provides support in 14 languages against phishers who are extensively using sophisticated methods to install spyware, Trojans, worms and viruses.”
All hogwash. Go read this. Trend Micro is another security vendor like Symantec and its own site is hacked ! When security vendors can’t protect their own sites from hackers, how will they secure others? It's embarrassing when security vendors fall victim to the attacks they are supposed to prevent and Trend Micro is not the lone ranger. It just ran out of luck and got reported :)

Time to short all IT security vendors…?

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Microhoo deal is very much on

So, what’s happening to the Microsoft-Yahoo (Microhoo) deal? I don’t get to hear much on that. Meanwhile MSFT acquisition engine has not slackened its pace. Here it adds to its Bay area presence by acquiring Rapt, a software and consulting services provider that helps online publishers optimally price and package their display space.

Now I have no illusions of MSFT dropping off on Yahoo acquisition. If anything it means it is even more serious in taking on Google and become an online advertising heavyweight. With Yahoo gone, online application developers were a worried lot. They lost a major acquirer of their businesses. Now they should be breathing a lot easy with Microsoft picking up the slack.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Upgrade upgrade

So Oracle Database 11g is here. How do users view upgrades? I ask.

Most of Oracle database users haven’t yet started using all features in their existing versions. It’s like the new car full of new knobs that you may seldom turn. Given an option, I would say *no* to those premium features if that means lower priced pack. But I get no option if it comes as part of the basic version, ex-works. In the enterprise software world, users get no choice on their first buy even as they could make do with far less features. Visualize the downtime for installation of the new version, you would swear by SaaS models. The new database environments of 11g may be chic, more automated and may even free up a lot of DBA resources, but the pricing rankles. DBAs in charge of the earlier versions come comparably a lot cheaper.

Customers see frequent across-the-board upgrades (except where new applications warrant them) as candid confessions by vendors that their older releases suck. Over the years, vendors have carved a lifeline along that business model. It just means they gave crappy database environments earlier, right?

How about some refunds, Mr.Ellison…? Your friend Steve Jobs did that with his iPhone recently.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

CA, Symonds - learn from Steve Ballmer, folks !

The Monkey word. It means different things to different people. Symonds and Cricket Australia (CA) took offense, but Steve Ballmer has no issues with Guy Kawasaki. Ha ! He even says the G-word again and again, again and again. But he's not so benign with Guy’s McBook Air. Here he tosses it down on the carpet and tries to break it. Says it doesn’t have a DVD drive :)
I must say Guy kissed a lot of Ballmer ass in that chat. I got this vibe that MSFT seems to be dabbling in a new vertical now - image makeover. From what I’ve found in his blog, Guy normally has some deep drill question sets for most of his interviewees and here he hardly had any. May be he got scared of Ballmer's huge frame! The questions – Yahoo bid, Vista bugs and Google threat – have all been so frosty and predictable and he was unusually docile in letting Ballmer steal the show. So unlike Guy. Sounded all too stage managed by Microsoft PR team to project a cool image of the company and of Ballmer himself (aimed at rattled Yahoo employees?). Ballmer was in full glow throughout; he even leaked his email ID to the open audience.

Good friend Vinnie Mirchandani has his set of questions for Ballmer on MS enterprise initiatives that Guy didn’t cover. If Ballmer’s mood at that sitcom were for real, he may well be getting some honest answers too. Not the Ballmer we thought he is… Watch it, folks. Don’t miss out !

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Muffle all chatter and squirm...

So what happens to humans in the absence of all auditory stimulation? You’ll likely experience "audio hallucinations," only they aren't, at all. Turns out, you actually do start to pick up on the nuances of your own body at work. The sound of the blood in the vessels of your inner ear suddenly becomes apparent. After a minute or so, you can even hear your own heart beat. You also get dizzy.

You’ve just entered the International HQ for Microsoft Research. It's in this room that Microsoft researchers conduct various sound experiments to improve teleconferencing and various auditory recognition technologies. By effectively simulating complete silence, researchers can accurately measure spatial sound patterns without having to deal with echoes and reverberations that are a part of our normal day-to-day existence.

The one concession designers did make was to incorporate specially designed air ducts that pump air into the room. While they do produce a minute level of noise, they can also be shut off, effectively cutting off all air flow for "perfect silence," as one Microsoft researcher put it.

I’d rather have some chatter….