Posted by: rosler28 | January 23, 2008

Sun buy MySQL: Open source works

It’s great news for the open source industry that MySQL has been bought by a major enterprise player for $1billion.  If you’ve worked with open source software you know it can work in the Enterprise environment just as well as any closed source software.  Maybe we weren’t sure if there was a business model that made sense for the software, but now the MySQL purchase highlights a visible exit strategy:

  1. on a very low budget develop great software that people want to use
  2. make it easily available
  3. develop a community
  4. soon enough your software will get into the enterprise – try and enable free feedback mechanisms to keep track of who is using the software
  5. try and earn money from support/pro services to pay the bills (i know this is much easier said than done)
  6. eventually one day you’ll find lots of Fortune 500 companies using your software
  7. when that happens big existing IT players buy you up for a billion

So in a totally specualtive mood who could be next down the road?  Digium? SugarCRM? Nagios?  I bet you haven’t heard of Nagios but I’m willing to wager 8/10 network administators sure have, along with established software companies such as Tivoli and CA.   

Posted by: rosler28 | January 16, 2008

Scrabulous and EMI

I’ve never played scrabulous but over 2 million people have. Many companies would kill to have those numbers. Hasbro though would rather kill the software. In other news EMI finally understand how much trouble they are in and regrettably announce a third of its staff is to be made redundant. The internet sure does challenge existing business models, some management teams get it and others clearly don’t.

Posted by: rosler28 | January 15, 2008

Macworld today

Plenty of speculation over the past few days on what Steve Jobs could announce today at Macworld. As a recent Mac customer (24 inch imac and ipod touch) I’d be interested to see a tablet released pitched somewhere between the touch/iphone and the low end macbook. The tablet could have 13inch touchscreen, full Leopard OS, wireless and maybe have some ability to link to an imac desktop (for itunes, storage, etc). I’m guessing this would have to be priced around the £400 – £450 mark, I could see plenty of uses for such a device in business but not sure how many consumers would buy it – after all such a size would be too big to be portable and why not just pay a bit more for the macbook?

I’d like to see an updated iphone, with 3G support, a developers SDK, GPS and a smaller depth profile would be perfect.

Only a few more hours to wait…

Posted by: rosler28 | January 14, 2008

Time to call wiki’s something else?

Corporate buyers are generally a conservative lot. Which makes the explanation of new concepts such as enterprise 2.0 a difficult but not impossible task. Over the past few months I’ve been having fruitful discussion with senior buyers using terms such as enterprise 2.0, web 2.0, collaboration, voip, unified comms, instant messaging, video, forums without really scaring anyone. When it comes to wiki’s however I do notice a change in body language and tone, people seem to have a natural reflex against it. Is it because wiki sounds like geek language and is a bit too abstract a term?

The functionality wiki’s can provide are a core element of enterprise 2.0 yet it is very difficult to express in a word. The brains at Microsoft have understood the corporate world perfectly and have labeled their wiki product sharepoint. I have heard/seen senior executives prefer to use the term Sharepoint when refering to the generic technology rather than the more accurate term of wiki. Microsoft are really pushing Sharepoint at the moment along with OCS, I wonder if anyone else has come across the bic/hoover/sellotape/sharepoint headache?  If anyone has any suggestions please shout out, I don’t think it’s a trivial point.

Posted by: rosler28 | January 14, 2008

Can web2.0 break the monopoly on news?

Mike Butcher today reported that UK based Newspepper with the backing of its heavyweight board is readying itself to launch a citizen journalism site. The Newspepper site doesn’t seem to be doing anything too exciting in terms of technology, it looks like a Drupal build, but the ambition of breaking the local and national media markets certainly is exciting.

It always strikes me how narrow the focus of news output can be, especially from the national television networks in the UK. The national news industry has a very tight focus, which quite often I find is totally irrelevant to the daily lives of the people who are watching. Local news coverage has its own problem, using traditional TV, Radio and Print technology local media really can’t get local enough. User generated news supported by technology such as RSS, interactive maps, video etc could generate a break through in providing genuinely local news. And how could technology help move the local news into national? Simple, the news items could be categorised and aggregated on a national scale.

I’m sure there are plenty of challenges, including revenue models, getting eyeballs on the site, editorial control etc but good luck to businesses trying to bring a greater breadth to our news output.

Posted by: rosler28 | January 11, 2008

Cisco Entertainment Operating System

Reports in CNET and Mashable suggest that Cisco are driving the IP/brainpower bought from Tribe.net and Five Across down a service provider route rather than enterprise by developing a specific software suite for Internet content providers currently named Enterprise Operating System. Cisco haven’t released any real detail as yet on EOS but Mashable and CNet suggest EOS will sit on Cisco servers and for a monthly fee will monitor user social networking interaction within community sites. The aim of the software is not only to provide monitoring of users interaction with a site but also provide high value services such as pushing Ads and content recommendation to the users.

I wonder if EOS will be an open or closed source system. Cisco understandably like to provide hardened closed source software for their enterprise market yet social networking software is often based on APIs and open standards. Could for instance Cisco plug in the Matchmine Matchkey into their service offer or would Matchmine be seen as a direct threat?

Should be quite interesting to see an official announcement from Cisco but I do hope they don’t exclude the enterprise from their drive to social networking, companies would love to see CallManager provide a full, integrated unified communications device.

Posted by: rosler28 | January 8, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 2008 Predictions/Questions

It’s the time of year when predictions are made and people look forward to 2008. I’m not very good at predictions so I’m going to phrase it a different way by asking a few questions.

1 – Will the enterprise 2.0 industry get their head around security concerns that most large enterprise have with web and enterprise 2.0 and applications?

Let’s get this straight most of the Fortune 500 companies in the US and Europe pay millions of dollars a year for private data networks so they can transmit data without going via the internet. As we speak these companies with not deploy any large scale SaaS applications beyond their firewall. So any budding young startup out there wanting to tap into the large scale enterprise with a great piece of software please, please, please make sure you have it appliance ready so it can sit behind a firewall, otherwise you automatically constrict your market to individuals and small enterprise. It’s not small scale developers making this mistake either Google don’t seem to get that large scale enterprise will have nothing to do with Google Apps until they can contain it within their firewall boundary. Real, long standing enterprise players like Microsoft and Cisco already know this.

2 – Who will be the big enterprise 2.0 vendors at the end of the year and who should they have purchased?

This is related to question one. I think Microsoft and Cisco will start to dominate the enterprise 2.0 market this year. Their respective OCS and CallManager boxes will be the Trojan horse for enterprise 2.0 applications. While they may not have the strongest or most innovative software they have the install base, sales channels and most importantly the right management strategy to dominate the enterprise market.

If Google can build a box similar to OCS or CallManager (i don’t see why not, they have all the pieces) and they build an effective sales channel I can see Google making a real play in 2008. I’m just not sure how effective or focused their Enterprise strategy currently is.

If Oracle take notice of the brains trust they have here (which they should) http://oracleappslab.com/ expect them to be making a bigger noise in new applications this year than last.

2b – So I’m Google, MS, Cisco et al and I want some enterprise 2.0 software/brains to add to my product range and strategy, who do I buy – all of these:

  • 37 Signals – they get the applications, they just need hosting on a private box
  • Dabbledb – this is an excel killer, normal people can build great enterprise applications in minutes
  • Wufoo – love the application, might be a bit of overlap with the others but still worth getting
  • Socialtext – great Wiki platform and understand the need for behind the firewall services
  • Coghead – I love the ability to create applications and so too will users, Coghead is a great example
  • Slideshare – a great knowledge sharing tool, especially for the powerpoint obsessed enterprise
  • RSS Reader – I do think RSS readers will take over from email clients in the enterprise so they should go find a really good reader – Google’s RSS is a great model
  • Mozilla – I wonder how much Mozilla would cost? Would Google allow them to be sold, could they stop anyone buying it? enterprise 2.0 needs a delivery mechanism to the user and the browser is it. Control the browser and you have 50% of the enterprise 2.0 provision/market.
  • I’ll add to this list later when I have my list of companies to watch at hand

    3 – Will the iPhone creap into the Enterprise?

    I’ve been a big fan of the Nokia E61 but it’s not yet the ultimate mobile device, I hope 2008 provides a device that can deliver voice, email, internet, gps, 3g, wifi all in single device and be a potential laptop killer. The iphone is a great start but it is clearly aimed at the conusmer.

    Posted by: rosler28 | January 8, 2008

    Blogging to resume

    After a several month rest it is now the time to start my blog up again.  The last few months have been a lot of fun, I’ve joined Accenture, in their Technology Consulting practise, moved house a couple of times, watched the Patriots go undefeated and oh yeah bought a Mac.

    Posted by: rosler28 | July 31, 2007

    Cisco news and rumours: good and bad?

    Well I’ve been back a couple of days now so I’m just catching up with the news, the first company to catch my eye was Cisco. Some I thought was good news for Cisco, maybe some bad.

    The good:

    I’ve written a few times that Cisco is one of the few large networking/software organisations to understand the importance of web2.0 within the enterprise. Evidence of this can be found in the many words of John Chambers but also in money with the acquisitions of Tribe, Five Across and Webex. An interesting rumour comes from TechCrunch today suggesting that Click.tv technology may be integrated into Cisco technology. If true I’d put this down as an intellegent purchase from Cisco. Click.tv gave users and content providers the ability to add notes onto video. Although video isn’t used a tremendous amount in the Enterprise at the moment I’m willing to bet within five years video within a company intranet will be huge. Click.tv could be the technology that enhances and catorgorises the video content.

    It’s only a rumour but if it turns out to be true it’s a smart move by Cisco as they would be well ahead of the Enterprise technology curve.

    Now for the Bad:

    Cisco are the blue ribbon marketeers in the Enterprise technology field but I don’t understand their rebranding of Linksys to a Cisco badge. Cisco is exclusively an Enterprise only brand, consumers don’t buy Cisco. Because of this I think Cisco branded products carry a heavy premium, Cisco manage their resell channels well and they don’t have price conscious consumers and retailers discounting their equipment. This hasn’t been the case for Linksys who as a business unit are much more adept at understanding the consumer technology market which tends to be much more price sensitive and competitive.

    So I’m not sure what the rebrand would achieve:

    • Cisco is almost unheard of within consumer markets so I doubt re-branding to Cisco will generate any competitive edge within the consumer technology market. Perhaps Cisco make the case that consumers can be enterprise quality at home?
    • Rebranding away from Linksys allows a loyal market to change technology provider. Consumers tend to stick with a single networking brand at home. Purchasing a Linksys router leads on to buying a Linksys wireless access points and file server etc etc. There may be a short blip as consumers feel dislocated from the Linksys brand.
    • For me though the most damaging problem has to be the potential for Enterprise customers to seek reductions in Cisco premium pricing. I know many network teams who believe that the technical differences between a similar Linksys and Cisco product is small – almost too small to justify the large price differentials. However they have not taken the risk because if a Linksys switch were to fail they feel exposed to executives, with the rebrand it will be a Cisco switch that fails thus removing the exposure for the network team.

    Product ranges that could be affected: LAN switching, small office routers, WLAN and perhaps most importantly Linksys has a small IP phone PBX that competes with Call Manager Express, I wonder if Cisco will be brave enough to rebadge the Enterprise type Linksys product or merely retire them and concentrate the former Linksys brand on specific consumer products. I think this could be a kind of difficult thing to do but as I said before if anyone can pull off product marketing Cisco can.

    Posted by: rosler28 | July 19, 2007

    Reduced service for the next few days.

    It’s time for the Leyland family to take a few days of in the Lake District, there won’t be much posting going on for the next week or so.  Should be back in action by late next week.

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