Sunday, December 20, 2009


Some time back, I was introduced to the word 'Teleportation' in the context of IBM. IBM research has been working on the concept of Teleportation that aims of disintegrate an object at one place and reappear intact in another place (with out physical movement of the object). Can you believe?

If that research becomes successful, can physical objects be sent from one place to another (without physically transfering them)?. I think the logistics/courier companies would go bankrupt, I guess. :-)

I happened to see the same word in a different context few days before. Very similar - Sun's new virtualization software has introduced a new feature - called "Teleportation". Using this feature, end users would be able to migrate "live" and "running" virtual machines from one host to another. The source and target hosts can run on different processors and different operating systems. Still, the the VMs can be migrated seamlessly from one host to another. They call this feature as 'Teleportation'. VMWare offers this feature in the name of 'Vmotion'.

Using this feature, downtime of servers can nearly be eliminated, especially when servers have to be rebooted or during scheduled maintenance/upgrades.

Next Multi-Billion Dollar Opportunity for IT!

Has anyone seen this opportunity?. It looks like Google and Microsoft have been preparing themselves for quite sometime.

Will talk about what they are doing in just a little while..

First, the news is that US Government is planning to spend multi-billion dollar in Healthcare IT. Most of the spending is going to be centered around Electronic Patient Health Records related Solutions. If this stimulus plan gets approved, it is going to openup Healthcare IT market like never before. It will bring tremendous opportunities for Electronic Health Record technology/product vendors, HealthCare IT solution providers / Hospital systems.

Check out this newsbriefing to know more about this plans in detail.

Now, what does this newsbit has to do with Google or Microsoft?

Google and Microsoft have been incubating similar HealthCare IT solutions for the last few years. Maybe on a low key - Google is providing 'Google Health' whereas Microsoft calls it as 'Microsoft Health Vault'.

Both the solutions let the patient key-in and manage their Electronic Health Records and online and selectively share that data with the partner ecosystem. The partner ecosystem would be Health Care providers, Pharmacists, Insurance companies, etc.

Now, with this kind of platforms and solutions in place, the patients can expect to experience the following set of services in near future:
- Health Predictions based on your current medical records
- Video Conferencing with Doctors with (Doctors having access to your medical history)
- Recommendations/Targeted advertisements/medicines that are highly personalized
- Upload infomation from their Healthcare devices directly to the platforms (e.g. glucose meters, bood pressure cuffs, etc. from various vendors)

Both Google and Microsoft are offering these services for Free to Patients. While both the solutions look identical, there are major differences. First, Only Microsoft provides support for uploading data directly from Medical devices. And it supports a variety of devices from various vendors when compared to Google. Second, Microsoft is investing significant amount of money in Health Care IT related solutions, while Google grows the platform organically.

There are competitors as well like Dossia, who provide similar EHR platforms to corporates. But, Google/Microsoft have the muscle power to outperform the competitors and has the ability to build a wider ecosystem around its platforms.

Both the platforms are not subject to HIPAA regulations yet. But, eventually they will need to comply with government regulations, if they want to address the privacy and security concerns of patients.

Top 10 Trends for Enterprise IT in 2010

This is the season of the year to talk about the Enterprise IT Trends for the upcoming year 2010. As usual, I am not going to talk about Technology Trends. Being part of Enterprise IT, I would like to write about the forecasts for Enterprise IT shops (especially the bigger ones).

This recession has structurally impacted the IT organizations to seriously re-look at the opportunities for cost optimizations - be it organization structure changes, new process introductions, new way of partnerships with their vendors to get more value for the money.

From my perspective, the new year will see the following 10 developments.
1. Get ready for the long tail. The age of million dollar projects, billion dollar outsourcing contracts are gone. IT investments are scrutinized at various levels and only the critical projects are cleared from the annual budgeting process. To combat the bureaucracy of convincing the top management on high-cost projects, IT managers have started to fragment those projects into smaller bites that would be less scrutinized. This could be a tactical change in terms of defining the projects and funding them. But, it has its own consequences. The immediate result is that this approach leads to proliferation of long-list of micro/mini projects that requires the attention of both IT shops as well as vendors (not in terms of complexity. But, in terms of numbers).
2. Need for new Governance Models The proliferation of micro/mini projects leads to new forms of IT Governance. Especially, when this long-tail is being managed by multiple vendors and requires hand-offs between the participants, greater level of attention is required to ensure successful accomplishments. The Governance functions like Project Management Office, Operational Excellence Groups will get into the mainstream management operation system of Enterprise IT. New Tools, New Processes and methods would come into existence as part of the Governance.
3. Total IT outsourcing - Year-on-Year, IT is forced cut costs but deliver more value to Business. Now, that can only go little distance. Beyond a point, the Enterprise IT organizations would have to compeltely depends on their vendors if they have to radically deliver on their cost pressures. One of the solution is to completely hand-off the entire risks to one or two IT vendors who will directly manage a portion of IT relieving Internal IT staff. Its upto the IT outsourcing vendor to manage their own staff and infrastructure and deliver on cost expectations.
4. Business and IT - Alignment getting more wider - Relating to point no.1, if there are more and more number of 'parts', that is small projects, there is no 'whole'. That leaves a 'hole' in Business-IT alignment. Few years before, in a consulting assignment, one of the senior leaders of IT in a huge manufacturing company in US said - 'Our organization strategy is to build silos' - of course, pun intended. But, that is the reality. Any intra-organizational efforts to integrate the systems are seen as 'boiling the ocean'. And hence, the alignment is going to be a continuous challenge.
5. SaaS apps for new business verticals - Customers, Business/IT - would be demanding more and more SaaS applications from the vendors. CRM is only the beginning. Though there are concerns towards security, the cost equations are so compelling to resist for the IT leaders. This would lead to emergence of SaaS applications in new vertical functions.
6. Vertical-oriented, Platform-based BPOs - BPOs are getting smarter. Not just plain/mundane, back-office functions, Customers are getting improved options. For example, some of the vendors are offering complete 'channel business anlaytics' on their own platform/technology stack relieving the business/IT shops from capital investments and offering
high-value solutions 'on-the-tap'.
7. Flexible perimeter security - If a company has to consume services outside the firewall or export data to a vendor, the traditional perimeter methods are going to be challenged. The scenarios will get complicated if there are composite applications that are developed that has a mix of both internal services plus external systems. Lots of work are happening in this area by cloud vendors as well as Chief Security Officers. Some of those solutions will get into mainstream in the coming year.
8. Reporting/Data aggregation tools becoming a key capability - With proliferation of projects & information and increased need for compliance/Governance and scrutinity, there will be too much of reporting and data floating all around the company. And if a company needs to systematically view and manage the data, reporting tools and technologies would become a key requirement both for IT as well as Business. Analytics - is still seen as an 'exotic' food for Business/IT. It may take few more years to see real analytic solutions that solves compelling business problems.
9. Software Compliance Management Solutions - With increased transition to Open Source, Companies are also being vulnerable to underlying license infringements. There is a clear need for education in terms of the range of licenses, their limitations and usage options. New breed of solutions such as Software Compliance Management solutions (e.g. Black Duck) are gaining momentum in the market. IT shops/vendors will put themselves at greater risks if they ignore these considerations.
10. Innovation in packets - As the economy showing early signs of recovery, some of the high-performing departments in IT would look for inexpensive innovative experiements with latest technologies (e.g. Android/Mobile based applications). This would be a tactical arrangement to test the waters and not a sustainable organization model. However, this could be a good business opportunity for IT service companies if they can carve out a meaningful offering that suits multiple clients.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Promising Acquisition - III

This is third in the series of Promising Acquisitions.

MindTree, an Indian Software Services company,recently acquired the Indian subsidiary of Kyocera Wireless. The Indian unit is engaged in wireless product development, software engineering and product testing for its global parent.

I have always admired MindTree for two reasons - Mindtree lives by its values. It clearly articulates what it stands for in the software services market and it also clearly articulates its path towards growth. It has aimed to achieve $1 billion dollars by 2014. To achieve this vision, Mindtree has been actively working on identifying several growth engines that could propel the company towards its vision. And the recent acquisition is one such initiative. According to Asok Soota, the chairman of MindTree, the businesses that has the ability to contribute over 10% of revenue have been identified as growth engines.

This is not the interesting news...The news which I want to highlight is the capability that has been acquired by Mindtree due to this transaction and what are the new offerings that we can expect from Mindtree because of the new capabilities?

Yesterday, Mindtree has announced that it would enter in 3G Mobile Handset business. Yes, in the Phone Manufacturing business...Can u believe a software services company getting into the product business?. I just cant. I truly believe that companies are not just making inorganic moves just to make topline look good...but also making creating endeavors to establish their mark in the industry.

According to the press release, the new business will offer feature-rich, white-labeled mobile handsets to telecom service providers or original equipment manufacturers. The Kyocera team, acquired by Mindtree, has earlier delivered 45 million wireless phones and has extensive experience in 4G technologies like WiMax. It also has experience in getting the product manufactured by contracting partner ecosystem. MindTree has also emphasised that it is going to invest on generating IP in this new business.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Incentives to Change!

I have insisted in the past that IT shops being run as a Business with General Management Principles. This approach would not necessarily cultivate creativity and collaboration in the organization. There is tremendous amount of scope for innovation in reforming IT organization structure, incentive mechanisms and roles/responsibilities. Hardly very few companies have experimented with those kinds of ideas.

I wanted to highlight some of other interesting ideas that got my attention in the recent past. US Federal Government has recently announced (and ended) a program called 'Cash for Clunkers'. This program encourages the car owners to trade in their old cars with new/used cars with financial incentives. The objective of the program was to promote energy efficiency and get rid of old cars. This initiative was also aimed to trigger some demand in the automobile industry.

Now, How do we relate this idea to IT?. Here is a perspective from This blog post in the CIO website proposes an idea - Cash for IT Clunkers. Can we promote a program where users can trade-in their legacy hardware/software assets with new/cutting-edge technologies which would result in end-user productivity & efficiency and obviously some financial benefits as well.

My thought process is that these kind of mechanisms need to be experimented in the CIO shops / Internal IT organization itself. These mechanisms will give an opportunity to rejuvanate the IT landscape with creativity and get rid of older and expensive systems.

I also wanted to highlight some of the similar ideas happening in other industries...(especially in India)

1.Levis (Jean Trouser Brand) recently introduced a campaign where people can buy a Jean on EMI (Equated Monthly installments). For example, if a Jean costs Rs. 1500, and an ordinary consumer (who is used to pay only Rs.500 for his Jean) would be able to avail the benefit and pay only Rs.500 for 3 months. Thats creative!. Through this program, Levis tries to capture the market share of middle-class consumers who are not their regular customers, but always aspire to purchase high-value items. Would we see such ideas in procuring new product/tool licenses in IT industry?. We'll have to wait and see.

2. Recently, there is a company called BagSutra floated a business where people can rent expensive/designer bags on daily rents. The benefit to the customer is that they dont need to buy those luxurious bags for themselves. At the same time, they would get to change the bags very ofen by becoming a member of this program. I dont see any direct relationships with IT industry per se. But I think SaaS gives this flexibility.

In summary, creative pricing & marketing ideas would certainly accelerate the adoption of new solutions.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Social Media coming of Age!

Except LinkedIn, I am not an avid user of other social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter. But, it looks like I may have to adopt sooner.

Here is the case - Recently I was planning to go for the new movie release - Disney Pixar's UP in Bangalore [Planning to write about Pixar's Technology Excellence soon]. The movie is Disney's one of the first 3D ventures. And I was trying to check if 3D feature is enabled in Bangalore theatres. To my surprise, I found the same query raised by a viewer in Facebook and one of the Bangalore multiplex theatre chains has promptly responded to the query. Wow!, this was something we have never seen before. Of late, Companies are recognizing the importance of Social Media tools. They not only create an identity for themselves in those tools, but they are also becoming active in interacting with their audience and contributing to the overall experience. That is commendable!.

Second case - I am frequent reader of a personal investment magazine Outlook Money. In their recent issue, I found that the magazine has established an identity in facebook & Twitter to facilitate expert investment advises, theme based discussion forums, Twitter based current advises. I am sure any customer who is financially savvy and active in personal investment planning/execution would greatly benefit from these initatives. And it could also potentially add tremendous amount of new readership to the magazine. I am planning to signup soon!

The takeway is that Social Media is becoming a serious Business!.

Promising Acquisition - II

In the last post, we talked about Dell-Perot - A product company acquiring a Service entity to expand its reach. In this post, I wanted to highlight another interesting combination - An IT Service company investing in a hardware product company. Curious to know more?. Read on..

Accenture invests in a product company called Bug Labs. Yes, the company is teaming up with a tiny hardware product manufacturing company called Bug Labs. It is a move away from Accenture's conventional business model.

In a nutshell, Bug Labs provides a base [open-source] hardware module that can be enhanced to build a whole new device by adding other hardware add-ons such as accelerometer, GPS and GPRS connector and so on. Reminds me of another similar open source hardware company called Chumby, that I read about couple of years ago.

Once you have your own custom built hardware device, you can deploy your own business applications on top of the device in as little as two days. The advantage is that the device can be completely tailor-made for a target company and can be a great value add in rapid prototyping of new products/services.

Accenture is also planning to charge its customers based on pay-per-use of its underlying software services instead of selling the product. Do visit the BugLabs site, you will see a new ecosystems of devices and applications emerging.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Promising Acquisition - I

In the recent past, I have had the opportunities to deal with application rationalizations, replacements/migrations and had the chance to recommend suitable SaaS solutions in replacement for on-premise solutions. What do you think the response might have been?. Well, the customers are definitely interested in the solution, but they are not bold enough to take that first critical step due to various reasons such as requirement of new contracts/agreements, data security, provisioning, user management, switching/transition costs.

My point of view - the ideal & easiest situation for the end customers to adopt SaaS would be - the current application custodians becoming the actual Application owners. Yes, the IT service companies who currently manage the applications, to transform themselves as SaaS provisioning companies in the respective business domains. The Service companies that provide the seamless switch to their end customers from being an owner to consumer will add great amount of value.

If that happens, it could open the door for a brave new world where IT service companies start to create their own SaaS ecosystem to serve each other and their respective clients.

Of late, we are witnessing quite a few acquisitions in the market that could lead the way to the new ecosystem - HP-EDS in the past and Dell acquiring Perot Systems last week. Will Dell-Perot combination give HP-EDS a run for its money?. Not necessarily.

The question to be asked is - what is the new value that could be brought by these acquisitions to the end consumer?.

The IT infrastructure products & services market is clearly being disrupted by various factors such as virtualization, cloud computing/SaaS, etc. And companies are rapidly responding to the disruptions by complimenting their capabilities by suitable acquisitions.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, would these new IT infrastructure + Services combo deliver those new value Options or spend the next couple of years in just restructuring companies to increase more revenues?. We'll have to wait and see!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beginning of In-Sourcing?

There are several news clips that instigated me to write about this topic.

First, there was an interesting post in HP-EDS blog saying Offshoring is becoming irrelevant!. And Offshoring is typically meant to solve yesterday's problems. Obviously, as anyone would, I was also infected with the curiosity to get into the details and got some information in this blog.

Second, there was a blog post from the reputed sourcing advisory firm TPI. This post claims several emerging trends in the Enterprise IT sourcing units. During heydays, the Enterprise IT sourcing units would hire the consultants from the advisory firms like TPI to enable them to take informed decisions in outsourcing/offshoring. This blog post states that this trend is drastically declining and the days of large deals are almost over.

Couple of other interesting trends..
- Large Deal sizes in the range of several millions spanning across multiple years are clearly declining
- Companies have started to experiment with multisourcing models / sourcing from best-of-the-breed combination of vendors
- Offshore contracts are evaluated like never before for due diligence and continuous improvements
- Companies are expecting the vendors to collaborate to create new/additional value for them- Bespoke / Custom application development projects are declining
- Procurement slowly but surely migrates from services to Online Productized Services (SaaS) & Business Process Oriented vertical solutions that would solve a distinct problem
- Large companies wanting to regain or rebuild a control mechanism over the vendor ecosystem

Now, What does this mean for Enterprise IT units?
- The emerging patterns stress the need for continuous cost savings and service delivery innovation from the vendors
- In-sourcing / In-housing of some of the key IT competencies are clearly emerging
- As stated above, if sourcing needs to be smarter in terms of business processes, new technologies and architecture alignment, it needs to be staffed with cross-functional teams. The teams typically need to have business analyts, sourcing managers, and Technical/Enterprise Architects
- Techniques like Agile also requires more client participation leading to staffing in Internal IT- These newly organized IT teams try to demonstrate IT's value to business by attempting new standards/mechanisms

How does this unfold for Outsourcing / Offshoring companies?
- End-to-End service offerings no longer going to yield interested audience from Enterprise IT- Companies need to find ways in which they can compliment and synergize with a prevailing vendor ecosystem within a company, rather than trying to pitch its own siloed sales story
- Continuous improvements and Innovation in Service Delivery will become order of the day
- As the emerging patterns create the need for 'smarter/leaner' staffing in Enterprise Internal IT, the vendors will also be expected to match with equally smarter staff on their end. No more labor arbitrage!.

Net-Net, Offshore vendors will need to work harder and smarter to retain and grow their existing ADM businesses!.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Strategic Short-Cuts!

Thanks to my friend and fellow Architect, Naren for influencing me to write this blog post. I was so impressed with the concept that I felt I had to write this post.

Are you managing an IT shop that consistenly spends on Operate & Maintain Budget?
How much of your annual IT budget goes to 'sustain' your existing systems?
How much of it goes to 'extend' your existing landscape with new business capabilities?
If your spending is more inclined more towards 'sustain' mode, there are chances that you are carrying quite a lot of debts.

Yes, the subject of this blog post is about 'Technical Debts'. Here is a short article by Martin Fowler on Technical Debts. In this note, Martin defines Technical Debt as something that is accrued over quick and dirty ways of doing things.

In this note, as well as other articles that I read, Technical Debt is defined in the context of Application Development projects, where the Dev team is forced to pay the interest payments in the later phases of the release cycles. When I mention interest payments,it is the additional cost incurred in future development activities due to bad design/technical decisions that were made earlier in the cycle.

It was quite interesting to correlate this debt with Financial Debt! More than defining Technical Debts in a Project context, I was curious to understand how the idea is applicable in enterprise IT context, especially in the legacy application maintenance/support space. In typical IT spending, lions share of the budget goes for maintenance/support/operations and Technical Platform Refresh/Upgrade, etc. The question is - Does the lion's share goes to keep just the lights on? or extend those legacy apps with new capabilities?. Typically it goes for lights on operations and the organization depends largely on Heroes (be it people or IT Service Companies).If the company wants to get an insight on why the maintenance spending just stays flat on legacy apps or every single fix takes a huge amount of time, Its time to assess the Technical Debt that it carries. Once the company becomes aware of the Debt, it acquires the capability to manage it effectively.

The good thing that I liked about this idea is that it makes the bad decisions/short-cuts 'explicit' and 'quantifiable'. It is also an effective mechanism to communicate the risks to business/General management forum in non-technical language. I see a lot of relevance for this concept in the Architecture space, where I can defend the spending on Architecture/Design phase by stating the future costs on 'interest' payments.

In matured companies, you will not only report out how much of Technical Debts that you have created out of a project, You will also track and manage the Debt on a periodic basis. The companies can decide to payoff the debt once for all or pay it in increments, depending on the nature of the risk.

To thrive on this concept and make it actionable, the key pre-requisite that I see is the open culture. In a culture, where people will not get penalized for reporting the problems and there is an open atmosphere for discussing/debating the risks and mitigation options, those would be the places Technical Debts will fly.

Here is a plug-in from Codehaus for Technical Debt. The plug-in gives an indication on effort/cost required to reimburse the debt and the kind of debts detected in the code. (e.g. Code Duplication, Complexity, Violations)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Big Software Plans for Amazon Kindle?

In february 2009, I wrote about Amazon's kindle evolving into an application platform.

Looks like its becoming true. This Businessweek's article confirms my speculation.

Some of the possible directions that the article indicates:
- New applications that run on Amazon's kindle e-Book reader
- An Online App store like iPhone/BlackBerry application store
- Kindle evolving into a delivery channel for content. example - Blog Publishing
Amazon already provisions selected internet blogs thru the device
What else could be delivered to the device directly?
- Email applications/Web Browsing.

Once Amazon provisions an SDK for application development, I am sure there would be interesting possibilities!.

Digitize Your Wallet!

Citibank is introducing mobile based credit card payments in India. It is an integrated solution that Citibank is piloting along with other vendors such as Nokia (Handset provider), Vodafone (Telecom service provider), VivoTech (Technology provider) and Mastercard (Credit Card & Secure Payments Authority) and with selected merchants in the city.

Using this technology, the customers will be able to make contactless payments in the Point-of-Sale locations.

The customer downloads the credit card into the mobile application and protects the same with a password. When the customer makes a purchase in a retail store, he taps the mobile against a special reader device which performs the transaction. As I understand, a Java application installed on the mobile phone communicates with the card reader using Near-Field communications technology (elder brother of Bluetooth?) and communicates with the reader.

The reader & the application are from the technology company Vivotech. From technology perspective, Vivotech empowers the Bank to provision the credit card information securely to the mobile phone over the network provided by the Telecom Vendor. Vivotech also empowers the merchants with contactless readers.

It looks more convinient than pure-play mobile payments, where the mobile application sends an SMS or instructions to the bank directly to make payments. Here the idea looks more of digitizing your wallet and carrying it along the way. And there are no additional costs involved in data services consumption for payments as there is no need to send an SMS or connect to Internet.

The interesting perspective is that Citibank believes that it is not just a technology trial. But, a business model trail. Just imagine, if the mobile application can accept information from the card reader device at the merchant location - the possiblities are many - individualized discounts, gift vouchers/coupons download, personalized marketing. And all of these will result in additional revenue to the companies!.

We will have to wait and see how the technology picks momentum in Bangalore!.

I would be willing to sign-up but the catch is that I need to have a specific NFC-enabled Nokia handset.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Technology in Bathing Soap?

This post is on a lighter note, but definitely has a technology perspective and caught my attention recently.

Hindustan Unilever, a reputed FMCG company recently conducted a market research in a village in India. The intent was to collect the usage patterns of their famous product - Lifebuoy - a bathing soap. As part of the study, a small microchip was planted inside the soap and they were distributed to selective set of participants who signed-up for the research. From technical perspective, the microchip was based on motion-sensor that captures the data when the soap essentially 'moves' when used by the customers. After the study, the chip would be shared with the company to assess the customer usage patterns. It was a brilliant idea!. This idea reminds me lots of interesting opportunities/ideas in Enterprise IT space. (for example - potential in remote infrastructure management?)

Now there ends the tech story. What would happen if the same soap falls into the hands of customers who are totally unaware of the presence of the chip and then they eventually find out the same?. - Panic :-). Yes, thatz what happened. When few customers found the presence of the chip, they mistook it for a hidden camera and that led to confusion. Later the company had to step in to clarify the actual situation. Innovation boomerangs! :-)

Mining Hidden Gems!

Have you ever heard of a non-human receiving a patent?. By Non-human, I mean a robot kind of application. Yes, thats true. HP's auto-innovation achieved the same. HP calls it as 'Genetic-Programming'. The idea is an application could analyze the 'genes' of earlier inventions and point to evolutionary advances. Thats interesting!.

In any organization, there are plenty of creative ideas, suggestions, initiatives always flow thru. only few of them sustain, rest of everything gets abandoned or goes unnoticed. If the organization does not have a formal way of capturing those ideas/suggestions, then there are chances that people are re-inventing the wheel again for persistent problems. The question is, Can the past knowledge help in determing or predicting the future?. Can a software application help mining those ideas and recommend suitable directions?. And HP claims to have an answer.

Am sure there are chances of looking at false positives!. But the brighter side is that it would help analyzing the existing data for useful patterns, relationships and understanding its impact in the future. For me, it looks to me its an application of Predictive analytics in the Innovation space. HP claims that it uses the concept to streamline their supply chain and come out with new ways of predicting future sales.

I believe the concept/idea is applicable across variety of domains within the enterprise, especially in the area of Idea/Innovation Management.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Innovation from Coca-Cola!

This is outstanding!.

When I first time read this newsbit, I was thinking it sounded like a 'Telematics' solution.
The idea is simple. Coke is introducing a 'freestyle' wending machine this summer. Using this machine, the customer will be able to pick and choose the flavor/colories/water of his choice and make a beverage using a touch screen interface.

Ok, so, what is so Techie about it?. Here comes, the vending machine transmits the customer choices using a verizon uplink to Coke's data center and updates the choice information in SAP and Business Warehouse. The vast amount of choice information getting uploaded to the warehouse can give unique insights into Coke's next product of choice. That's innovation!.

The presss release says Coke has been designing this machine for the last four years. And some of the technology used are RFID (for flavor dispensors), Microsoft Windows, and SAP BW with Verizon Data services.

This is an excellent case of work where the company tries to co-create its future product by working along with its own customers, not in isolation. Apart from giving insights to future product design, the data can also lead to other obvious benefits such as stock replenishment, regional preferences. It can also potentially make healthy recommendations and customized offers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Google - Your Next Enterprise Portal?

I was not a big fan of Google Apps until yesterday. But, this innovative offering from Cordys-Google partnership changed my perception. If you have been thinking Google Apps are a bunch of applications that can just manage unstructured content, think again!. Google Apps is slowly but surely emerging as an office business application platform.

Cordys delivers structured workflow capabilities to Google Apps suite. It provides a Hosted environment for building business process applications in the cloud. Sure! - There are hundreds of vendors providing Cloud-based BPM solutions. But,the Cordys solution has been exclusively designed to support Google Apps.

Don't miss to checkout the process demo!. I am impressed with the demo that shows the way in which workflow solutions can be designed, deployed and accessed from Google Portal. The Workflow solutions have been built around Google Apps tools such as Word, Excel documents.

The demo workflow not only integrates with unstructured content like Google Apps, but also with structured sources like The icing on the cake is that - like Google public portal, where users can drag and drop widgets into their personalized portal - the enterprise users would get the same experience as the public Internet Google portal. The Enterprise user can have a personalized dashboard that presents the Inbox [that lists the action items], Google Charts, Google Maps Widgets!.

If a user-friendly business process solution can be designed and deployed in a Portal-like environment at a rate of $50 per user per year, Would you still need those expensive Enterprise Portals?. Atleast, for those least-critical, simple workflows that were built, hosted and supported in expensive data centers?. I strongly believe the time has arrived to re-look at the entire IT landscape within a company and challenge their TCO.

In this offering, the kind of applications that can be built are situational, process-centric mashup applications like Budget Approval, Change Control. With this capability, organizations of any size can mix-and-match existing on-premise services with live services on the web to compose busienss process based solutions.

Would this be a starting point for considering Google Apps as an Enterprise Portal? Would this be the beginning of Google Apps emerging as the tough competitor for Microsoft Office's future vision - the vision of evolving Office as a Business Applications platform?.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Digital Body Language!

This is impressive!. It's a new term that is floating in the Internet for quite sometime. One of my colleagues was recently discussing with me about eCommerce merchandising trends. And When I had to do little bit of research in that context, I came across this book.

Digital Body Language is defined as the art and science that revolves around detecting and understanding prospective buyer's signals and intentions to better communicate with them. Here, we are referring to buyers signals that are made online. But, wait a min - Aren't we used to this idea before?. Is it just an old idea just re-incarnated with new name?. How is it different from clickstream analysis, deep personalization, user profiling and segmentation?.

In the conventional sales cycle, the sales executive meets the prospect and tries to read his body language to derive insights on the need, timing, authority or any concerns. Now, with the DBD, these traditional techniques are not just adequate, for the simple reason being that buyer have become much more smarter. Buyer has access to information, intelligence and fellow customers' network like never before. Before venturing into a purchase, buyer performs a significant research online and forms a opinion about the product. Does the sales executive has enough clues on the prospect's signals?. Digital Body Language is the new set of concepts, tools/techniques to decipher the propspects interests and act accordingly.

For the first time, I am seeing somebody seeking to understand a customer's behavior far more deeper in a specific business context, correlating real-word experiences. The approach itself is so humane! And that's where it impresses!. The conventional techie approach - eCommerce COTS products/tools - typically address the marketing needs by providing pointed solutions. And that usually works only when those prospects visit "your" site, and not when they visit "other" sites.

In this case, the concept has been applied for Sales and Marketing. But, I see this as the beginning of period where the businesses try to understand and carve-out a 'Digital Persona' of a prospect. The very thought of understanding the 'persona'of an Internet user is exciting!. Here, the 'persona' is constructed as a synthesis of prospect's signals and intentions registered across a wide array of channels/websites.

In the case of sales/marketing, I look forward to see sophisticated internet tools that enable capturing and deciphering digital body language. In the long term, I strongly believe DBD has huge potential to be applied across business functions, not just sales/marketing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Moments of Truth

I was introduced to a new term called 'Moment of Truth' in BPM context. According to IBM, the Customer Service Processes - The business processes that directly interacts with the customer - are typically associated with Moments of Truth. It further defines that the moment of truth is a point during the process where the user is in a position to form an instant opinion about the service or process. These moments of truth are becoming extremely important as they play vital role in building customer loyalty, expanding market share, and remaking entire market places. It also enables the companies to closely watch the interaction points with the customer, generate insights from them, challenge them and innovate to make those interactions cheaper, simpler and better. Hence, Business processes which have moments of truth are becoming valuable assets to the company.

Now, there is another perspective. Yesterday I was introduced to another newstory by one of my colleagues, saying Twitter has launched a Search Engine. Now, using this Twitter search engine, one can do a search on vast amount of Tweet posts. Tweets are no more personal messages. As mentioned in this story, Tweet messages are increasingly becoming a platform to share customers' experiences with a product/services from a company. Some of my close friends are using Twitter in India and I have personally watched those Tweet posts. Handful of those messages will be 'feedback' messages. For example, they may post feedback about a restaurant or Telecom service provider. Now, there is a tremendous opportunity. It is an opportunity for both the consumers and the companies. Consumers can get tremendous insights as to what other people are talking about the products/services they are interested in. Companies can generate insights about new product/service ideas, gaps and feedback. I wouldn't be surprised if Twitter or any of its partners come up with a tailor-made analytics solution on top of its search. In a way, Twitter serves as the feedback point for Moments of Truth.

Now, with the combination of above two concepts - Moments of Truth in BPM and Twitter - You get a closed-loop system that would enable the companies to not only just collect the feedback but also to continuously improve the business process based on the customer's inputs. In fact, it can happen in near real-time. Am certain the concept & technology has got great potential to be deployed in the enterprises who are serious about their customer service, as it would play a significant role in increasing the customer's perceived value on a company's offerings and enable the companies to control, manage, and innovate on those customer-interactive processes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oracle-Sun Deal : Threat to SAP NetWeaver?

This perspective from CIO site is interesting. It claims the biggest loser in Oracle-Sun deal is SAP.

I would say - yes and No. Yes, its a threat to SAP. But SAP has got Options to mitigate.

Considering the significant investment SAP is making in Java based NetWeaver suite to promote its eSOA offerings, nobody would have predicted that the future of Java would fall right into the hands of SAP's very own archrival - Oracle.

The CIO article finds that Oracle will have a huge competitive advantage over SAP having the control on shaping the future of Java platform. And consequently, using the Java platform to shape its Oracle Fusion and Business Applications suite in a competitive architecture.

Now, What would SAP do?.

There are two options - First, SAP may mitigate the risk by innovating a java-hybrid technology or a new standard or Intellectual Property in building the eSOA / Netweaver stack.
Second, SAP may mitigate the risk by not investing in Java. Startling?
Yes, Its true. I was doing little bit of research to find out what SAP could possibily do...And following is the observation..

Here is a prediction from another SAP analyst who confirms SAP is going to increase the investments in ABAP language compared to Java. The strategic positioning of the two different languages ABAB and Java would be something like this - ABAP would be used for building Core Business Suite Web Services while Java would be pushed to the 'Edge' where it's primarily leveraged for Mashups/Composite Apps/Front-ending apps. And SAP's new investments in ABAP language confirms the same.

So, ABAP is here to stay for a while...But would that give a competitive advantage to SAP when compared with Oracle?. - We'll have to wait and see.

There are game changing acquisitions happening in the industry.

And I believe there are quite a few consolditions still pending...As I observe in the industry, every other software vendor is becoming increasingly conscious of their strengths and weaknesses, and they are all out to pursue complimentary acquisitions.

Unlike in the past, these upcoming acquisitions are game changers and they are bound to create transformational impact on the Technology industry.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Business leads IT!

This is an impressive story!. The story was featured in Indian daily - Economic Times, 2nd April, Bangalore Edition.

A group of companies in Garment exports industry in India have decided to setup an IT firm. The key objective behind this IT firm is to produce software for their business operations, so that they could save over Rs.1000 crores every year. About 10,000 business units are expected to benefit from this new venture.

This is a perfect example for Co-Opetition. The member companies may be competing in their respective market segments, since they are in the same industry. However, they have come together to solve a common problem. The proposed ERP-class solution will help them track export consignments in a real-time manner through IT solutions as well as mobile phones.

By investing in developing a new ERP software for their own needs, they can dramatically reduce/eliminate their individual investments in IT. Moreover, they also plan to go for a hosted solution where the individual exporter can pay around Rs. 4000 per month [approximately. 100$] apart from one-time license fee.

Currently, this group of companies spend close to Rs.200 crore [around $50 million] on IT every year & they are planning to develop the product with a seed money of around Rs.8 crore [around $2 million].

In addition to the bottomline savings, the association also aims to rise the topline by selling the IT solution to other similar industrial clusters in India. The association is talking to Microsoft and SAP to co-develop the software.

Some of my observations from this story:-
- New business models are emerging in ways and means we aren't familiar.
If a company needs to be competitive, it should not be just asking the question - Are we ready to adopt?. Instead, It should ask - Can We shape such trends?
- Business houses no longer shun themselves away from IT & Cutting edge Technologies. Instead, they are about to Lead others.
- Business Solutions at Compelling Price Tags is the way to go.

If a federated association can drive such inspiring initiatives that can improve bottomline & topline, is there anything Enterprise-IT can learn from those practices?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Disruptor in the Data Center

In the last few years,I have had opportunity to work with with Enterprise Architects in Infrastructure Management Teams during the deployment of new systems/applications. The key observation was that we spent lot of time discussing the application sizing requirements, security requirements and network requirements to arrive at a suitable Solution Architecture [infrastructure] that would evenutally solve the problem at hand.

The actual 'System Integration' between the hardware resources like servers, storage, network/firewall typically needed to be hand-crafted and hence took significant time and effort. The scenario would be much more complicated if we were talking about Internet facing applications or the complexity of the application was high.

Coming from the Application/System Architecture background, I am thinking - Wouldn't be possible to come out with several design/architectural patterns in Solution Architectures [Deployment/Infrastructure architecture] as well. For example, Internet transactional system can have a pre-integrated topology and intranet system can have its own pre-defined / prescriptive topology and based on a standard model and the additional discussions can be had according to the very specific project requirements.

Am yet to talk to my Infra Architect counterparts to understand the viability of such a thought process.

But, It looks like Cisco has observed this very practical problem prevailing in the data center and come out with an 'Architectural approach' to solve this issue. Cisco's new offering 'Unified Computing System' is not centered towards a specific solution architecture. It is positioned as a holistic data center platform where many such 'Solution Architectures' can be crafted and deployed seamlessly.

In this new offering, the Platform is a hardware + software combination that has the 'inherent' capability to orchestrate server, storage and virtualization with high-speed network equipments. Yes, I said 'Inherent' capability with no 'plumbing'.

For the first time, Cisco is entering into the data center market, not as a network gear provider but the 'Server provider'. And Cisco has taken this daring move disrupting its own long-term partners such as IBM and HP.

By providing a 'Pre-integrated/Architected System', Cisco aims to eliminate the manual system integration that typically is the case in data center operations. Am personally excited with the 'Architecture approach' as it attempts to think out-of-the-box. [hardware box :-) ]

Cisco CTO claims that today's data centers are fragmented and innovations like virtualization are not enough. Applying those innovations would only increase the operating expenses, She states. I couldn't agree more!.

To support Enterprise data center requirements, Cisco has roped in several partners such as EMC and VMWare to work in a unified Environment. The UCS System will have the capability to seamlessly orchestrate various data center resources from its partners, thus resulting in a plug-n-play environment. With this approach, Cisco's UCS emerges as the 'Brain' in the Enterprise Nervous system [Infrastructure layer].

When I read the offering in detail, I draw strong similarities between Cisco's Unified Computing System and the SOA principles. The UCS effectively implements the SOA principles to seamlessly orchestrate different heterogenous resources using industry standard protocols.

This is clearly a disruptor to the data center/infrastructure industry. And Cisco actually in the path of realizing Sun Microsystem's Visionary statement - 'Network is the Computer'.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Net Neutrality and SaaS

When Google offered to ‘co-locate’ their edge / cache servers along with ISP locations, there was a big uproar saying Google is trying to violate net neutrality. The doubts raised were - The deal between ISP & Google may potentially lead to provision of ‘faster lane’ to Google Sites compared to Other Web Sites, And the ISP will have the liberty to prioritize Google traffic over others leading to discrimination!

Google then clarified there is no exclusive agreement in place that could lead to discrimination of Internet Traffic. But, with the advent of proprietary and commercial network Services [SaaS], the Net Neutrality would be subject to debate again in the coming future.

Already, Amazon bundling its Wireless services with its Kindle device is receiving enough criticism for providing exclusive network access to its customers.

In case of Enterprise SaaS consumers such as users of Amazon Web Services or, they would need to share the ‘Internet pipe’ along with other public users when it comes to consuming those services over the Internet. This would significantly impact the Quality-of-Service levels / SLAs of the respective SaaS providers.

Now, When SaaS goes mainstream and the adoption rate increases, the downtime and SLA violation may simply become unacceptable [because people would be paying for the SLAs] and that would force SaaS providers to adopt new strategies including a formal policy change in Net Neutrality and consequently the economics of SaaS consumption [who will pay for those prioritized pipe?. Amazon or Consumer? Will the policy be applicable to Global Customers and Global ISPs?]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

WebServices killed EAI. Cloud Computing/SaaS kills what?

Cloud computing/SaaS has the potential to virtually eliminate Internal IT completely from the enterprises. The widespread adoption of confirms the fact that operational functions - such as HR, Sales/Marketing – today has the ability to bypass Internal IT departments and go ahead to procure the On-Demand applications of their choice. Is it a threat to Internal IT? Ok, that is a different point of discussion altogether.

But, today, I thought I would write about the role of Technologies in the context of Cloud Computing Space. The very fact that applications being pushed out of the firewall to an external service provider literally ‘masks’ or ‘virtualizes’ the complexity in the architecture and technology behind those applications. The simple/direct consumers of do not need to know the complexities such as its architecture, technology, etc. They all need to know the consumption details of services.

In fact, Cloud proponents wish that Business users having the ablility to deploy, consume and compose Cloud Services, without needing technical help. And that’s where the real power of Cloud is waiting to be unleashed!

Here is another story from In a recent survey, CEOs perceive that packaged applications are more reliable than Internal IT developed. And they don’t really care what platform/technology the apps are running on. All they need is business performance and SLAs.

In conclusion, Business desires for Solutions isolated from the complexities of Technology and Platforms. That leads to the need for more ‘abstraction’. Just like WebServices came few years ago and provided the much needed abstraction behind heterogenous platforms, Cloud Computing/SaaS is destined to make significant changes in the Technology industry.

In the context of Cloud computing and provisioning business services to end-consumers, Does the end-consumer really care whether it is serviced by Java or .NET platform?. Not really?. Do they care if it runs on Linux or Windows ? May not be. Would they be worried if it runs on Open Source or Commercial platforms?. Again, Not seriously. It’s the SLA and the integrity of Services that matter to the end-consumer.

This trend will influence the procurement/adoption/experimentation trends of Technologies and Open source frameworks within the walls of Enterprise IT. We may not see wide-spread forums / communication across Enterprise IT users in the long run, as it will get influenced and diffused by Service Providers.

It is the Service Providers who will majorly nurture and develop the platforms and Technologies and not necessarily Enterprise IT shops. That’s a significant shift in the ecosystem of Technology. We could expect umpteen number of small and medium service providers providing pointed solutions in niche industry segments. And it is the Service Providers who will contribute and shape the Technology / Infrastructure & Framework landscape. And Enterprise IT will be forced to provide more value towards real business solutions.

And I also foresee significant consolidation in the Platforms / Infrastructure space. Why do we need various kinds of application servers in the Cloud, while the end objective is driven by performance?

A new market is emerging where we will see hybrid tools and technologies that will enable Enterprise IT shops to manage their data centre operations as well as their Public Cloud operations together from a single window. Am sure IBM is working on such a ‘Hybrid Tivoli’ tools and systems. In fact, one of the interesting note that I read was IBM is working on some sort of ‘Cloudburst’ feature where the load from Internal data centre is dynamically distributed to public cloud and seamlessly serviced! Wow!.

As I wrote before, We are going to witness a highly decentralized, but centrally managed ecosystem for Enterprise IT.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Amazon Kindle: Next Application Platform?

Am not going to write about Kindle 2, the recent upgrade from Amazon for its Wireless Reading Device. Of course, there are lots of interesting elements - The new version is unbelievably thin and packs lots of interesting features like Text-to-Speech translation.

But, I am interested in exploring how Kindle could evolve in future?

Couple of interesting directions:
- Kindle application could be made available in range of mobile devices including iPhone. Amazon is already talking about this move.
- Book Reading to go multi-channel. One could start a book in mobile, continue in computer and finish it in Kindle.
- What would happen if Kindle provides an app store like iPhone? What kind of new applications could emerge? It could lead to interesting applications that will make Book Reading experience all the more interactive. [I would like to annotate the book pages with a stylus, like we used to underline sections on paper books J]. Someone said they would even like to sync their enterprise document management system with Kindle!. Innovative!
- Kindle for Schools? There could be possibilities of offering personalized experience for Students to take their text books on Kindle and associated applications.
- The last thing that I would want to see in Kindle is to evolve into a multi-tasking PDA device.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Google tries to enter your House!

Google has announced that it is developing a software utility called PowerMeter to track the energy usage at your home, right from your personalized iGoogle portal. The PowerMeter application can provide real-time, granular data on the energy usage. For example, some of the metrics that can be tracked could be - How much does it cost to leave your TV switched on all day? Which appliance in Home uses more power every month? How does your energy consumption compare to your neighbors?

I read from Wired that similar applications have been attempted in the past. But, the key difference is that Google has enough clout to work with the Hardware manufactures & the Government to make it happen. The Hardware manufacturers produce the ‘SmartMeter’ devices that can interact with Home appliances and wirelessly interact with Google data center. Government can help in standardizing those meter and data formats involved in communication. According to the US Government stimulus plan, 40 million homes are scheduled to get these SmartMeters over the next three years.

I see opportunities for Significant shifts in this initiative:

- This could be the beginning of ‘Internet of Things’ – a beginning where information is extracted from every single real-life object, transmitted and analyzed to produce actionable intelligence.
- This initiative is being implemented from So, I am not sure about Google’s business intentions here. But, if they do have, this could be the door-opener for new market altogether – a convergence of Google’s Information Technologies with Automation and Control systems in the Real-world.
- I wish Enterprise IT shops take a lesson from here - If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it – I wish a CIO/IT management dashboard that provides real-time information on budget/value/quality of IT spending!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Future is all about Fusion!

If you think we are not going to see anything innovative in 2009, you will be surprised!

Ford and Microsoft partners to deliver the most compelling In-car infotainment service. In the recent Consumer Electronics Event (CES 2009), Ford has demonstrated its future vision of its In-Car Infotainment Service - ‘SYNC’. Don’t miss to watch the video!

The Sync service has been in the market for quite sometime now and Ford plans to continuously improve the service in the new models coming in 2009 and 2010. The service was initially positioned as a competitor to GM’s OnStar. However, Sync Service has an edge over OnStar in terms of Technology partnership (Microsoft) and Voice-Reconition technology.

Ford-Microsoft partnership attempts to take the Human-Machine Interaction to the next level. One of the most interesting and geeky features which I liked in the vision is the feature of a ‘personal assistant’ avatar called ‘Eva’, who appears in the ‘cockpit’ of the car and converses with the Driver. Eva ‘understands’ your preferences and manages your address book/calendar and helps you to find news clips or restaurant bookings.

Apart from common mobile/media player functions, the service also provides Driver services like Vehicle health report/Diagnostics, Traffic/Directions and 911 Assistance.

Ford also partnering with Best Buy and its service arm Geek Squad to market and service the Sync compatible mobile phones / accessories.

Interestingly, the Sync service perfectly syncs with Microsoft Software+Services vision where an individual can seamlessly move between car, office and Home staying connected without interruptions.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who is Growing despite Recession?

It’s IBM. In the news article, IBM has found a formula for Growth – Even During Recession, the analyst writes that IBM has emerged as a resilient company with flawless execution and Strong Profits.

While the rival Tech companies such as SAP remain extremely cautious and conservative in their spending for this year, IBM has announced a strong outlook for the year 2009 financials.

Not to deny the fact that IBM also figures in the layoff bandwagon, I believe it’s relatively minimal when compared to its rivals’ numbers.

Some of the salient points that I like to draw from this story:
- IBM has built a Strong, highly diversified and integrated business model over the past years. This brings shared customers, positive impact of one business unit on the other / cross-selling & up-selling opportunities / tremendous amount of credibility built over long years / Continued Investment in Technology / Highest Patent Generator year-after-year.
- Significant investments into Emerging Markets to capture their local markets
- Focus on High-Value Chain Software/Service offerings that maintains huge profit margins
- Well-thought out acquisitions in the past like ILOG, Telelogic, Rational, Webify and the subsequent integration into IBM family of products.
- Fantastic Cash Flow of $7.9 billion, an invaluable defense in the time of recession
- Solid Roadmap for the core products. Interesting to see the outlook for the WAS products including the ‘Rainmaker’ technology.

So, Is it all hunky-dory? Not really. I have observed IBM being very slow in responding to new trends like web 2.0/Mashups / RIA or Cloud Computing. They do have offerings in those segments, but not necessarily leading the market in terms of innovation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tech Bits!

Each of the following bits deserve a separate post. So, Pls treat them as preview to my future posts.
- SAP is Timeless Software – SAP’s CTO Vishal Sikka writes that the company believes in incremental innovation and its NetWeaver product suit just follows the same philosophy. It promises its customers a seamless, incremental migration to the new platform without needing a radical transformation of the existing infrastructure.
He also states that SaaS paradigm is suitable only for pointed solutions and not a broader, end-to-end encompassing ecosystem based solutions. Sounds believable?

- I have written about the viability of internal clouds within the company’s own data center. And here is a company doing just that. The company, Cassatt, provides Cloud computing software for Data Centers. The software promises to make the data center efficient, Green and Agile. Sounds very interesting!. Companies which are skeptical about engaging the Internet clouds for security/integrity/SLA reasons have the option to try out and experiment in their own data centers.
You know what – The Company says, it may take another 15 years for companies to fully migrate into a Cloud platform. They believe whatever cloud software that we see in the market is just 1.0 and there is more work to do. As I have written before, the Chief Engineer of Cassatt writes that its all about the Architecture and ilities when it comes to Cloud computing. Couldn’t agree more!

- IBM Smart SOA – Statistics indicate that about 60% of SOA implementations done by IBM are at maturity level 1. And IBM aims to shift the focus of SOA programs to demonstrate business value. This move by IBM clearly indicates the change in the industry’s perspective of SOA programs and the rising demand for demonstrating value.

- I received an email carrying the subject line ‘Future of IT’ and I was curious to find out more. The white paper goes on to say that automation of IT processes is the Future of IT. The perspective is that IT management processes should be automated around ITIL/CMDB practices and the management/resources should be relieved to connect and engage with Business. All this, boils down to the question – ‘Do we need an ERP for IT?’

I strongly believe an ERP for IT will shift the focus of IT from inward to outward and the most important aspect - aligning with business.

- Palm has released its new version of Smartphone 'Pre' and Operating system. As one analyst writes, every other smartphone that gets introduced to the market of late, tries to outdo ‘iPhone’ obviously. And it only adds some more credibility to iPhone, that its is seen as the benchmark to evaluate any new phones coming to the market. Instead of adding features and trying to outdo iPhone, it would be interesting to see if the companies demonstrate the real value brought by the new product. One more phone in the Enterprise Mobility space?. We will have to wait and see.

Don’t Waste the Crisis!

Yes, Don’t Waste the Crisis. WhenI first heard this statement, I said 'Wow! What a perspective?'.

It is a question of whether we choose to participate in the recession or make the most of the recession. The one who sees this downturn as the opportunity will emerge stronger when the market starts to recover.

We had our CIO addressing the company yesterday. And this is the quote, he said, was given by a Wall Street Analyst in the Company’s Senior Leadership Meeting. Every company sees this recession as a litmus test for their management competency. The market is watching industry leaders on:

-How do you respond to this downturn?
-Are you able to sustain your growth rate despite the downturn?
-What is your strategy / approach to manage this recession?
-What are your core values?
-What are your strong competencies?
-How robust is your business model?

Remember, the market will have different set of questions during haydays.

What does it mean to IT?. IT is relieved to certain extent from the pressure of responding to growing market trends at least in medium term. Now, it’s the question of whether IT chooses to wait and watch and respond when the market picks up. Or, IT sees a tremendous opportunity in the period of least business events and makes an attempt to internal transformation.

For the past few weeks, I see lots and lots of people talking about Anne’s (Burton group analyst) comment on ‘SOA is Dead’. As someone said, these statements help to generate conversations and engage in a debate.

It’s like Wall Street Collapse. We went to the extent of calling the failure of Capitalism, forgetting that it’s the Failure of Capitalists. Sameway, I would say, it’s the failure of practitioners / Enterprise IT management folks to recognize the value of SOA and pilot it within the company and not the failure of SOA, the paradigm.

I have been participating in the forums of EA and SOA and people literally spend countless hours and efforts in Semantics and Definitions. What is EA and What is not EA?. Though am an Architect myself, I should admit that EAs are self-centered and more focused on roles/responsibilities and what they should do and What they should not do. I agree it is of paramount importance. It is important because we need to communicate to the stakeholders on what we do. However, I strongly feel we need to move beyond that.
We need to focus on ‘what problems do we solve?. How do we help?. Or more exactly – How can we be of immediate help to the company in these tough times?’ Again, We should be talking more about the practice and its and not just the practitioners.

Gartner finds that in 2009, about 50% of the EA efforts will be stopped due to ineffective results of those programs. David Linthicum, the famous SOA evangelist, once said, if your EA efforts are not effective, Stop it! Don’t do something if you don’t pursue it whole-heartedly.

While many of the pundits want us to believe that recession is the best opportunity to invest in innovative, small projects that would bring long-term benefits, it is hard to implement it. Because, for the simple reason that money is tight!.

Instead, Gartner says, EA office should ‘Stop the Projects’ if they don’t result in near-term business value! It’s a different perspective altogether! One wouldn't get credit for stopping something usually!. But, this is the time! :-)

Cost optimization is the need of the hour! Whoever does that will be Hero in the Company!