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!