Thursday, 20 March 2008

Another software vs service battle line

The end of software… by ZDNet's Dennis Howlett --

…as you know it. Right now I’m falling over startup vendors vying for attention in the so-called ’social software’ space. The fact enterprise people hate the term doesn’t seem to bother those who are bypassing IT as they sell into the marketing departments of companies at departmental budget prices. But there is a battle brewing [...]

Interesting article, with good research links. The only aspect I'd question/add is the typical decision context of an IT manager. They are not as well-informed about the free-range end of the software market because a) they don't have time/budget to research every blossoming software phenomenon and b) a significant chunk of their external focus is on beating vendors off, rather than trying to explore more. So, they typically depend on their existing vendors to provide 'free insights' or 'briefings' on the latest software ideas. These are, of course, skewed by the vendors' own marketing filters. When IT managers do try to broaden the discussion, they are met by a similar response to the Microsoft guy's reply in the article: ours is better for your situation (translation: we own you, so don't even think about straying or we will give you an integration nightmare, and you'll have to explain to your boss how you messed up that sophisticated social networking project)

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Interesting quote from a newsletter:-

The other day,'s editor had lunch with a technology
company CEO. He came away from the meal with three things: the
bill, a bloated, gassy feeling in his stomach and an intriguing
perspective on the vocational resilience of the modern CIO.

Essentially, the crux of the pinot noir-fuelled argument is that
of all the senior managers in a business, the CIO is the least
likely to get the sack (see:

The argument goes thus: the role and responsibilities of the CIO
and the IT department are so Byzantine it's hard for the rest of
the business to work out whether the CIO is actually doing a
good or bad job - or indeed anything at all. Brilliant.

Not convinced? Consider this: the sales director can be judged
on whether that team has sold enough widgets and whether his/her
expenses claim is marginally less than the GDP of Ecuador.

The finance director can be judged on whether the figures add
up. Easy. Dull bunch accountants but very accountable.

HR directors can be judged on the sheer volume of pointless,
soul-draining forms and procedures they manage to foist upon
company staff. By the way, sacking your HR director isn't that
difficult, you just need to be SMART about it.

However, CIOs are wise and wizened corporate arachnids, hidden
in dense webs of jargon and service level agreements, tangles of
multi-coloured cables and stuttering, blinking lights that the
rest of the business simply can't comprehend. Or, at the very
least, can't be bothered to try and comprehend.

So given the existence of the bullet-proof CIO, it's no wonder
that insanely tech-savvy kids are having problems getting jobs
in IT these days.

After all, there's a serious log-jam of lifers in the system
already (see:

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Software: product or service?

I've always maintained that software is a service, and not a product. After all, the only raw material is man/brain power. The reason it has traditionally been sold as a product is because producers could get away with it: dollops of functionality released periodically as new products are a more secure revenue stream than the perpetual service update. The article below blends Software as a Service (SaaS) into the traditional software stack - quite nicely, I think.

SaaS and the global virtual stack by ZDNet's Phil Wainewright -- SaaS isn't just a deployment option. It's part of a bigger picture that will obsolete conventionally licensed packaged business applications and change the entire framework of how businesses consume computing. Here's what that bigger picture looks like.