Bing(o) or B(or)ing? 30 Jul 2009Posted by Tony Law in Consumerization, Impact of IT, ITasITis, Tech Watch, Technorati.
Tags: Bing, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!
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Lots of developments recently for Microsoft-watchers to get their teeth into. I’ve not picked up the individual announcements here, because lots of other people do it; but it’s time for a round up.
So the most recent announcement is Microsoft’s at-long-last deal with Yahoo! which will move Microsoft’s Bing search technology into Yahoo’s space. Subject to regulatory approval it might go live next year.
Well I haven’t seriously tried Bing, so this isn’t a technical evaluation. But for a business analysis of the potential impact of the deal (or lack of it), there’s an interesting discussion on Knowledge@Wharton. In brief, they suggest, the real target of Bing wasn’t Google but precisely to achieve the kind of deal now done with Yahoo. And that the impact on market share will be negligible despite the marketing deals. People like Google. And perhaps that the smaller deal will “invite less anti-trust scrutiny” than last year’s proposal to swallow Yahoo entire.
There’s a joint website called “Choice. Value. Innovation”, set up as if it were a fully fledged independent company with “Investor Relations” and “Press Room”. Draw your own conclusions.
What else? BOPS of course; Microsoft’s Business Online Productivity Suite. The “Standard” package capitalises on existing brands (or tweaks them to work outside the office perimeter): Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Office Communications Online.
So BOPS It doesn’t occupy the same space as Google Docs or other offerings like ThinkFree (who I visited with a study tour to Silicon Valley in 2006 and, I must admit, didn’t think they’d still be here by now). It does overlap Google Wave, which I reviewed recently. Gizmodo reports that Office 2010 Web apps will be free; Office Live, Windows Live and Azure exist. Either we can believe that Microsoft is still playing catch-up, when there’s so much technology already out there that’s integrated and works; or we can see the pattern of a lot of pieces about to come together and create something really powerful
Microsoft still owns the business IT mindset. Gartner quote a case study with a headlinecollaboration cost reduction of 20% So what do you think?
• Microsoft-Yahoo a Yawn for Google, Knowledge@Wharton, 29 Jul 2009
• Microsoft, Yahoo! Change Search Landscape, Microsoft Press Pass, 29 Jul 2009, featuring videos from both Ballmer of Microsoft and Bartz of Yahoo!
• Choice, Value. Innovation.
• Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, Microsoft
• Move to Microsoft BPOS Cuts Collaboration Costs by 20%, Gartner, 9 Jul 2009 (client access only to full document)
• Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps Will Be Free; Testing Starts Today, Gizmodo, 13 Jul 2009
• Microsoft Windows Live
• Microsoft Office Live and Office Live Small Business Edition
• Microsoft Windows Azure
Gartner Blogs directory improved 15 Jul 2009Posted by Tony Law in Insight services, ITasITis, Managing IT, Technorati.
Tags: Analyst blogs, blogs, directory, Gartner
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I’ve finally implemented a long-planned improvement to the InformationSpan directory of Gartner analyst blogs. Actually, two improvements.
The first sounds simple but proved remarkably difficult to achieve. There are a small handful of Gartner bloggers who are not listed in Gartner’s own online directory of analysts. They are people like my friend Val Sribar, who are senior members of Gartner’s research management team and not “analysts” in the regular sense of the word. Or they might be new arrivals, who haven’t made it into Gartner’s online list yet.
Up to now, these individuals have had special mention at the foot of the “by name” page, and haven’t appeared in the directory of coverage areas at all. Well, that’s changed. They are now fully integrated into the main lists, with a neat little dagger indicating their status.
The second enhancement sounds complex but was much easier. The index of blogs by coverage area has now been split into three sections: Technical coverage (the part of Gartner that most of us look at); Industry verticals (the sectors for which Gartner has a focussed specific advisory service); and Management focus (which at the moment includes two areas: Gartner for Business Leaders, and the Small/Midsize Enterprise IT service). This split doesn’t exactly match Gartner’s own, but it makes sense to me. The three sections are still on the same page; just page down.
Also there are a small number of new blogs highlighted since the last update. The number of analysts blogging has pretty much reached its plateau, I think. I wonder if the joining rate permonth over the last couple of years would plot into a hype cycle shape?
Why not have a look at our Blog Index.
PS – for the technically minded, the implementation uses some arcane Excel coding to sort out the information into the order wanted. The new code vividly exemplifies Niklaus Wirth’s statement: there is no problem in computing that can’t be solved by adding another layer of indirection. Two layers, sometimes, here!
Chrome, Microsoft and Linux 9 Jul 2009Posted by Tony Law in Consumerization, Impact of IT, ITasITis, Tech Watch, Technorati.
Tags: browser, Chrome, Google
So Google’s Chrome OS is finally seeing the light of day, with the pitch that it’s a lightweight software base designed to get people up and active on the web easily. A few comments.
First: it’s new in the sense that Mac OS X was new; it’s built on Unix – Linux this time (ok I do know the difference) instead of BSD, but the principle is the same.
Second: maybe this explains why the Chrome browser hasn’t made it to the Mac market. Seems like the browser was just the pilot for this larger project, to carry the fight to Microsoft.
Third: interestingly, in my newspaper (The Guardian), the Chrome OS announcement makes it into the main news pages but the technology section, in the print edition, carries two other apparently unconnected articles. The combination is interesting. One is a long interview with Google’s Marissa Mayer about the future of search which, Mayer suggests, is tied up with real-time information (and that means Twitter). The other is a Victor Keegan Opinion column discussing why Asus dropped Linux as its netbook platform in favour of Windows and a string of non-free services. Keegan, though, hasn’t caught up on the Chrome OS announcement. It would be interesting to know what he thinks.
Oh, and hidden in the Mayer interview is the interesting snippet that Google has been conducting research on which shade of blue for a link is most likely to encourage a user to click through. More blue is better than more green, apparently. I must check my website!
• Introducing the Google Chrome OS, Official Google Blog, 7 Jul 2009
• Google targets Microsoft with new operating system, Guardian, 8 Jul 2009 (print edition 9th July) – it’s worth doing a search on the Guardian website for “Chrome OS” as there are several other articles
• Did Microsoft force Asus to axe Linux?, Victor Keegan, Guardian, 8 Jul 2009 (print edition 9th July)
Tags: analysts, how to, Magic Quadrant, Wave
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Mike Rasmussen has blogged a critique of Forrester’s recent Wave on Global Risk and Compliance, in a piece which deserves an audience outside the GRC community.
Mike is the doyen of GRC analysts and, in his time at Forrester, authored two previous versions of this Wave. He’s quite explicitly not getting at the authors of the new update; it’s the process that’s at issue. And the comments are well worth reading if you use any Wave, Magic Quadrant, or similar tool to help your purchasing decisions. Especially if your management board won’t approve a purchase unless these tools “endorse” the choice.
Mike has two criticisms. One of them isn’t a surprise, but it’s worth a reminder. The picture presented in a point-of-time report is, almost by definition, out of date before it’s published. Vendors don’t stand still while a report’s being researched. Indeed, some vendors opt out of supporting an evaluation because they’re close to a new release and don’t want to be judged on the old one.
InformationSpan has a similar issue: if you download our free report on insight service coverage for BI, you’ll find that its assessment of Forrester’s coverage is significantly out of date. It was written last November, and they’ve put out a lot of new coverage this year.
But secondly, Mike comments that the assessment criteria for the GRC Wave haven’t been updated while the discipline of GRC has moved on substantially. Analysis needs to recognise this.
These are process questions. The first one reflects the length of the evaluation process; things go out of date while being evaluated, and vendors sometimes decline to commit the resources. Mike asks whether this can be streamlined.
But the second question reflects the fact that the process was designed for systems delivered into a relatively mature marketplace, where the underlying concepts being modelled in software (for example) aren’t changing greatly.
GRC in the enterprise isn’t primarily about tools: it’s about management discipline and process. Tools simply support the process; tool capabilities develop rapidly as the discipline itself develops. And there are other areas like this.
For example, there’s an emergent unified approach to change management, configuration control and release management (CCRM) – I attended a workshop about this recently. Or there’s architecture, needing new approaches to integrate the benefits of cloud services securely into the enterprise while the first wave of architecture repositories and other tools are still evolving. No doubt you can identify other examples.
This isn’t about the pace of change. It’s whether a process implicitly predicated on a stable environment can cope with changes which are about much more than new technical ways of doing essentially the same thing.
So what’s the way forward? More than Mike suggests, I think. The key must be to separate the market snapshot from the analysis report. A vendor’s vision or ability to deliver don’t change over the timescale of report writing – nor with the actual issue of a new release, though the market’s reaction to it may be significant. So here’s my suggestion.
First: let the analysts get behind the versions to give a well researched, more stable view of the vendors and their contributions in a particular sector. Detach this from the assessment of current releases: they are data for the assessment, in this understanding, but not the core of it. Gartner’s MarketScope, an alternative to their better known Magic Quadrant, targets this: their aim is to provide “an overall market rating that indicates the strength and potential for the market in general. This is particularly important in emerging markets, when … it is difficult to assess the long-term viability or evolution of offerings. In mature markets, MarketScopes provide insight about the ongoing value of products and services“.
And second: make the process continuous, rather than point-in-time. Then it can respond continually not just to new products but to new assessment criteria as the underlying paradigms change. If new tools were continually tested, and the results added to the database, a Wave or MQ could be dynamically delivered from the most current data. I don’t think anyone does this. Tell me if you know different!
It’s a step beyond what Mike’s asking for: not to streamline the process, but to change it.
So read Mike’s comments, and apply them to your own specialism. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of Waves and MQs as they currently exist. Comment back to me here – does anyone know of an assessment tool which is already dynamic in this way? And always remember, when you’re using any of these analyst tools, that they provide insight - not ready-made decisions!
• The Forrester GRC ?Ripple? … , Corporate Integrity (Mike Rasmussen), 2 July 2009
• Coverage report: Business Intelligence, InformationSpan, Nov 2008 (free download from this page)
• The Forrester Wave
• Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes: How Gartner Evaluates Vendors Within a Market, Gartner, Jan 2008 (this document appears to be openly available)