Wave goodbye

End of the road for googlewave

So – looks like end of the road for google Wave. Easy to knock google for this (and other initiatives that have not worked). Seemed like Google were in too much of a hurry to get the incomplete product out in the marketplace. Then seemed like they made some mistakes around security.

At the time I had a concern that in trying to develop a collaboration/ enhanced instant messaging et al tool they were going to build a monster. And I think that was a major part of the problem – user adoption failed because it was not clear which problem google wave was solving.

Anyway the technology is there for others to access and seek to incorporate into other products.

Built for the cloud or moving to the cloud

Are applications built for the cloud more likely to succees than those being migrated to the cloud?

Exciting times for CIOs and business executives – real options from both Microsoft and Google to support their information workers.

For those brought up on Microsoft, with what seems like unlimited (if somewhat daunting) functionality in the Office suite, it always seems that the Google Apps suite is ‘dumbed down’ – you are required to give up some functionality.   On the other hand it may seem like nearly everything you actually  need to do can be done in Google Apps – and there’s less to learn.

The cloud seems to have caught fire.  Microsoft has been pushing aggressively on its BPOS offering and the pricing has become a lot sharper.  Meanwhile Google has been busily beefing up its sales and support resources around Google Apps.

Either way both offerings have many attractions for the CIO – in terms of taking away headaches around upgrades, storage, support, etc.

And both offer lots of functionality in the collaboration type space – wikis, blogs, etc.

Side by side with this there are all the other players e.g. zoho with a very comprehensive offering for the information worker – also priced on a subscription basis.  And for project management basecamp seems to be getting a great deal of traction.  And one goes back to the previous thought – are some of these simpler, built for the cloud, product offerings easier to use, if somewhat ‘dumbed down’?

Interesting piece in Forbes re Google, ‘When Google runs your life’.  Seems to me that no more than Microsoft pushing wall-to-wall MS, Google is inevitably pushing google wall-to-wall.  Apologies for unfortunate use of outdated imagery – probably should be cloud-2-cloud.

I think much of the elegance of the web 2.0 applications has been their simplicity and ease of use.  That has driven initial uptake. Products such as googlewave, in trying to deliver a very rich solution, risk contradicting some of this.  There are similar risks in any vendor looking to achieve cloud-2-cloud dominance.

Seems to me that what the internet and the cloud  should be offering – as they evolve – are  easier and more effective ways to access resources (people, knowledge) – both inside and outside the organisation in which you work/ study/ volunteer.  Cloud based computing is part of this.  I think as such the winning solutions may be ones built from scratch for the cloud, expecting to coexist in the cloud, not expecting to dominate.

What does the cloud hold for traditional ERP vendors?

Will cloud computing turn ERP on its head?

Is it possible that the traditional ERP vendors may lose their dominant positions in the mid and large size enterprises because of cloud computing and what it enables – notwithstanding their own efforts to exploit the cloud.

Seems to me that the cloud enables business managers to demand a different experience of implementing information solutions to support their businesses.  There is an emerging demand for simpler, faster, cheaper implementations – potentially not built on one integrated solution from one ERP vendor.  And this may work well for the implementation partners also.  Ultimately they may be required to work off a reduced margin – but this may be achieved for significantly reduced investment and reduced risk of failure.

Excellent piece recently in CIO dealing with the future of ERP.  The piece does not purport to have all the answers – but certainly speaks to the challenges being faced by traditional vendors and the opportunities for those with solutions built for the cloud.

Making Dublin a smart city

Interesting piece in Fortune

San Francisco gets smart with green technology

…in the context of Ireland and its drive for a smart economy and knowledge society.

As I stand at bus stops wondering when the next bus is due and I think about the technology which is so easily available I wonder why we are not moving forward faster e.g. integrated ticketing?

Dublin needs to be a smart city.  Press on asap.  Food for thought in this article.

Irish government to appoint a CTO?

So the government published its paper: Knowledge Society Strategy: Technology Actions to Support the Smart Economy.

There is already plenty of comment – on twitter, in the blogs, on the news and there will be more over the next few days.  Comments ranging from ‘a lot of waffle’, ‘telling us what we already know’, ‘where’s the meat?’, etc.  But buried in the report are enough reference points to show where we’ve been making progress and where we’ve been falling behind.

When I read Friedman’s ‘The world is flat’, listing his concerns about the state of education, engineering in the US, I felt he could have been writing about Ireland.  Ironically he references Ireland as a country pulling itself up and leveraging the flatness of the world.  However the shortage of maths proficient secondary school leavers is a major concern and cannot be fixed over night.

The topics discussed in the paper are very worthy of attention – and do represent opportunities for Ireland Inc e.g. cloud, green data centres, networking.  Delighted to see reference to semantic web – not really that surprising after €25m of government investment.

I just picked out one small detail from the report (p45):

The Government should appoint a high level CTO with the authority to drive cultural change across the many departments and agencies.

I have commented previously on such appointments in the US – within the Obama administration.  I would strongly support such an initiative – though she/he will need plenty of support from Mssrs. Ryan and Lenihan.

What about those not using social networking?

Twice today I was asked by people who are infrequent or non users of social networking solutions (and blogs) – how do you avoid leaving the non users out?  Or, when you are looking at a restaurant recommendation ot a wine recommendation – how valuable is the recommendation, given it is only based on information supplied by social network users, who may or may not be the best judge of the specific appeal of a restaurant or a bottle of wine for me?

If there are large groups of people who do not participate in social networking what is the impact for me, as a social networker and for them as non users?  Is a new elite being formed?  Even if people arecurrently  joining networks such as facebook in their millions, what about all of those users who cease to use the application some time after their initial registration?

Perhaps it’s a little (more than a little) like people choosing not to use a phone or not to use a mobile phone.  They are being left out, but may feel that overall quality of life is improved (or at least maintained) by not participating in a technology enabled, driven, environment.  And that environment is worse off for their non participation.

I tend to believe that social networking (when enabled by technologies/ standards such as SIOC) will prove to be a medium of communication and/or collaboration that people, for the most part, will need to join.  As the networks begin to work together and integrate the case fo participation will become greater.

It’s not all positive on the social networking side – lots of poor quality communication/ idea sharing/ workload sharing.   But grow it will – and opting out will gradually become less of an option for our citizens.

Irish firm delivering cloud based accounting solutions

Great report in the Irish Times today of Tony Connolly’s success in Australia in conjunction with Deloittes.  This is the type of entrepreneur activity which can get this country back on its feet.  Well done Tony!

Moving on from traditional thinking

I guess it’s challenging for all of us who have worked for the last 25 years.  In my final year in Trinity College Dublin I was writing Assembler for the Motorola 68000 chip.  The Mac was about to burst on the scene.  Since then I have worked in a Professional Service Firm, my own IT consulting business and with a number of start up businesses.

Many of us have come to think of the business entity as the key business unit – be it a company, a group of companies, a sole trader, a partnership.  And businesses do business with other businesses – ordering, buying, selling, etc.  And each business operates to a set of standards – standards to meet their own expectations and those of their customers.  Many of the standards are driven, underpinned or enforced by external agencies e.g. State, Professional bodies, Insurerers, regulators.

The web has had all sorts of impacts on business – the emergence of online B2B abd B2C, major reengineering of processes and business themselves, globalisation on a par not expected.

And now the web is throwing new opportunities and challenges at all of us.  In fact one can only wonder if we had had this web 10 years ago what types of businesses would have been built over the last 10 years?  Which businesses would never have existed?

Even back in 1984 in TCD we were collaborating – as we worked in a group of three students to design our basic computer.  We also collaborated on the cricket field as we set traps for opposition batsmen.  And we collaborated in preparing for exams – through sharing of lecture notes, etc.

But what we are witnessing now is a series of developments – Social networking, Semantic web, the cloud – which when combined mean that those who do not collaborate risk being eliminated.  We have often discussed the importance of knowledge management within the organisation – even between partner organisations.  However the tools beginning to emerge now promise to facilitate collaboration and knowledge management on a scale previously unimagined – right across the globe, the web and time.  ultimately traditional business practices and structures must be transformed to enable society to benefit from what’s beginning to happen.

McKinsey – cold shower for the cloud

McKinsey’s report of 15th April re cloud computing seems to be pointing out a few home truths re costs of cloud computing.  In fairness there are now so many variations in cloud computing (and more to come) that generalisations become a little pointless.  The Techcrunch review of the McKinsey report makes for interesting reading.

Seems to me that variants of the cloud have real appeal for smaller businesses, businesses not sure how much processing power they require for their web facing presences and business experimenting with new customer facing applications.  Alos, wothout doubt, the ability to run ‘private clouds’ will have its application.

Good positive Microsoft press on web services

Would recommend trying out the mesh (www.mesh.com).

Very positive review of 5 recent offerings from Microsoft.

I have used all 5 and found them effective and easy to use.

Would recommend trying out the mesh (www.mesh.com).  Useful for those of us who work across many PC’s, share files with others and have found holding the data in the cloud makes sense.