Friday, December 27, 2013

IT and the Communication Industry

After lecturing on SOA concepts, Architecture and Technology, I present Case Studies. While presenting Case Studies, I ask my students: "Why many Case Studies and Success Stories are from the Telco industry?" Usually they do not provide a good answer to the good question.

It is a good question because the answer is based upon Business dimension, Technology dimension and the relationship between the two dimensions. 

Why SOA implementation is necessary for Traditional Telco Service Companies?
For many years, Traditional Telco companies revenues were based upon telephone calls billing.
In USA Bell Labs was split to Baby Bells. In other countries these companies were Monopolies or Duopolies.  
Due to lack of competition, their revenues were high.

When Voice over IP matured they found a lot cheaper competition such as Skype

When someone traveled to other countries, he called his family in his home country. The Telco service providers earned money.

However, when I paid a visit to Bhutan two years ago, I could find free Internet services in almost every hotel or guest house. I used Skype. I could talk to my friends and relatives as much as I liked to. I paid nothing to a Telco Service provider
The Computer Camera enables another type of data classical phone calls were not able to provide: I could see my friends and relatives during our phone calls. 

Bhutan is just an example of Developing Country. You may be sure that me and anybody else could use free Skype calls from Developed Countries.

The traditional Telco Companies had to reinvent themselves or perish. 
They developed new Business Model based on new services e.g. Content Services, Internet Infrastructure Services etc. 

As Far as Information Technology is concerned, frequent and major changes were required in order to support the new Business model and the New Business Services. 

Agility or ease of Change is SOA's major Value Proposition. The Traditional Telco Services providers transformed their IT systems to Service Oriented Architecture based systems in order to support the IT Systems changes.  

SOA and Cellular Phone Service Companies
The emergence of Cellular Phones is another threat to the Traditional Telco model, which was not mentioned in the previous paragraph.

I would like to describe the beginning of my SOA lectures, prior to discussing why there are many successful Cellular Phone companies SOA Initiatives.  

I start my lecture by describing two new banks. I describe a very simple Business Plan and the Information technology effort supporting it.

The first imaginary bank, named T-Bank (T stands for Traditional) built Legacy Silo based systems. The students easily find and understand the disadvantages of that approach.

S-Bank(S stands for Service Oriented Architecture)imaginary bank as well,  built a pure Service Oriented Architecture and the systems building blocks are Services. The students easily find and understand the advantages of this approach. It is  relatively simple and easy to  build S-bank systems

The third imaginary bank is R-Bank (R stands for Real). It is a "T-Bank" which was merged with another "T-Bank".
Moving from large Silo systems architecture to SOA based Architecture is a long, complicated and expensive journey. 

Let us go back to the Cellular services companies. 
Which type of bank resembling them? These companies are new companies, therefore most of their systems are modern. They have only few Legacy Silo Systems. They resemble S-Bank.

Most of the Traditional Telco Companies as well as most Banks, Insurance Companies, Governmental Agencies and Utilities companies resemble R-Bank.

It is easier for Cellular Services Companies to transform their architecture to SOA, therefore SOA Initiative's success stories of companies of this vertical are common. 

New Challanges to Cellular Services Companies
Similar to the need of Trditional Telco Companies to reinvent themselves a decade ago, Cellular Services Companies need to change their Business model.  
Revenues from Cellular Phone calls and SMS messages are lower than few years ago.

Services like downloading a Ringtone you paid for are obsolete in Smartphones.

Regulations and Competition are factors lowering income from Phone Calls and other services.

Mobile Apps make some paid services unnecessary. 
WhatsApp is an example of an aplication replacing SMS, without any revenews to the Mobile Services provider.
Infrastucture costs are high. 

The Mobile Services Companies are looking for new revenews sources e.g. Financial services, Content Services and even Cloud Computing Services.

The lucky providers have solid SOA and BPM implementations, which facilitate the major IT systems changes supporting the assimilation of new Business Lines. 

Final Notes
SOA provides the basis for Business Agility. Business and IT Agility is a must for Traditional Telco companies, as well as new Telco companies, which have no choice but to reinvent themselves. 

I read about financial difficulties of Post companies.
Increased usage of e-mail, SMS as well as other technologies, reduce the number of letters and reduce the revenews. Soon they will have to reinvent themselves like the Traditional Telco services providers and the Mobile services providers.
  



  


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recession kills! Literally!

Few months ago I wrote a post titled: 

Information Technology: Are you out of business if your age is above 50?


If you will read a post in Koshka's Blog titled:  
Recession kills! Literally! , you may find that in some cases the result of Ageism could be more fatal than unemployment.

N.B
50 is just a number describing the age of people, who are no longer young. In this tragic case, as well in other Ageism based unemployment, it is above 40 and not above 50. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Customers Typology: The Social



In previous posts I described Customers Types such as: The Customer Who Knows Everything, The Self-Deprecating, The Captive, The Paralyzed AnalyzerThe Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
In this post I am going to describe The Social Customer.

The Social Customer is not necessarily a heavy user of Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. He is deeply involved in the Professional Community. 
He knows exactly what his colleagues are doing. 
His decisions are based on popularity: He will do exactly what the majority of his Professional Community members do.

His decision is based on localization of the saying: "One Billion Chinese People Can't be Wrong".

For example, if he will have to select a Software Product, he will select the one which the biggest number of organizations decided to buy and implement.

What are the advantages of Social Customer Approach?

1. Sometimes not only billion Chinese are not wrong. Million Israelis or ten millions Americans can also make the right decision.

The fact that many people chose a Product or a pattern or a methodology does not exclude the possibility that it is a good product or a good approach. Usually, this type of decision is a reasonable decision. 

2. Vendors and Suppliers tend to support frequently used Products or Services
For example, a large number of Software Product users could justify better Vendor's support.

3. Large Users Community
You can learn from other users, who implemented the Product or Service before you.
You can also learn from others who faced the same issues or problems you are facing right now.
You may need to ask them or you may be lucky and one of them has published his insights.

4. Skills Availability 
Some years ago I advices an enterprise to migrate from Ingress database to Oracle database.
Skills availability was a major reason for my recommendation.

I used informal method for convincing the client.
One of my friends was the owner of IT Recruiting company.
I asked him how many Oracle DBAs and how many Ingress DBAs are included in his database. 
The answer was hundreds of Oracle DBAs and not even single Ingress DBA.

The conclusion is obvious: when you hire so called Ingress DBA, you actually hire an Oracle DBA you should  train to be an Ingress DBA.

5. Information Availability
If a product is frequently used, there is more available information about it (In addition to knowledgeable people you may talk to): Books, Web Pages, Forums, Articles etc.    

 
The Down Side of Social Customer Approach
The following bullets describe the Down Side of this approach:

1. The Majority can be Wrong
As a Psychology student, about 40 years ago, I learned about Asch Conformity experiment.
Solomon Asch found that most experiment participants answers were similar to confederates answers (the confederates' answers were decided prior to the experiment).

Some confederates' answers were obviously wrong answers. For example, if the confederates said that line A's length in the following illustration is equal to line B's length, most of the experiment participants agreed.     

Image source: Wikipedia

I am able to describe from my personal experience, many Information Technology decisions resembling wrong responses by Asch Conformity experiment participants.  

I will depict a strategic Software Product selection example.
The final accord was a brave CIO admitting his mistake in a presentation to hundreds of conference participants. 

By choosing a wrong product, that at least half of the Large Enterprises in my country had selected and implemented, his company had lost few years and at least hundreds of thousands USDs.

His company was not the only company losing Time and Money. 
The only difference was that he admitted it publicly and the others did not.  

I recommended to all my Enterprise Customers to avoid of using that Software Product for Large Systems or other systems used by more than 100 users.
Those Customers who accepted my advice, did not have to lose Time and Money by choosing the wrong product others selected.

The first warning sign was a discussion with an expert, who pay a work visit to many American sites. His conclusion was: "The Product is installed in most enterprises, but seldom used in production".

I discovered that common Analysts' opinion was that the product is not Scalable.

The final stamp was an IDC report I read.
That report was the only American Analyst's Report I have ever read, stating that Sales people of a company are cheating (by selling the product as a product suitable for large Applications).

IDC states it behalf a Consultant, but presented him as one of the best consultants for this topic. It was not difficult to conclude that IDC's Analyst view is similar to the Consultant's view.

2. Not all Organizations were Created Equal
An Enterprise's characteristics may differ from the typical Enterprise's characteristics, therefore the common approach and a Commonly successfully used Product could be non-optimal or even wrong solution for it, while addressing properly many other Enterprises' needs.

3. Local Biases
Some products are frequently used in one country, but seldom used in other countries. It could be an inadequate selection for Long Term. The Global Vendor may stop Development and may stop Product Support as well.

A typical example is a Software Product that DEC sold to one of my customers many years ago.
DEC Israel was a lot better company than its Mother Company. The result was a biased market towards its products: a high percentage of Enterprises in Israel selected and implemented its products. However,the Global Market Share of many DEC products was low. The Software Product I am writing about was one of the low Global Market Share products. 

As the domain of that product was outside my expertise, I said nothing about that product. However, the Customer asked for my opinion. 

I joined a group of the Customer's employees meeting a Gartner's Analyst. I know that she (the Analyst) was an excellent analyst who had a deep understanding and vast of knowledge in this domain. 

I adopted her opinion to avoid of using the Software Product. However, despite of her recommendation, the Customer decision did not change.

Few months later a Meta Group's Analyst presented. His Analysis was different from the Gartner Analyst's Analysis. Never the less, he also recommended to avoid of using that Software Product.
I recommended to my customer to reconsider his decision and to conform to the Analysts' opinion.

The Customer wasted three years and hundreds of thousands USDs by implementing the product. He was obliged to migrate to another product when DEC stopped supporting the product.

The Consultant and the Social Customer
The Consultant may face two different conditions: The Easy and The difficult.

The Easy
The Social decision was appropriate for the Customer's Enterprise. In that case it will be easy to convince the Customer to select the same Product, Service or Solution.

Sometimes the Consultant would have to convince the Customer to implement the solution differently and not like the majority of his colleagues. 

The Difficult 
When the Social decision i.e. the frequent decision, is not the right decision for the Customer's Enterprise (or it is not the optimal decision for that Enterprise), it will be extremely difficult to convince him to select another solution.

The way to convince him may differ from customer to customer. The best way to convince him is by presenting Case Studies.

The case Studies are divided to three categories:

1. Successful Implementations of the solution recommend by The Consultant

2. Selected the solution his colleagues selected and failed.  

3. His friends and colleagues, who selected the frequently selected solution by his community and failed 

I marked bullet 3 in red because these  Case Studies are usually the most effective.
Unlike the Case Studies of bullet number 2, which could relate to Enterprises in far countries, these failures are Visible and Accessible.








Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vendors Survival: Will Facebook Survive Until 2023?

I  wrote many posts about Vendors Survival. In most cases it is more interesting to write about leading vendors and not about Vendors that for surely will not Survive. 
So I wrote about: Apple, Google, Microsoft, HP, EMC, Software AG, Nokia etc. 

All these companies are vulnerable, so their is probability that they will not survive in 2023 (Nokia will not Survive). 

I think that the probability is low (except Nokia). However, it is higher then zero and the probability that one company will survive, could differ from the probability that another company will survive.

I thought of writing about Facebook as well. I did not do it till now due to lack of knowledge about the company and lack of information about the Company's Culture.

Today I read an article by Vivek Badhwa. Its title is: Facebook is Doomed.
Badhwa was asked to write an article comparing Google and Facebook.  
His conclusion is that Facebook is doomed unless it will acquire another company that will transform its Business.

Badhwa admires Google, so take care before accepting his conclusions about it.
As far as Facebook is concerned, I agree with two points he made about Facebook (I rephrased them):

1.Facebook entire Business depends on one Business Line: Electronic Social Network.

2. Lack of Inventions. 

I doubt if his comparison of Microsoft's users feelings and Facebook's user feelings  "Facebook users dislike Facebook for  the same reasons", could be a reason for the disappearance of Facebook.

I do think that a lack of appropriate Revenues Model could be a threat.  

On the one hand Facebook is very popular and its usage is by a new language shortened and simple: Like Share etc. 

On the other hand there are many Use Cases such as: sharing personal experience, sharing photos, sharing interesting articles, Business usage for advertisement, Birthday greetings, Events, Games.

The problem is that there is too much of all of them.
You can not seperate different types of information by structured easy to use tool.

When thinking of the future of Facebook you should remeber two names:

Second Life and Virtual Worlds
The popularity and the buzzword ended suddenly due to lack of Business need. 

Myspace
Myspace, the leading Social Networking Service from 2003 to 2005, refused to buy facebook for 75 million USSds and gradually declined. 

Their fate could be Facebook's fate in 10 years, if nothing new will be invented by Facebook.




Monday, September 16, 2013

Will Shadow IT fill the Business-IT Gap or widen it?

Shadow IT is growing and growing. In this post I explain what Shadow IT is and how it is related to the Business-IT Gap. 

What is Shadow IT?
Shadow IT is Information Technology Applications, Systems and Infrastructure, which are developed and/or used without decisions and without approval of the Enterprise Management Team and the CIO
Sometimes the Enterprise Management don't even know that these "Shadows" are executed as part of the Enterprise Information Technology.

Shadow IT Trends and Directions
Shadow IT is almost as old as Information Technology. When I worked on Y2K Bug, IT assets mapping was a necessary step. 

We discovered Shadow IT applications such as Microsoft Excel applications, Reports using orphan tools (The company which built the tool was out of Business), Microsoft Access Applications and Data (The End User who developed them was no longer an employee of that Enterprise) etc. 

If you read Alex Salazar's article: A little Little Rebellion is a good thing: The Rise of Shadow IT, you will probably discover a different Shadow IT in 2013.
In addition to Shadow IT applications similar to those we discovered 15 years ago, you may discover another type of Shadow IT: Open Source tools and Applications build by these tools, e.g. MYSQL Database.  

Read other articles, e.g.  Julia King's article: The upside of Shadow IT and you will discover a third type of Shadow IT: SaaS and other Cloud Computing  services. 

It should be noted that Open Source is Shadow IT, if and only if, Developers or other IT Savvy non-IT employees downloaded the software and used it without any Governance or Control by the CIO and/or the Upper Management.

The same conclusion is applicable to SaaS and other Cloud Computing Software and Hardware.

The Bottom Line: Shadow IT will continue to grow due to new types of Shadow IT Applications, Infrastructure and Hardware

Are all Shadow IT components created equal?
There is a huge difference between Open Source Shadow IT and SaaS Shadow IT.

Both are stimulated by low costs. You may bypass organizational procedures in case of low or no costs. Such procedures includes formal approval, allocating and planning budget and payments. 

In the end of the day, the enterprise will find that there are no free lunches: you may need to pay for supporting your Open Source and surely when your SaaS implementation will be in Production stage, you will have to pay to the vendor a lot more than in the Pilot (In many cases you will pay less than others will be pay for On Premise products). However, that will be long time after the Shadow IT application was built and used.  

The main difference between Open Source Shadow and SaaS Shadow is the decision maker

The decision maker in Open Source Shadow is usually a junior IT employee who downloaded and used the software. In other cases it may be a junior IT Savvy Business User.

As far as SaaS Shadow is concerned, the decision maker is usually a Manager In a Business department.
The SaaS Shadow is more related to the Business-It Gap than the Open Source Shadow IT

The Business-IT Gap
This blog title: Filling the Gaps, implies that Business-IT Gap is a main topic. The notion is that decent SOA implementation should narrow that gap. 

I discussed in previous posts other aspects of Business and IT Gap and Business and IT Alignment.
For example, Will Business and IT Aligned? , STKI Summit 2011 - SOA Perspective: Business Services or only Integration?  Mind the Gap not the Name  and BPM Market Growing Rapidly but still Maturing and Changing.

The roots of the gap is a difference between Business viewpoint of IT and how IT perceives its interactions with the Business.

Business point of view is that IT Architectures, procedures and Systems are a barrier to an efficient and Agile Business. However, it is essential for operating the Business. In summary; You can't with IT and you can't without it.

IT managers and workers tend to exaggerate their Business contribution: If anything is wrong it is the Business Departments procedures and lack of understanding of Technologies.   

Shadow IT and The Business-IT Gap
The down side of Shadow IT is obvious. However, according to Julia King's article, published by ComputerWorld, possible benefits should not ignored. 

Another question discussed in King's article is: What should the CIO do about Shadow IT?
The opinions of some of the CIO's which were interviewed, could be described as "If you can't beat them - Join them" attitude. 

In this post I am asking a key question: Why enterprise's employees implement Shadow IT instead of using the IT Department Methods, Procedures and Services?

The context of this question is more SaaS Shadow oriented than Open Source Shadow oriented.

If CIO's would like to narrow the Gap, they should ask the key question cited above.

In most cases they will find that Business users used Shadow IT because they were not satisfied with the IT Department's services.

Sometimes the Gap resulted in IT professionals, who does not address fully the Business Department requirements.

Sometimes the Gap resulted in IT Systems which are far from addressing basic current requirements.

Sometimes it is a difference in Priorities: The Business Department people felt that the IT schedule does not reflect correctly the high-priority they assigned to tasks.

In many cases it is due to non-flexible and not Agile IT Procedures.

Sometimes the IT implementation of Business Processes is a Bottleneck: The Business department would like to improve Business Processes, but due to lack of Visibility and lack of proper implementation of BPM it takes a long time to change the Business processes.

You can't always blame the IT Department
Sometimes it has nothing to do with IT Department issues; A Business user or a Business Department Manager, assigned a lot higher priority to a task than the priority Top Business Management assigned to the same task. The IT Department may adjust its priorities according to guidelines provided by the Top Business Management team.

Never the less, even in this case the CIO (with or without Top Business managers) should discuss the issue with the Business Department in order to narrow the Gap.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Customers Typology: The Good The Bad, and The Ugly Part 3: The Ugly


This post is the last of trilogy of posts named after Sergo Leone's movie The Good The Bad and The Ugly. In previous posts I described The Good Customer and The Bad Customer

I start by describing the challenges of a Freelance Consultant, before dwelling on The Ugly Customer.
You will soon discover that the two topics are related. 

The World of a Freelance Consultant
I refer to a Consultant with no Long Term full time employing customer.
Unlike a Salaried Employee, he has to take care of many administrative tasks such as paying VAT, paying Income Tax and Paying National Insurance fees.

One of his challenges is income instability and the number of work hours instability. 

Sometimes his working hours are similar to working hours of typical salaried employee. During these periods his income is reasonable or good.

Periods of too much work to do
Periods of too much potential assignments are relatively easy to take care of: The Freelance Consultant could pick more interesting and challenging assignments and/or higher payments. 

The Challenge is to reject assignments without relinquishing future opportunities to work for the customers he rejects. 

For example, I worked concurrently for three organizations:
First Customer I managed a project with a 10 people team.
Second Customer  I lead a process of Strategic Software Product selection
Third Customer I wrote A Strategic Information Technology opinion.

What should I do when a Fourth Customer asked me to bid for consultancy assignment?
It should be noted that the Fourth Customer's CIO spend time and efforts to find me, because the previous occasion we done business was more than ten years before this assignment (He was not CIO ten years before).

I had no time left for full time assignment for few months concurrently with the three assignments I was doing.

If I would not bid, then the Customer may not ask for my services in future opportunities.

If my bid would be a low quality bid, then he may not ask for my services as well.

If the Customer would have chose me to perform the assignment, I could not obligate and could not perform the task as well. I could forget about any future assignment for this Customer.

The solution: Bid a good quality professional bid but lose the RFP
There were only two reasons not to chose my proposal: high price and relatively longer time to complete the job.

The most difficult periods: No assignments or not enough work to do
The low income during these periods is a problem, but the main problem is uncertainty: The Consultant do not know if and when he will had more assignments and higher income.

During these difficult periods the Consultant is ready to compromise: He would do less interesting and less suitable assignments for less money. He may even work on assignments outside his domain of expertise.

The meaning of working on such assignment is studying the new domain with no payments for the long hours spend. The result is a lower hourly tariff even than the low hourly tariff he asked for.  

The Public Sector in my country prefers contracts with companies, therefore in many cases the Consultant could have no choice other than being a subcontractor of a company, i.e. paying 10% or 20% of payments he receives to the company.
In that case the Consultant have two Customers: The Customer and the mediating company, which sometimes is doing nothing except getting paid.

Back to the Ugly Customer. In that case of two customers, each of them could be the Ugly Customer.

The Ugly Customer
Like The Bad Customer, The Ugly Customer could also be the other types of customers, except The Good. He could also be The Customer who Knows Everything, The Captive, The Self-deprecating or The Paralyzed Analyzer.

The unique quality of the Ugly Customer is unfairness. Usually the unfairness is not limited to unfairness towards the Consultant.  

The unfairness could be manifested by deferring payments, paying less than he should pay according to the contract and even refraining from paying any payment. 

Tie this unfairness of payments with the previous section about the most difficult periods, and you will understand the problematic situation for the Consultant (In better periods he would probably chose other types of customers).

Two examples of Ugly Customers I worked for.

Example 1: Payments 6 months latter than he should.
I worked for a customer about 40 hours a week for many months. However, he did not pay me for 6 months, although he should pay each month according to the contract he signed. After 6 months he paid.

It was not personal: He did not pay for 6 months to all the other Consultants worked for him.

Example 2: Paying extremely low tariff and complaining about the document format
I performed an assignment during a very difficult period. I would never perform such assignment in brighter periods. I had no idea about the topic prior to performing the assignment. The number of hours dedicated to studying, with no payment, resulted in a ridiculous hourly payment. 

The Customer told me that he knew that the tariff is very low. he told me that a competitor would pay me ten times more for the same assignment. 

The product was a Design Document. The customer was satisfied with the Design but complained about the packing or the format. 

he thought that I could add 10% to 20% to the number of hours (It was a Fixed Price project) to add nicer illustrations.
Another type of customer, who is paying 10% of what is competitor would pay, would be glad that the design he received was perfect and would ignore or repair the format. 

The unfairness could be also manifested in case of failure. The Ugly Customer will always blame others: vendors, Consultants, employees etc.
If it would have been a success story, it will always be the Ugly Customer who should get the credit.

Even if the reason for failure is the way the Ugly Customer chose to implement the Consultant's excellent advices, the Consultant would be blamed. 

I was impressed by the behaviour of a CIO who was ultimate example of the opposite of the Ugly Customer.
He had to present my Strategic consultancy conclusions and directions to the upper management.
I and IT managers participated in the meeting. 
Business managers complained about IT employees and IT managers products. He has only single answer to any complain: Blame me. I am responsible as their manager (I am sure that at least  some of the complains were nothing to do with the CIO, however he protected the people he managed). 

What should a Consultant do when he finds that the Customer is an Ugly Customer?

If the Consultant could afford not to work for the Ugly Customer, this is exactly what he should do. He should complete the current assignment and work for other Customers.

If he has no choice (The income is necessary and he does not have alternative customers) he should minimize damages.

He should anticipate the Ugly Customer behaviour and plan how to react.

As already mentioned, in many cases the Customer is not a single entity: Organizational Customer could be composed of multiple managers and employees.
The Consultant should carefully find a way to work with more "Beautiful" people composing the Customer entity instead of the Ugly.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vendors Survival: Nokia the new DEC



When I begun posting about Vendors Survival, I had to explain why I doubt that even the strongest vendors, e.g. Microsoft, Apple, Google, will surely survive for at least 10 years.

The easiest way to explain it was by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) ill fated history.

The IT leaders of the 80ths were IBM, HP and DEC. However, they had to adapt to a new model inspired by Microsoft and other Software vendors.

The Hardware Centric Model was changed to Software Centric Model.

IBM, HP and DEC could no longer rely on Hardware sells high profit margins and Software as Hardware complementary low priced product line. 

IBM and HP adapted successfully. DEC failed.
DEC Strategy relied on Alpha chips based Servers.
After unsuccessful quarters DEC sold product lines (e.g. System Management software to CA, Communication Hardware to Cabletron).  

Finally, DEC sold their Alpha chips patents to Intel.
I immediately notified my DEC based clients that they can count DEC days until it will be acquired by another company.

Nokia strategic business is Cellular phones.  
Nokia was the Leader of this market. 
Like DEC, it failed to adapt to a new paradigm led by Apple: Smart Phones or actually Mobile multi-function small computers instead of Cellular phones.

The acquisition of Nokia's phone business by Microsoft for 7.2 billion USDs is not similar to the acquisition of DEC Alpha patents by Intel: Nokia sold the business and the patents. 

It is comparable to DEC selling the patents to Intel and being acquired by Compaq.   

According to Wikipedia, Nokia employed in 2012 97,798 people. Even after layoffs, the estimated number of employees who will be Microsoft's employees is 30,000. 

As we already know from the unsuccessful acquisition of DEC by Compaq and the unsuccessful acquisition of Compaq by HP, acquisition of a large company by another large company is not simple.

Expect Corporate Cultural differences, difference in Processes and layoffs. 

Microsoft: another non-adapter?
Smart Phones are not only immediate threat to Cellular Phones maker. They are also a Long Term threat to Microsoft's core Desktop business.

Microsoft's vision of Windows as the Mobile Operating System (Smart Phones and Tablets) failed.
The two dominant Operating Systems are Google's Android and Apple's IOS.

Android role could be compared to Windows Desktop role many years ago. many years ago you could buy Desktop Computer from any vendor, excluding Apple, but you Operating System will be probably Windows.

Today, you can buy any Smart Phone, except Apple's  iPhone and Microsoft and Nokia's phones, and use Android Operating System. 

After announcing that he will step down as the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was interviewed by many papers. According to one article in Hebrew, he was asked what was his biggest failure in Operating Systems? he answered Windows Vista
Wrong answer: The biggest failure was Windows8

Windows8 promises were Smart Phone like user interface for Desktop and Mobile version aiming to be "a little Android", e.i. usage of Windows8 by different Mobile Hardware vendors, similar to Android's usage.

Will Microsoft-Nokia be a key player in the Mobile market?
I suspect that the answer to this question is a negative answer. 
In my opinion, the probability that the acquisition consequences, will remind you of Compaq acquisition by HP or even EDS acquisition by HP is high. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

IBPMS: BPMS Leader Software AG attempting to lead in IBPMS

Less than a year ago I wrote a post titled: BPMS Next Generation: IBPMS. The post is about Gartner's new Magic Quadrant of IBPMS, which is very different from previous Gartner's BPMS Magic Quadrants.
Only three Leaders left in the IBPMS Magic Quadrant (IBM, PegaSystems and Appian) due to a new Use Case: Intelligent Business Process Operation (IBPO). 

In the MyTake section of the post I wrote: "Expect changes in Immature markets like IBPMS".
Vendors which are no longer Leaders will try to improve their position in this emerging market. 

Tibco acquired StreamBase SystemsStreamBase Systems is a Complex Event Processing and Real Time Analytics company.

This post is about Software AG a former BPMS Leader.

a brief history of Software AG BPM History

2006 - The company released a SOA and BPM suite. The suite was developed together with Fujitsu
As far as BPM is concerned, Software AG used, Fujitsu Interstage branded as Software Ag product.

2007- Software AG acquired WebMethods
WebMethods BPM and WebMethods SOA products replaced most of Software AG's SOA products. The leading Centrasite Registry which was developed by Software AG and Fujitsu and Software AG's Mainframe SOA products remain as part of the company's offerings.

2009 - Software AG acquired leading Business Processing Analysis vendor IDS Scheer. IDS Scheer's ARIS is the strategic Business Process Analysis tool since the acquisition.
For more information read: Vendors Survival: Will Software AG Survive Until 2019?

Software AG Intelligent Business Operation (IBO)
On June 13, 2013 Software AG acquired from Progress a Complex Event processing company named Apama.
Apama is a mature CEP platform complementing current Software AG's CEP product acquired in 2010.

On August 22, 2013 Software AG acquired JackBe and announced its new Webmethods Intelligence Business Operation Platform.

JackBe's Real Time Business Intelligence products and Mashups products will play a key roll in the new platform.

Illusion: WOA and The Lego Blocks Model
It is not the first time that building IT systems by End Users without coding is only a dream or illusion.

Generating a complete System by transforming a Model to Code by using CASE tools was an illusion. 
The Model, build by System Analysts, could be useful and could provide code skeletons, but not a complete System.

Rule Based Engines are also useful. The dream of End Users defining Business Rules  (by using a simple friendly interface) which are transformed by a Rule Based Engine to a complete system, was the mission of the First Generation. Rule Based Engines of the following generations were more realistic: You can generate only parts of the Application from Rules defined by End Users. You can not avoid coding (or buying) the other parts.

Building complete SOA systems by End users by combining Web 2.0 and SOA was less ambitious than the CASE and Business Rules Engine first generation because programmers has to code the Business funcionality. However, it was an illusion as well.

The idea was to tie SOA Services and Mashapps the Web 2.0 analog to SOA Services. 
Robustness, Security, Change Management, Performance Management, Scalability, Availability and SLA are SOA Services requirements. Non of them is applicable to Mashapps.

An Enterprise Service Bus could connect the two worlds, preserving Services Robustness and Mashapps ease of use.

The leading vendors of the WOA-SOA Lego model were IBM, BEA and JackBe.


JackBe
Image Source: JackBe
A failure of the WOA-SOA Lego Model is negligible for a giant like IBM. It is very easy to name 100 or more products, which are more important to IBM. 

Large companies like IBM take into account that some of their ideas and solutions will fail. 
As long as the failing solutions are not strategic and are not money makers, they can "swallow the bitter pill".

For a kiosk like Jack Be it is a threat on its Survival, because the SOA-WOA Lego Model is strategic. 

Jack Be leveraged its ability to collect easily and in a friendly way, data from various sources. Its flagship Presto product was changed to unique Real Time Business Intelligence product.

Finally, there was Happy End to JackBe's story; It was acquired by Software AG.

You can read Software AG's Press Release about JackBe acquisition as well as the launch of Real Time Analytics Platform for Intelligent Business Operation.

You can easily understand JackBe's products importance, by reading the following quote from Software Ag's announcement.

"JackBe will serve as the foundation for Software AG’s new webMethods Intelligent Business Operations Platform. The platform will provide customers with an integrated, real-time awareness of dynamic operations and processes via easy-to-use visualizations. The resulting improved response times and increased quality of business decisions will support decision-makers in achieving better business outcomes".




Vendors Survival: Will Microsoft Survive Until 2023?


Image Source: Wikipedia

Steve Ballmer is stepping down as the CEO of Microsoft. You can read Wired article titled: Balmer's Department From Microsoft 10 years Too Late, in order to understand that the last 10 years were not a great success for Microsoft.

It is a good opportunity to go back to posts I wrote many years ago, when many people viewed Microsoft as non-vulnerable company.

For example, a post I wrote in 2008 was titled: Vendors Survival: Will Microsoft Survive until 2018?
The post included Reality Check of my 1995 presentation titled: Will Microsoft Survive until 2005?, as well as analyzing new Risk factors. 

Read other related posts appearing in the following list:

Will Microsoft Survive until 2021?

Will Microsoft Survive until 2021? - Revisited

Microsoft's Skype acquisition: Warning Signs ahead


Read also a less related post titled:

Bug 2000 (Y2K) is back in Microsoft's Azure

The next step is deciding for yourself: Will Microsoft Survive Until 2023?

My Take
The answer is not a Yes or No answer. It is a probabilistic answer.

The probability of Yes is still higher than the probability of No, but do not ignore the No as possible answer.

It is too early to tell, if the new CEO could change the non-Innovative giant company to more Agile Innovative company.

Even if he will, it will be a long and difficult Organizational Culture change process.



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