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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Changing Times - Who's Reading, What and Where

Excellent chart published today by eMarketer that shows the different platforms preferred by different age groups to get news. IMO, the duo-platform mode (both traditional print and new digital platforms) is indicative of the transition phase that we are going through right now.

In an year or two, more of us (even if we are not 21 years old) will let drop the habit of "traditional" platforms. I am trying to kick the habit of reading a newspaper in the morning and simply catching up on the news on my laptop, iPhone or my wife's iPad. (iPad is by far the most convenient platform - especially before the morning coffee kicks in).

Take the Wikileaks story. Its almost a waste of time to keep abreast of this interesting story in a newspaper. The videos, documentaries, documents themselves - compel you to follow the story from your nearest browser.

Our increasing tendency to get and share news with our trusted friends will only drive us further away from "static" traditional platforms like newspapers and magazines. What do you think - are you ready to "kick" the habit?

I am trying hard.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Google Ready to Move Microsoft Exchange Data to the Cloud

Here you go - More enterprise content being moved into the cloud - this Google luring Exchange data. Service isn't free - $25 per user per year and $13 per user for existing Postini customers. - Makes Sense

Kudos to Marc Benioff @ on launching another cloud product - (read the WSJ article here). Great job of packaging existing capabilities into a broader offering.

It's simple and it makes sense. Considering everything else that is being offered in the cloud, it is surprising that a fundamental building block in an IT stack - a database - didn't get there first. The traditional companies probably didn't want to ruin their existing license and support revenues by pushing a cloud offering. The newbies probably didn't have the capital or market nous to create a buzz. Marc has both and right now he is running laps around the competition.

See the intro video here.

The other reason I like the announcement - we get a chance to help our customers move their content into, or out of it, or reference it without using any of it. The federated content model is here to stay and will simply help customers store their content in logical repositories - across different public and private clouds. It will be interesting to dig further into the capabilities and limitations of The data model under has been evolving fairly rapidly from supporting simple SFA applications and to supporting fairly complex enterprise processes and content structures.

However, the primary challenge for enterprise today is dealing with the unstructured data they own and all the relevant content that is generated outside their control and outside their systems.
It doesn't matter whether is the answer to all of this today or ever. Salesforce is facilitating the massive migration of cloud based applications - and that is good enough.

As we move forward, accessing and virtually aggregating these content sources - without physically moving the content - will become the norm. Would love to understand what Google is thinking about all this. They have taken a very clever route to capturing enterprise content with Google Docs and Google Apps - all searchable and all seemingly liberated from legacy "database" norms.

Looking forward to 2011 and more content in the cloud...

Monday, November 15, 2010

WTD about TMI?

TMI - Too Much Information, Too Much Content, Too Much Data - are all here to stay with us. There will be more of everything that we will pull and more of everything that will be pushed to us.

On my BART ride last week (yes - very green of me), I read an interesting article ( in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine on RIM CEOs failing to communicate their vision/strategy to the market. 99.9% of all the CEOs in the world will come out 2nd best when compared with Steve Jobs, but there was a particular comment made by Jim Balsille (RIM Co-CEO) that made me realize that RIM's market share and mind share in smartphones could erode faster than Motorola's or Nokia's:
Balsille thinks the world is wrong about apps. Many are just
glorified bookmarks, he argues, that aren't necessary if you can connect
customers to the Web.
Apple has 250,000 apps because most of them are serving a critical need of presenting content in a form that can be consumed very easily - especially on a mobile device. Yes - you can browse the web and search for whatever you need - but that does not help the TMI syndrome. If anything it exacerbates it. The apps are making it easy for iPhone, iPad or Android users to filter and consume the content available all over the Web. Even Google has embraced the app paradigm - even though "googling" for content is good for Google's ad revenues.

Gus Hunt, CTO for CIA, who is building a "peta" scale infrastructure to handle the data and computing requirements said at Cloud Expo last week that he wants any data to be used by any application. He does not want to invest in building applications that are dependent on a particular data set or a particular data set being created for a specific application. The days of consolidating all the data into a single repository are long gone and never coming back.

Question is What To Do about TMI?

First - Leverage technology that can reference data from any source in any format. It isn't feasible to try and standardize the legacy content repositories. Data will stay federated, so your content integration strategy should account for it as well. Speed and agility in accessing new content sources is a competitive advantage for today's businesses.

Second - Ensure that data cleansing can be automated. This will allow you to work with incomplete or partial data - especially when working with a large number of data sources.

Third - Focus on normalizing the aggregated data, so that the consuming applications can work independent of data sources. This will allow you to serve content to a variety of consuming applications and end devices - especially the constrained mobile devices that need additional filtering or formatting. This will also allow the content creators to focus on creating content and not to worry about the device/platform battles that are being waged on the other side of the value chain.

More to come on the innovation in these areas.....