Thursday, November 20, 2008

The future of IT is in the Cloud?

Where is innovation driving us. Cloud computing is being touted widely as the future platform for the quick provision of services for small and large organisations.
The chief benefits are that the information is more easily available outside of the enterprise, that the effort of providing services is basically just turned into a cost, and that the application can be scaled up to the organisation's needs at the turn of a switch.
What are the main disadvantages though? It must be harder to integrate a cloud based solution to the ever present in house systems that lie in every organisation.  Since the data is based in an external system there could be large limitations on getting access to that data.
The cost of the solution as well might be more easily changed by the vendor meaning that the IT organisation has less control on the total IT spend than they would for an in-house system.
Information week published an article today on Cloud Chaos, stating basically that because Cloud solutions don't necessary require IT buy in to start their use, soon enough an organisation could have multiple cloud based solutions that don't co-ordinate well either with each other or the in house software again.
Given that Forrester's projections show that in 2009 almost 10% of IT Management software could lie in the cloud, it is a good idea that organisations plan ahead for the challenges that cloud computing represent

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vendors supporting Chrome

Quickly following my last article I saw another article come on InfomationWeek about SaaS Vendors Declaring Support for Chrome, which shows it is an idea playing on quite a few minds in the SaaS based tools marketplace.

The more level headed vendors are saying that support doesn't come overnight of course, but it is something many users will be tracking over the next weeks or months. 

One astute comment noted that since Chrome is based on webkit, just like Apple's Safari browser, web sites supporting Safari should work on Chrome.  

Friday, September 5, 2008

Supporting Google Chrome

With more and more software getting delivered as a service or over the web, many sales will need to check whether a product is supported by all browsers. With Google Chrome coming out this week, the new question is, does your product support Google Chrome?

At first, it was easy for some developers to just shrug when asked this sort of question. Obviously, a new browser tends to take time before it gets market share, and also how can a developer foresee the operations of a new browser before it becomes mainstream. After all, you don't change your business platform for fat client software very often, so why should you do it with thin clients or browsers. One vendor, EnterpriseWizard, has already announced Chrome support for its CRM system. I have found myself that Salesforce.com works perfectly fine, as you'd expect most well written WEB 2.0 systems to do.

On Informationweek.com, they are asking Is Chrome Right For the Enterprise? A very good question, but looking at how the uptake of Firefox has changed the enterprise world, I would say it is highly likely it will end up being used in the enterprise.

In this article in particular they talk about the possibility of doing away with windows and running on a hypervisor platform. Think about it, if all your software comes through the web, then maybe you could do this and save the whole OS layer from your platform.

When will your business support Google Chrome?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sticking out your Thumb

I often check out lifehacker, and today they have a clever list of tricks to store on thumb drives. I love the USB key - you can wander into a prospect and have any number of tricks "up your sleeve" and ready to go on the USB key. Anything from special reports, to new product features and everything else you find useful at a customer site.

Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks

What have I used them for? Importing customer data into demo systems, getting important hotfixes into live environments, storing great screenshots of impressive reports or data. The list is endless and you can fit it into your pocket, carry onto any customer site - goes where your laptop cannot, or should not be used!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Virtualisation reprise - Virtual Desktops

Since I was inundated by responses on my Virtual Licenses post, I've noticed that there is indeed a buzz about the community.

Microsoft has recently announced it is purchasing Calista technologies to enhance their OS's multimedia and 3D capabilities on Virtual Machines, which really puts virtualization in more of a consumer direction I feel. This could be good for those technologies, making them more mainstream, and opening up the massive desktop end-user to virtualization. This technology will work on any kind of virtual machine apart from Citrix.

Which brings me on to Citrix. Microsoft have announced that Windows Server 2008 will have more interoperability with Citrix XenServer. This will also help desktop managers use virtual desktop systems.

So what is the key advantage of Virtual Desktops - with so much push towards them in recent times?
This goes back to standard Desktop Management advantages really. A virtual machine is hard for the user to corrupt, and easy for the administrator to centrally change, update, and deploy. The cons of it would be larger hardware requirements, and the extra layer of technology can bring in new problems. That is why it is good to see all this new development around it, as this will lower those concerns.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Year Sales

Well, I wake up to a new year, and it seems many familiar companies have been bought or sold. Here is a quick round up of the M&A activity in Enterprise Software:
and probably many more that I might have missed in the January Sales... Something I don't know much about, and hopefully someone can inform me is - what happens to the SE and Sales resources when their company gets sold?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Virtual Software Licensing

What will the biggest change in what, how and why we are selling software in 2008 be? Virtualization is it - if you believe virtualization.info in their prediction for 2008 and several other news articles I've read recently such as this computerworld article.

When you think about it, when you sell enterprise software, what you are selling is a right to use a particular set of software in a particular way on a certain number of systems. When these systems are just simple hardware devices running a particular operating system this is quite easy.

However in the past few years these underlying systems are becoming more often than not virtualized using products like VMware. In some cases vendors have already changed their license conditions to support the way customers want to use products, such as Windows Server DataCenter Edition. However in other cases these changes are more negative, to disallow certain uses of software - such as MS Vista home products on virtual systems - or increase the cost - often without adding any additional functionality.

This shift in the conditions around the use of existing products really will change how we can sell software, and potentially affect the size of deals - measured in virtual systems might well be 2-3x higher for the same company.

Other advantages of virtualization might also lead to current license conditions needing a rethink - for instance it is really easy now to start up a cloned copy of an existing server - does this mean we need an additional copy of each license on that machine?

One tough thing is - how are we supposed to find out how many licenses a customer needs? How are they supposed to know. Managing virtual machines is much harder than tracking physical hardware. It is so much more fluid, can be there one day and not the next. Could be 1 machine today and 32 tomorrow. Should a customer buy a license for their potential number of virtual machines, their peak number, their average number or their current number.

Meanwhile, I read these posts which I found quite informative on the subject:
We will track this issue as it progresses throughout the year. Another similar issue seems to be arising around Multiple Core technology and vendor's attempts to change license models to meet them.