A few months after Barack Obama’s historic election, and a couple of weeks after the release of Barry Libert’s and Rick Faulk’s book Obama Inc. (and, of course, Obama's inauguration), the first start-ups are popping up that directly apply some of the widely heralded business lessons emerging from the innovative campaign. The fact that most of these lessons lie in the marketing domain supports the view I’ve expressed earlier and on numerous occasions: 1) Marketing will (again) become the number one change agent in business, 2) when it follows the new rules of “marketing with … Read more
The new issue of our design mind magazine is out. The theme is "Motion," and it features a great interview with famed ballet choreographer Alonzo King, who discusses the risks and rewards of collaboration with San Francisco Chronicle dance columnist Rachel Howard:
"Collaboration is always risky. You don't have total control. Also, with choreography you have such a short amount of time to do it. If you're writing a book you've got years; a film, you can shop it around; Broadway, take it out six weeks for previews. With most choreographers, you've got … Read more
Even as Forrester Research predicts a 3 percent drop in global information technology revenues, as reported by The Register, investment bank Goldman Sachs is piling on the woe it promulgated in an earlier report that CNET covered with a new report entitled "IT Spending Survey: Mapping 2009."
As detailed in the report, incumbent vendors are about to see their sacrosanct maintenance revenue streams get pillaged:
Accounting for more than 50 percent of revenues at vendors such as Oracle, this is going to be painful, indeed, though the report also calls out that some of the bigger brand names are likely to weather the downturn better than most.
Even so, my company, and others that I advise, are seeing a flight from expensive maintenance contracts to open-source alternatives. At least half of my pipeline is filled with existing customers looking to dump their maintenance contracts with incumbent vendors.
Why? Because a solid open-source product can easily cost 10 percent of a proprietary vendor's maintenance contract, while delivering equivalent or better functionality. While any change will likely necessitate some third-party consulting--the No. 1 target for the budget ax in 2009--the cost advantages of doing this can still be substantial.
That said, any benefits from new projects must be near-immediate:… Read more
Correction, 2:02 p.m. PST: This story misstated the number of Allin's businesses being acquired by Dell. It is two.
Dell has acquired Allin's Microsoft IT consulting business, as well as its collaboration and business applications services business, in a $12 million stock deal.
The acquisition, announced Friday, aims to bolster Dell's consulting work in the areas of designing and implementing scalable networks and application architectures via Allin's technology infrastructure business, as well as in the areas of collaboration and business applications.
"The expertise we gain from Allin further deepens our ability to help … Read more
Cisco has debuted an iPhone application that can make use of the company's popular WebEx collaboration tool. The new app, available free from the App Store, allows users click to join and actively collaborate in WebEx meetings. A company statement reads:
"The online meeting experience gives users the ability to take advantage of simultaneous web and audio conferencing capabilities from Cisco on both the 3G mobile and 802.11 wireless (Wi-Fi) networks. The solution supports multiple telephony configurations including SaaS-based telephony from Cisco WebEx Meeting Center, premises-based telephony from Cisco Unified MeetingPlace, or telephony from Cisco's service … Read more
In a recent discussion with enterprise CTOs, I asked why they don't contribute more code back to open-source projects. There were a variety of answers, but one of the biggest sticking points was a preference for avoiding their legal departments.
In an interesting twist, however, Martin Fowler points to a different way to engage in open-source development that is unlikely to cause angst among one's JD-ridden colleagues: intra-company open-source projects.
Think about it. A company like GE employs over 300,000 people, with wide-ranging subsidiaries and departments. A project built by GE Finance might have direct relevance to GE's NBC Universal unit, for example, and greater efficiency can be created by providing open-source development methodologies within large companies. Indeed, this is what Collabnet and other open-source development infrastructure companies have long promised large enterprises.
But it's not just about large enterprises, as Fowler suggests:… Read more
TextFlow, a new way to collaboratively edit documents, is opening up to everyone Monday morning. Instead of going the real-time route like Zoho and Google Docs, the service opts to let a master editor corral multiple versions of the same Microsoft Word document inside of one file.
Each editor sends in a copy of the file (presumably via e-mail), and the master editor drags and drops all of them into a single bucket. The application then divides the edits into sections, letting the master editor pick whichever revisions make the most sense. When finished, he or she can convert it … Read more
Open-Xchange announced Monday it landed a $9 million second round of funding, with the proceeds earmarked for furthering its software development and expansion of its U.S., European, and emerging markets.
eCapital led the round, with BayBG and existing investor BayTech Venture Capital contributing to the round. The company has raised a total of $17.8 million to date.
Open-Xchange, which last year named a new chief executive and a new chief technology officer, develops software aimed at taking share from Microsoft's Exchange offerings.
The open source start-up develops software designed to provide e-mail, document sharing, shared calendars, and … Read more
If you're in need of a quick and simple way to share a document with a few other people at the same time, worth checking out is ShowDocument. It works with most major file types including PDFs, Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, and text files, and displays them in a simple Flash-based viewer and editor.
Once you've uploaded any file up to 2MB in size, you can mark it up with a pen and highlighter tool, along with a text box tool and eraser. There's also a small chat box to discuss changes, and everyone's cursor is … Read more
TechCrunch is reporting that Jive Software, an emerging collaboration leader, has cut one-third of its headcount. Sam Lawrence, Jive's chief marketing officer, has confirmed the news. Normally this wouldn't be inspiring news for Jive customers and prospects, but in this case I think it's actually a reason to be optimistic if you fall into one of these camps.
Jive is backed by Sequoia, the same firm that recently warned its portfolio companies to manage cash prudently through the downturn. Jive grew at a frenetic pace over the past year--this move is a way to return to prudent, … Read more