Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lack of posting != Lack of interest

Sorry I have a lot of writeups to put in the blog, but haven't been spending a lot of time on the computer lately. Why? Well, Sunday my family lost a really good friend on the Delta flight that crashed here in Lexington. It has just made me a bit unfocused on tech. Every time I sit down to write I think about his family and what they must be going through. This isn't an anti-tech industry rant or "do something with your life" speech but nothing more than a few words to say I will be back shortly hopefully.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When bad people make good technology bad

Wow! What a last couple of days. I have spent time at about 4 customers in the last 3 days and only one of them would be in a place that I would label as having their act together. I will say this, technology in the wrong hands is as damaging as technology in the right hands is beneficial. I thought I was going to spend a decent amount of time helping folks expand their usage of technology. What I ended up doing was helping them correct their thoughts about their Notes, SharePoint and Documentum installations to tell them that these are all good technologies and it is their fault they aren't working.

See, the natural tendency is when something isn't working internally the companies blame the technology. It can't fight back. Most of the times they don't want to give the developing company the chance to come in and correct because they don't want to look bad. Let's face it though. The collaboration and document management market has matured. Products like Documentum, Livelink, FileNet, SharePoint, Notes, SameTime, Communicator, etc... are all good products. They are all products that if used properly can make a difference in any company. Yes, I do know that there are differences in cost of ownership, functionality and reliability, etc... but it is like arguing the difference between a picture on a Samsung vs LG HDTV to the typical user. Only the trained eye can capture it. The real story is that if a company knows how to work together; the process is well defined; and there aren't any huge legacy issues (i.e. running x486 laptops with 32mb or RAM) most technology will help. Thinking that slapping up a place for users to share documents and do a bit of discussions is collaboration is evident that a lot of folks just still aren't getting it. Likewise, assuming that document management is all about a taxonomy, features like check in/check out and good compliance meta data is off the mark. Companies need to quit completely relying on the technology because it is taking their eye off the fact that they have to focus on the people just as much if not a whole heck of a lot more.

We need more people out there preaching the message of how to deploy collaboration and document management to and through the people instead of what platform to deploy. I think fighting the good fight of one's product is fine and needs to be done, but I also think it is giving excuses to these people that would rather blame tech than themselves as to why their companies aren't adopting a better collaborative or document management environment.
functioning. Alright...sorry....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This could be interesting...probably a failure...but interesting

One of my favorite brands is at it again. Sony has just announced that they will be shipping a Sony mylo device in September.

If you remember the Sony mylo was a sevice about 5 years ago that fell on its face because of the high service fees and the fact it only worked with the Clie at launch doomed it to failure. This is different though.

This Sony mylo (which stands for My Life On-Line) is a device. You have the touch screen monitor that slides open for a keyboard. Several applications such as e-mail, IM, music player (btw with a 1 gig flash memory built in), video player, photo editor and viewer and VoIP. VoIP you ask? Yep well one of the interesting things about the device is that there is no cellular service for it. It work purely on a WiFi network. I agree with Sony WiFi is becoming prevelant in the US for their target (18-24 year olds) especially around college campuses but I wonder if they aren't 5 years too early.

Three bummers about the device for me.

1) There is no UMD support. I was hoping that they would make the device capable of playing movies to add to its appeal.
2) There is no gaming focus. Yeah I know there PSP is out there but it is overkill for most games on the market for it. The reason the PSP gets knocked (although a decent device) is its size. This could have become a "PSP lite" version to compete more head to head with the Nintendo DS.
3) Lack of partnerships. I saw somewhere that eBay's Skype was planning on being in there somehow but it would have been nice to at least see an iTunes partnership. Apple needs to start making device deals and device dealers need to start making content deals if they want to compete in the long run.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

This is going to be interesting

Ed has always been great at crunching the numbers and that is some great exposure. I also have to check into see what they have done because previous version of Exchange never used instancing, PAE and AWE so anything over 4gb was irrelevant because of the efficiency. I am guessing they just get some of that for free with the move to the 64 bit platform. I haven't checked the facts in terms of the numbers and if Exchange is going to be only 64 bit only (still a bit confusing because of the 32bit trial) but that aside I think it raises interesting point about the future of communication based hardware/software bundles.

The point basically is that reliability > hardware cost. Now I am not saying that Exchange is reliable nor am I trying to defend Exchange's hardware cost but $.07 on the fact that they made the move to 64bit only for reliability reasons. Take Ed's numbers and say the server hardware number is $70,000 for 6,000 users. What if the server was so reliable that you didn't need redundancy beyond high speed backup or an administrator? Are we moving to the model like the phone servers where people spend $40-50k on the server and buy the $10k service contract but don't have a day to day admin (at least in most medium size businesses)? With most businesses I talk to expecting to see these servers to last for 5-7 years, they are looking at a cost of $20 to $23 per user per year over that period of time with the $10k a year services contract. Chicken scratch!

For small and medium businesses this model actually is better for them because most of them will lease the hardware so no upfront $70k and if they don't have to hire an individual to administrate it bonus! The battle really is going to get down to reliability with these components especially as more and more folks pick up unified messaging. I give the lead right now to Lotus because a) better track record and b) more experience on the unified messaging front but this is where the battle is.

I do miss the day of Hubert telling me that the cc:Mail Post Office could run on a x286 it just had to have an OS that supported file and record locking. :) Simplicity is sometimes the best solution isn't it.

I guess the IBM brand means something after all

IBM has always proven and continues to prove that their brand means something. One of many things I have admired about the company is their image and practice of making sure an IBM decision is never a bad decision. I think Lenovo is realizing that a) the US market was falling in favor to Dell faster than then though and b) a ThinkPad with an IBM brand sure means a whole lot more.