Is Database Software a Commodity Technology?
Is database management a mature, commoditized software technology? It depends whom you ask. My answer: definitely!, which no doubt confirmed IE Editor-in-Chief Doug Henschen in his intention to later write that Oracle President Charles "Phillips's higher calling was to dispel the idea that database management systems have been commoditized in a mature market."
Business Intelligence and Excel: Happily Married?
Are spreadsheets a good match with business intelligence systems entrusted with providing consistent, reliable insight? The latest BI-Excel integrations let you have your spreadsheet-based analysis and always-validated, up-to-date data, too. Which add-in, plug-in or native link is right for you?
We Need OS Diplomacy, Not OS Wars
Some of the responses posted to my Linux blog entries have been filled with an amazing amount of venom -- directed not at me, but at other posters. The hate some people have for other people just because they elect to use another operating system on their computers never ceases to shock me.
Rethink Three Myths When Picking a Consultant
Independent consultants (a.k.a. sub-contractors) are often the back-bone of data management activities, especially database administration and ETL/database/BI development. Yet, finding good consultants is difficult. That's why you should steer clear of these three myths: #1: Vendors are always knowledgeable about the candidates they provide. #2: Prior work references can be easily obtained. #3: The candidate must be an absolute best-fit for the requirement...
Forrester: Why BI, BPM and Rules Technologies Will Converge
I'm attended a panel discussion here at the Forrester Technology Leadership Forum on the convergence of the three B's - business intelligence, business process management and business rules - featuring Mike Gilpin (EA and application development), Boris Evelson (BI) and Colin Teubner (BPM)... Gilpin sees BI as driving effectiveness in businesses, and the combination of BPM and BR as driving efficiency...
Five years of OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org has reached a significant anniversary. Earlier this month, OO passed the five-year mark as the only office software on my laptop computers, first installed when I bought a Windows 2000 machine in 2002, reinstalled a couple of months ago on a replacement laptop running Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux. Given diverse project-health indicators, I'm looking forward to my next five years of OO.
And the 'Email Validation' SQL Puzzle Winner Is...
The winner of last week's 'Email Address Validation' SQL puzzle is "Guest" (see comments), because he/she bothered to do the research and come up with an answer that is generic enough to port to any SQL dialect with a SIMILAR TO or a regexp() function. So, "Guest" please email me with your snail mail address (and some attempt to validate your SQL mastery/identity) and I'll send you one of my books. Here's my answer to last week's puzzle...
Hand-Me-Down Linux: The Notebook Edition
Not long ago I blogged about fitting Linux onto an older system and giving it to someone who doesn't need the latest model of PC. This week, I tried it with a notebook that's about seven or eight years old. Windows XP barely ran. Linux gave it a new lease on life.
Complex Event Processing Struggles for Market Definition
Complex Event Processing (CEP) seemed like a no-brainer for broad-market acceptance a couple of years back. Relational data warehouses and conventional analytics have not kept up with the explosive growth in real-time data volumes and the perceived demand for real-time analytics. CEP promised to fill the gap: technology developed for extreme high-volume, low-latency processing demands. Yet two years on, CEP is still struggling for market definition.
Forrester Says 'Design for People, Build for Change'
In her opening keynote at this week's Forrester Technology Leadership Forum, analyst Connie Moore laid out four principles that 1. Business processes adapt to changing business conditions. 2. Applications evolve continuously while preserving process integrity 3. Processes, tasks and associated information always maintain context 4. Systems are unitary, information-rich and reflect the social needs of the business...
Way back in the '80s, a popular maxim had it that "nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM." An IBM salesman probably came up with that one, but in any case it stuck. Reflecting on last week's announcement about the new IBM Lotus Symphony desktop suite, based on OpenOffice.org technology and available as a free download, I'd say it's time for a new maxim: "Nobody ever got fired for perpetuating the Microsoft Office monopoly."
My Linux Broke -- Is It My Fault?
One of the adages about Linux that gets passed around a lot goes something like, "It's a great system, but you really have to know what you're doing." The other day, I got a firsthand example of that -- I got bitten by a bug in a package that's readily available in Ubuntu's software repository.
Dilbert Takes On Web 2.0
There's a particular Dilbert cartoon making the rounds that pokes good fun at Web 2.0 in general and "folksonomies" in particular... Cartoonist Scott Adams is particularly adept at surfacing (and pillorying) vague but alluring-sounding words like "folksonomy" and "platform" that, yes, we all over-use. But getting Dilberted also represents a certain coming of age...
Rumors, Shareholders and Customers
I wasn't going to comment on the rumors about Business Objects looking to be acquired, because it seems to be one that resurfaces every few months. If the rumor is true, it runs counter to all the positioning the vendor has been doing since Oracle acquired Hyperion... If Business Objects is in the market to be acquired, what does that suggest about its stated strategy: oops, change in direction?
Google Poses Biggest Threat To MS Office, Readers Say
Readers have a lot to say about free/alternative office suites (as in, alternatives to Microsoft's dominant Office product). Presented with a growing list of alternatives, they conclude that Google Docs is a viable threat to Microsoft.
Leaping Linux's Patent Hurdle
In the wake of my last column, Why Linux Is Already A Success, I got a great many comments and letters from people who agreed completely with my point of view -- that Linux was already a success on its own terms. I did, however, receive a reader comment that added some sobering real-world perspectives.
IT Titans Take Manhattan
IBM, SAP and Microsoft choose the Big Apple for three big-time, industry-altering announcements.
SAP Business ByDesign - One Step at a Time
With Business ByDesign, SAP is adding another branded application suite to its portfolio that goes beyond the three on-premise suites it already has for large, medium and small businesses. The on-demand applications suite focuses on midsized firms with 100 to 500 employees and provides a new area for growth for the company. Yes, there is more fanfare, but the application suite is not yet ready for primetime.
Why Linux Is Already A Success
Anyone who reads InformationWeek regularly probably knows by now that my colleague Alexander Wolfe has more than a few pithy things to say about Linux with his piece 7 Reasons Why Linux Won't Succeed on the Desktop. After reading it, I thought: Does Linux really need to succeed on the desktop?
Gartner BPM Summit: Smith on Performance Metrics
Analyst Michael Smith's expertise is performance management, and he's found lately that business process improvement is a growing theme in that sector... Smith dispells the notion of best-practice business processes: processes are so different between different types of companies that there isn't a single best practice... He also asserts that business strategies are, in general, poorly defined, poorly understood and poorly executed...
Can Salesforce.com Make the Dream a Reality?
Salesforce.com and its dyanamic CEO and chairman, Marc Bennioff, are at it again. The company is positioned to take on the vast majority of the broader enterprise applications and platform software market. Directly competing with IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP and others, it is challenging the conventional wisdom of the on-premise approach of purchasing, installing and configuring software across large, medium and small sized organizations. In fact, it is now taking on the broader platform mark
Must-See TV: YouTube Series on SOA
Have you seen "Greg the Architect" on YouTube? It just keeps getting funnier. The latest episode is "Off the Grid," which nicely skewers the analysts' Quadrant and Wave reports. Kudos to TIBCO. Enjoy!
Mashups Inspire Creative IT Outbursts
None of the shopping sites with which I'm familiar truly take advantage of the presentation opportunities of the Web. They merchandise online the same way they lay out shelves in a store. You filter by type of clothing, style, gender and size... I recently gave a presentation about Web mashups, BI and the blurring between the two. I showed ColorPickr, a nifty app that pulls images from photo site Flickr based on your choice of color from a palette.
Gartner BPM Summit: Gassman on BAM
Analyst Bill Gassman says business activity monitoring (BAM) needs to be considered up front as processes are being design and implemented. He defines the goals of BAM: to monitor key objectives, anticipate operational risks, and reduce latency between events and actions. From an implementation standpoint, BAM is typically a real-time dashboard that's integrated with BPM in some way and provides alerts in the context of the processes within the BPMS...
Linux And Hand-Me-Down Computing
My father recently retired a 1-Ghz AMD computer with 1 Gbyte of RAM that he'd built from mail-ordered parts. He'd dropped the cash for a new Dell with Vista, which he likes quite a lot (no grousing, please, it happens), and let me have the old machine. My first move: Wipe it clean, install Linux, and prepare it for an exercise in "hand-me-down computing."
Actuate: Commercial Open Source, Commercial Community
I'm grateful to Actuate for giving me an preview look at BIRT Exchange, a new community site set to launch September 24. Like the sponsoring company, the new site straddles the commercial open and closed source worlds. It will surely benefit BIRT Java programmers whether they use the open-source Eclipse version of BIRT or the closed source Actuate version. But make no mistake: Actuate's motives remain staunchly commercial and the company will retain tight control over BIRT development.
Gartner BPM Summit: Hill on Designing for Change
Her topic is "BPM: A Change from Business as Usual", taking a look at what's really new in BPM, how BPM can change the way a company operates, and some BPM use cases... She comes back to the phrase "design for change," which I've heard several times today already... This is, of course, the heart of business agility: if something isn't designed and built with the intention that it would be changed frequently, then you're not going to be changing it much.
Business Objects for Sale?
Reported over the weekend by Reuters was that Business Objects had hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer of the billion dollar plus business intelligence (BI) provider... Is this report just more of the continued discussions of market consolidation in BI market and finding the best return for shareholders? No comment, of course, from official channels at Business Objects, but clearly something is brewing.
Business Objects Launches BI OnDemand
The new software-as-a-service offering provides subscribers with advanced BI features, such as formatted reporting, dashboards and ad-hoc query and analysis.
Gartner BPM Summit Day 1: Opening Keynote
Analyst Janelle Hill started out with a great slide on the evolution of process improvement: from scientific management through computerized process flow to our current focus on flexible and adaptive BPM and the start of a focus on SOA, BAM and event-driven architecture... Interestingly, Gartner is bringing the focus back to the people in processes: putting the person-to- process interaction back at centre stage...
Process, Prediction and Icahn's Interest in BEA
It's pretty clear to me that the business process management and operational performance management camps are singing from the same hymn book these days. Throw in the business rule and predictive analytics camps and you've got a quartet singing in four-part harmony. The question is, when and which vendors will start putting this stuff together? Could Carl Icahn's interest in BEA spark some serious deal making?
Celko's Email-Address-Validation SQL Puzzle
You've probably noticed that many Web sites use the customer's email addresses as an identifier. We have all received messages something like this: "Thanks for signing up for 'The Leech Farmer's Monthly' email newsletter! We are sending you a confirmation at your email address with your temporary password." How many ways can you write CHECK() column constraint to validate an email address?
SCO Bankrupt? End Of Saga Can't Be Far Off
SCO's move to file for bankruptcy protection may be the last chapter in this ill-starred case. SCO's ongoing legal expenses and rapidly declining shareholder value bode ill for a once-proud company.
Get Gartner's Take on 10 Leading Portals
CA, Day, Hummingbird and webMethods are out, and business process management-oriented alternatives are in. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and BEA remain in the top-right corner. These are just a few of the highlights in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portal Products, released late last month and available here as a free download.
SCO's New Theme Song: "Running On Empty"
I've been humming that classic Jackson Browne tune every time I read more news about SCO and its protracted death spiral, which has been drawn out far beyond belief. The song's playing all the more loudly today: SCO just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The State Of The Linux Help File Nation
A few years ago, my biggest complaint about Linux applied to many things in the computer world: The documentation was uniformly lousy and scattershot. Since then, at least one distribution -- Ubuntu -- has set a fairly high standard of documentation. There's still a few things I'd like to see done better, though.
BI and the Tragedy of the Commons
Is your BI deployment departmental or enterprisewide? That alone is a strong indicator of how successful a deployment you will have. Given that about half of BI deployments are departmental, I can't help but think of the "Tragedy of the Commons," which involves a conflict over resources between individual interests and the common good.