Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oracle Releases new WebCenter

From ZDNet:

"Oracle announced today WebCenter Suite 10g R3, which it describes as a "next-generation user interaction environment." It will deliver task-oriented, contextual, multi-channel interactions for information workers, bringing Web 2.0 technology to the enterprise," according to the press release. And, it's part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware. Not only that, Oracle WebCenter Suite is licensed as an option on top of Oracle Application Server Enterprise Edition for $50,000 per CPU.

....The demo of WebCenter given {this morning} at OracleWorld was impressive, with blogs, wikis, threaded discussion, widgets, instant messaging, search, VoIP, RSS and mashhups all rolled into one application development environment. However, two key components–WebCenter Composer, for creating and customizing the application user interfaces, business rules, profiles and policies, and WebCenter Spaces, which allows individuals and groups to collaborate and manage projects–are not available in the first release."

An attempt to bring Web 2.0 technologies to the Enterprise through the Fusion platform. For me, there will be limited impact of this addition to the stack, mainly because there are a lot of cheap options available for people trying to collaborate, like JotSpot. Maybe we'll see it bundled somewhere.....

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Indian IT industry's (forthcoming) woes

Vinnie has a great post up on India's inflexion point. To summarize, he brings out three trends in Indian IT services environment which might hamper their continued growth:

1. Labor Shortages
2. Failure to develop significant competence in the business/program management domain, as opposed to technical domain
3. Shying away from new investments (Vinnie says Capex, but I believe that except for human resources, more an operational cost anyways, there is no significant investment in any key area)

As an aside, an intersting conversation is going on at Infosys Blog on talent shortages.

IMHO: I have written about this before here, here and here. I would also include:

1. Lack of focus: All Indian IT vendors want to be everything to everybody, consequently lacking the depth to tackle specific challenges

2. Underutilization of resources: Efficiency and productivity are frowned upon as I have written here.

3. Short term thinking: Quarter numbers are the most important items on every agenda, punishment from the market deeply feared. This manifests as a lack of forward, longer term thinking and hence obstructs development of competencies to face future challenges.

4. Walking the Talk: The use of IT inside the industry is abysmal. HR systems, and to some extent Financial systems are used, but in silos. CRM technology, Web 2.0 technologies, and other newer technologies are severely underutilized. These are the same technologies that we sell.

All in all, while there is a lot of buzz about the industry, the shortcomings pointed out above dampen the long term prospects. Playing Safe seems to be the mantra. As Seth would say: Playing Safe is Risky!!!

PS: Just shifted to the new Beta Blogger. So some of the Category Links might not work correctly. Do drop me a note if you come upon any such links.

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SaaS Snippets

Am back after a long lay-off. Here are some relevant snippets:

SalesForce Winter Update: SalesForce announced Dreamforce (registeration required), which included the launch next year of its custom development platform called Apex. Apex is a SQL/ Java based proprietary language, which will allow customers to deploy there own code customizations on SalesForce. It is an interesting development, and one which pushes the SaaS model even closer to a hybrid with on-premise. Details of how this will be managed in a muti-tenancy model, as well as how upgrades and such things will work are still lacking though.

Oracle On-Demand: Staying with SaaS, Oracle announced the launch of On Demand offerings on PeopleSoft Enterprise suite, and Siebel CRM. Appears to be a watered down version of their on-premise software, the pitfalls of which have been well documented. Remains to be seen whether their self-proclaimed "leaders in on-demand" tag holds up.

Will try to keep up with regular postings. Keep visiting for updates....

Update: Netsuite has announced SuiteFlex, it's own version of a development platform. SuiteFlex is targeted at Service providers, developers and VARs, and allows building of vertical-specific functionalities and business processes. In addition, NetSuite has also launched SuiteSource Directory, a source of free, open-source Suitelets hosted on Source Forge. Well, these SaaS guys really know how to make things interesting....

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