Thursday, September 6, 2007

Gartner PCC Summit 2007 (part 11)

“Clash of Titans (IBM vs. Microsoft vs. Google vs. Others)” (by Tom Austin and Nikos Drakos from Gartner) at PCC 2007 Summit.

Choosing your strategic suppliers is more improvement than ever. So, you need to know where these vendors are taking you.

Your workplace investments increasingly go to fewer enterprise vendors.

What disruptive trends will impact the workplace titans?
What are the workplace products and technologies that IBM and MS offer and how do they differ?
What inadequacies do the titans have?

5 major mutually reinforcing discontinuities
  1. open source
  2. software as a service
  3. global class (meaning: a new class of systems, more than the grid, exceeding performance at lower costs)
  4. web 2.0
  5. consumerization
Tom and Nikos will look into each of these to see if this is a threat or opportunity.

Microsoft and IBM are mentioned most by companies when they are asked which vendor they would like to get away from.

What are they doing well?
IBM
- portal: number one share
- content management: number one share and growing
- web conferencing
- instant messaging
- simple content-based workflow

Microsoft
- active directory
- Office virtually pervasive
- email and calendering
- Sharepoint
- strong SQL server penetration

Why users leave IBM email (Notes):
- cost, manageability, performance, other licensing agreements, functionality

Why users leave Microsoft email (Outlook/Exchange):
- cost, performance, usability, functionality, service

Ergo, practically the same reasons!

The key difference between IBM and Microsoft is their business model. IBM customizes (top-down, role-specific, custom business applications, broad implementation, platform diversity). Microsoft commoditize (bottom-up, democratization of technology, focused optimization, make Windows and Office the best).

Nikos tells about the IBM (new) product portfolio.

Top 6 IBM Collaboration Issues and Vulnerabilities
  1. IBM doesn’t sell to users
  2. Head start in social computing is no guarantee of market success
  3. overlapping product strategy (when to use Domino, Quickr, Connections, Portal?)
  4. Time to Market (competition from the Web model)
  5. Creeping IBM dependencies
  6. Lack of deep integration with Office
  7. IBM’s weakness in the low-end of the market (company size <10.000>
Microsoft gets it right after three tries. Sharepoint 2007 shows that.

Nine ways to make use of Sharepoint:
- teamware and collaboration (now with profiles, blogs and wikis)
- still a portal, even without a name
- content management (basic, just good-enough)
- process management
- business intelligence and performance management
- forms-driven business processes
- enterprise search engine
- spreadsheet and charting server
- integration with Exchange, Office Communication server and others
- Platform for new applications

Top issues and vulnerabilities with Microsoft:
  1. Creeping Microsoft dependencies (Windows, SQL Server, MOM, AD, tiered browser support)
  2. Time to market (competition from Web model - this is worst for Microsoft than for IBM)
  3. Offline support (Groove does not resolve)
  4. justifying migration to new versions (what’s the use of going from XP to Vista for instance?)
  5. Lack of Domino integration beyond email, calendar and simple application
Business models are shifting: SaaS and Web 2.0. But Microsoft and IBM aren’t really responding to this shift. This will lead to erosion for both vendors. IBM is more threatened, than Microsoft. Microsoft says it’s committed to move into this new world. IBM has made no statement of intent in this direction.

Where is the threat coming from? Google! Google is 9 years old today. They have consumer and enterprise focus. They will exploit the platform they have built besides their drive to democratize information.

Looking at Oracle: they’re all about fusion applications, middleware and databases. They say they want to address the workplace, but their hart doesn’t seem to be in it. Their Workplace tooling is simply not good enough.

None of the players mentioned are number one in everything. Everybody has work to do.

Some cool Web 2.0 vendors:
Connectbeam, riya, redfin, kickapps, youos, secondlife, scrybe, zoho, pageflakes, languageweaver and basecamp.

How about control and these new web 2.0 applications? Tom says:
Control some of your users all the time,
All your users some of the time
And you don’t want to control all users all of the time.
Adopt a split strategy: one titan and best of breed vendors. Delegate the last part to users.

Recommendations:
- don’t let vendors dictate your technology investments
- look beyond incumbent vendors to what new players can offer
- expect IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and other enterprise vendors to compete with Google in Web 2.0 and SaaS offerings
- relying on a single workplace vendor may reduce short-term costs, it may also limit flexibility
- encourage consumer technology experimentation (“suspended RIO”! don’t talk about RIO right away, let things evolve and choose after some time)
- remember: it’s not about what you buy, but how you use it. Design around outcomes, not products.

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