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Technology trends and Need for simple software

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Web technologies are increasingly moving away from App server (3 tier) to mirco services architecture More details here : http://de.slideshare.net/ewolff/java-application-servers-are-dead and http://martinfowler.com/articles/microservices.html

Balancing IT budgets between specific application needs to generic services/solutions supporting E2E optimization (generic tool adaption in agile DevOps world not be practical). This blog post highlights this dilemma for the SAP aware folks http://scn.sap.com/community/hana-in-memory/blog/2014/10/18/hana-and-the-solman-syndrome. It is helpful to think in terms of Jobs to be done and tools needed to support this, a concept presented well by Harvard Prof. Clayton M. Christensen at a tech event here: http://events.sap.com/sapphirenow/en/session/9602 The trend is towards open platforms where knowledge sharing in network increases value of product/service to unlock trapped value, see link for details http://srobbins.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/a-different-kind-of-trapped-value/

What are the major vendors doing in this context? From the recent Oracle keynotes https://www.oracle.com/openworld/live/on-demand/index.html and SAP TechEd keynotes http://events.sap.com/teched/en/session/13493 the common thread is in bridging the SaaS apps with the on premise apps using PaaS technologies. While the legacy vendors try to simplify their offering using “cloud” cover its really startup and open source solutions that are pushing the innovation envelope.

Multiple layers of abstraction in people and technology stacks is the root of all legacy driven complexity. Simplification needs decision making / smarts to be handled in micro nodes for scalable processing in human and technology contexts. Paradigms: Top down vs Bottom up  – Centralized vs decentralized – Big data / Network optimization / New Biz processes / next gen resource management – Cloud standardization vs custom extension needs (core and context). Cloud apps need fast/productive turnover times for build/deploy cycles which is pretty disruptive for legacy Dev/deploy models (on premise and early j2ee cloud) to compete with. Key part of TCO is TCD in Dev/Ops cycle including maintenance/support/upgrade with extension support.

Change is about people and mindsets. Simplicity starts in the mind. Given individual mindset changing behavior needs transformational leadership.  Fear of change, job loss, uncertainty, insecurity can make people do things which are anything but simple and smart and technology can only accelerate this trendSad smile

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Written by srinivasreddy

November 11, 2014 at 7:30 am

Posted in opendata, SAP, Technology

What’s all the “(Big) Data Hype” all about anyway?

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Its been a long time I blogged, it feels good to get back to it again. With all the digital data around it sure is difficult to take some time out to think what does it all mean anyway. This blog post is an attempt in this direction. We have been hearing the statement “Data is the next intel inside” for some time now. A recent statement by IBM CEO “Data is the next natural resource” is really a much stronger statement and needs some introspection into.What’s all the (Big) Data hype all about anyway?

As predicted here a decade ago, data has grown explosively in the 3-Dimensions of Volume, Variety and Velocity. The database landscape graph here is good portrayal of how the tech community is trying to address this problem in the different dimensions.   As of 2012, about 2.5 exabytes of data are created each day. The info graphic below shows some sources for this data.

 

Given that there is already a huge amount of digital data existing and much more being created everyday why should be care? I was recently at the CeBIT tech exhibition show with the theme “Shareconomy” and how (Big) Data driven “Smart” applications are and will change the world was a common theme at different exhibits. While cloud computing (be it IaaS, PaaS & SaaS) has mostly focused on reduced infrastructure costs its really value is in ability to enable companies learn from the data usage and help them focus on things that really matter for their customers. New business models are enabled by big data. While some companies like Salesforce see the data deluge as an opportunity to build “facebook like” user interface for enterprise end users to ease consumption. Other companies like KhanAcademy leverage the data to create a “flipped classroom” education platform where “learning” is emphasized than “teaching”. Data enables “feedback loops” to “validate learning” which is the key principle for lean startups to enable sustainable business. Advances in IT enable leveraging the unstructured (big) data with the structured (enterprise) data to engage with customers in new ways in real time. Products and services are being built much faster and customer acceptance measured to improve or kill the new offering based on such “experiments” in real time. Such “Agile” enterprises are the one setting the “speed of innovation” for their industries. Facebook’s recently announced “Home” interface for mobile highlights the importance about owning the data interface to end users. If you can “engage” the users you can have a greater impact on your companies bottom line. This quality is best highlighted by Amazon and its letter to its shareholders is very insightful in this regard.

Given that (Big) data is important how can we best profit from it? Given that we live in ever increasingly digital (thanks to our mobile devices) world we need to be smart as to where we are engaging in the “digital world” and why. “Time” is the critical resource and we need to use it in the optimal way. (Big) data needs “Big filters” to help us not be drowned in the data. One needs to develop skills to do “Data driven experiments” to learn from the “consumption” patterns to create sustainable business value. While “Open Data” access to different data sets is partly driving the current (Big) data hype. Its important to ensure “openness” of critical data sets at the same time taking care of the privacy and intellectual property rights concerns.

We will have much more data in the future, thanks to devices like goolge glass. Given a lot of IT innovations are still needed to make Big data vision a reality we will do well to enable this data driven disruption than be surprised by it.

Written by srinivasreddy

May 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

Posted in Mobile, opendata, SAP, Technology

Emerging Business models

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Watching the replays from the recent SAP Sapphire user conference two things that stuck out to me are – need for business model innovation and enabling micro consumption. Be it in the Enterprise IT industry or any other industry for that matter, Consumers demand  “Instant value based on Fresh content”. Most industry business models are not prepared for such agility.  This nice blog post @dahowlett highlights this for the Enterprise IT industry. While adopting to the bazaar business models pioneered by Open source software development become mainstream finding the right Content monetization model is the challenge. The music industry trends show case the current state of the art. The fact that Apple Appstore crossed the 500,000 mark recently shows that the power of micro consumption in the consumer IT has arrived. While Salesforce is trying to replicate this in the Enterprise space with the AppExchange and SAP with its EcoHub, Enterprise consumers can only benefit from the competition.

What is really preventing the traditional Enterprises from adapting the Bazaar type of Business model? The question if this is the right model for all Business to adopt is something I personally feel is not up for debate anymore. At the heart of adoption would be creating learning organizations that empower people to collaborate in the enterprise and across the Business network in a transparent way. In this context I like the thought on “social objects in the enterprise” by JP Rangaswami.  Making people across organisational boundaries to collaborate is difficult enough than the task of collaborating with business ecosystem is a major challenge to conventional organizational setups. The genY style leadership being promoted by Vineet Nayar from HCL is a good example on how we can get there. I also like the following statement from SAP Chief Sustainability Officer Peter Graf  “we need to manage entirely new type of resources – social impacts, environ impacts, network life cycle sustainability metrics (energy, water, ..) not just finance and enterprise assets (people, machinery,…)”.

I liked a statement from an expert at SAP Customer event Sapphire “Future is in harnessing diversity (be it people, technology, domains, systems) and ensuring interoperability for unlocking new value”. While the emphasis is mine, I think they highlight the key aspects of a Bazaar business model. Given the current smart customers who keep themselves informed in real time the next gen biz models begin with empowering the employees.  While providing “self service” access to content inside the enterprise has been mainstream for some time how this can be enabled for the business network will be key for the emerging business models. Enabling Amazon mechanical turk like efficiency to extended business process can make the “Bazaar” like business models possible.

Written by srinivasreddy

May 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

Posted in SAP, Technology

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Cloud computing Trends and Market needs

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Year 2010 may well be the year of Cloud computing (probably with some close competition from Mobile and Sustainability themes) for the Tech folks. In the recent weeks I took some time to understand in more detail if Cloud computing has really arrived or is one more hype theme for IT vendors. I had actually blogged as far as in 2007 on ‘Everything as a Service’ and in 2008 on ‘IT as a Service’. Interestingly most of what I had written then is still valid just that the plot got more complex and audience more interested! So it’s time to take another shot at the clouds.

Without getting into what Cloud computing means (I am sure you have read enough about it!), I would like to think in terms of the “End-user” and “Application developer” be it in Enterprise or Consumer domain. What are their key challenges and to what extend can the current Cloud offering help? It’s after all “market consumption” that decides the success. The Key challenge in Enterprise IT is “Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)”. Given the huge “legacy” of applications that IT needs to maintain at considerable operational costs, making any changes (how about integrating with some cool “social” apps?) is considerable effort. The maxim “Do not touch a running system” still holds. While “packaged” applications come with huge “support” costs and related upgrade requirements, very little room exists in Corporate Budget for new “cloud solutions”. If we look at the increasing revenues of cloud vendors (Amazon, Salesforce.com, Google…) obviously market demand exists…  So why is on-premise computing so expensive and can it really be compared to the cloud offering?  From my SAP development experience I can say supporting all product standards (check slide 15 in link) comes at a considerable cost but with related value add for the customers. Given that not all solutions/customers need such standard compliance it would be fair to say that the “cloud offerings” with all their limitations still have enough niche markets that can be addressed. The real challenge for cloud computing would be to build “complex” business applications and support them over time for a large installed base. While ‘Software as a Service (SaaS)’ is only one aspect of cloud computing (maybe the most important for end-users / app developers), we do see good traction in ‘Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)’ (aka hosted hardware) while the market for ‘Platform as a Service (PaaS)’ (aka hosted hardware with infrastructure software) is still being defined.

What are the expectations from “Application Developers” from a cloud computing platform? As for any computing platform they would need a ‘productive’ development environment (be it programming language, app framework, IDE support, Source code management…) and runtime environment (be it on-device mobile container, web/app servers…). Offering a productive ‘end2end’ environment can be challenging considering no one vendor may/can control all the ends…The rapid pace at which new cloud programming languages/app frameworks are emerging (be it JRuby, JPython, Scala, Dojo,….) together with new NoSQL cloud databases (Cassandra, CouchDB…) makes Application development more difficult. Till there are some clear cloud platform winners making a technology choice for application development is risky. It could also explain the new found love for open source software of most IT vendors as a risk mitigation strategy ;o).

Given the market needs what are the major IT vendors doing? Having attended a recent IBM cloud computing for developers session, watched recent Google Atmosphere youtube webcasts on cloud trends, attended Deutsche Telekom Developer garden session on Cloud computing and recent SAP DKOM session related to Cloud computing among others, can share some key trends I see.  While some key design issues (Multi-tenancy, In-memory databases, App Lifecycle Management…) need more research, Cloud computing is accepted as a viable option for some use cases. Cloud computing has a lot to do with the many recent/continuing IT acquisitions we see. While the IT stack is at a inflection point, the platform vendor (hardware / system software / applications) has to win in the “Cloud Data Center” to survive. The stakes are huge, one can only hope that open systems win. I like in particular IBM view to cloud as ‘Cloud = Virtualization + Standardization + automation) and SAP focus on ‘on-premise, on-demand and on-device’. It would be interesting to see how ‘best of breed’ solutions migrate to “cloud appliances”. I personally do not think one need’s to own the whole stack (Oracle strategy) to win. Having the right eco-system partnerships and adapting to customer needs will be key.  So ‘End-user’ may well be the winner after all even if  he has to wait longer to harness the clouds.

Written by srinivasreddy

May 14, 2010 at 10:42 am

Posted in Mobile, SAP, Technology

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