The Financial Times repeats a theme I have written about earlier - corporations need to loosen up and move to a "business casaul" mode or miss out on a number of innovations being released by Google, Skype, Web 2.0. As Jeff Nolan writes, Enterprise Software vendors may also be getting wrong signals from corporate clients and not taking advantage of Web 2.0.
But ...it is good to see at least some pioneering CIOs take advantage of some of the innovations and Gartner will just have to talk more about the coming convergence between the enterprise and the consumer markets...
As Tom Clancy fans know you want the character John Clark on your side. Shadowy and lethal, this former Navy Seal ends up heading the counter-terrorist force, Rainbow. But in the book, "Without Remorse" he runs a one-man vigilante operation to clean up the illegal drug industry. The book was set during the Vietnam War. If it was in today's setting I am willing to bet John would be going after the shady parts of the WWW.
As this article in 2001 by Terrence Berg (then in the Michigan Attorney General's office) expresses "Unfortunately,
the example of the child predator is only one of many. Because the
Internet is as broad as the human psyche, it naturally encompasses all
of the darkest manifestations of evil imaginable: every form of
denigration of human dignity and antisocial behavior, from racial
hatred and white supremacist ideology, to self-mutilation, torture and
sado-masochism, to virulent misogynism, to violent extremism and
Satanism. Web sites and chat rooms dedicated to glorifying such
behaviors—as well as more mundane unlawful conduct such as hacking,
credit card fraud, tax evasion and the manufacture of illegal drugs and
explosives—are easily located by entering simple search terms into any
Internet search engine."
Things have only gotten worse since 2001. In modern democracies we protect freedom of expression and our privacy. But we also need to protect our kids and ourselves from predators and fraudsters. As this CSO article details the criminals have many places to hide.
That means smarter and more computer literate cops to go after them. The tech industry (particularly Microsoft with IE) needs to do so much better about making the Web less vulnerable to spyware, adware, viruses and more. But each of us technologists in our ways need to speak up more, educate our politicians, reason with civil rights groups.
As we excitedly watch the emergence of Web 2.0 and prepare to make our New Year's resoultions, we need to remind ourselves about the shameful aspects of Web 1.0. If we do not collectively do much about it, the John Clarks of the world will.
On the day my Optimize column comes out about how big software vendors are not delivering enough innovation, my tracking site tells me my blog had hits from live.com...the new Microsoft Windows Live site launched today. So I backtracked and found this blog of the product manager Sanaz Ahari as she sweats bullets when the launch hit some initial glitches.
This is how she describes her "baby"
"...your page the way you want it.
we're in Beta, but the vision is to give you your recent documents if you want
it there, give you your mail inbox, tell you whether your pc is safe, see if
you're friends are online, find out the latest gossip, etc... your stuff, in one
place, the way you want it."
Cool that Microsoft shows the human side of its development team. But they will need to unleash a little more PR because the initial feedback I have read from Dan, Om, Paul, Tom, David, Dennis is pretty blase. Even Steve Hamm at BusinessWeek talks more about not underestimating Microsoft.
Also, the launch seemed more aimed at a consumer audience than a business audience. I want to hear about "services" around CRM, MBS, Office for larger customers, other innovations CIOs would be interested in. As Jeff points out Microsoft has spent $ 20 b in R&D in the last 3 years, mostly funded by CIOs. They are waiting for answers to the questions I raised in my Optimize column about delivering real innovation when their own "tiger teams" have been delivering magic with budgets with many fewer zeros.
With all the excitement around Sykpe, GoogleNet, Apple's move to integrate the cell phone and the iPod that Om and John write about, it is easy to forget SBC and Verizon. BusinessWeek has a nice article on the two US communication giants. Post-ATT acquisition, SBC is expected to be $ 99 billion. Post-MCI, Verizon is expected to be $ 93 billion. Post respective acquisition, SBC and Verizon will control 80% of the corporate market.
Yes, domestic US long distance rates have been beaten down, but international rates are still wildly inconsistent. Try calling from one European country to another on a US cell phone plan. It is cheaper to fly thereWhen you see what corporations pay for wireless (cells, PDAs, WI-FI roaming etc), data services, videoconferencing and whole bunch more it explains why connectivity is still the single biggest line item in many CIO budgets. For most families, the landline, cell, broadband cable and related equipment plans are a sizable "utility" spend - since the majority still buy connectivity on a fragmented basis.
So, yes new competition is good, and good old fashioned negotiation is still needed just as CIOs and regulators may be starting to feel sorry for the "BabyBells" and other national carriers.
Courtesy of Jeff Tash I saw Joel's rant here about Web 2.0. If a young man, a software entrepreneur, recently out of Microsoft feels this way...what about corporate types? Some folks there still work with Assembler code and VSAM file formats. They have heard "you just don't get it!" during so many cycles - Web 1.o, client/server computing, the debate over "green v/s graphical" UI, AS/400s will take over world, PCs/MACs are it. Somehow they still control budgets! Gartner is right to talk about convergence between consumer and corporate oriented markets in 2012 terms...maybe...
I did enjoy the Billy Madison quote. Want to make sure my kids do not use it when I rant...they can stick with "you just don't get it!"
Nicholas Carr summarizes growing emotions about Google - quite a few negative.
Compared to some of the "lock-in" pricing I see (and have written extensively about) from the larger tech vendors in the enterprise IT budget, Google is still an angel - it probably will pick up bad habits along the way. Any time you can charge on a performance (or clicks) basis you are at least on the right track. And so long as you are delivering innovation - and few would argue about Google's stream of new products - it is tough to question when you compare to what we are still paying for accounting software written 30 years ago, for tweaks to RDBMS written 20 years ago, for outsourcing contracts written a decade ago and routinely renewed.
On the thornier issue of whether Google is "exploiting the web" ... Does the NY Times pay everyone it writes about? Should John Battelle pay Google, Yahoo, Andressen and others some of the royalties for his new book "Search"? Does Gartner pay start up vendors for ideas that show up as research on emerging market trends? Do consulting firms pay Gartner for re-using, sometimes wholesale, Gartner research in their own consulting deliverables? Do software companies pay users for enhancement ideas and reported bug fixes? Does Equifax pay for data specific to each of us without which they would not have a credit product? Will book publishers also sue amazon.com which now allows you to run searches of selected pages of books it sells?
Clearly, as we get more in to the "Deep Web", we will have more bruising fights. Google and other search engines will try to catalog protected intellectual property and hopefully equitable royalty sharing arrangements will emerge.
One question I have. What is Google doing about all the queries which show what's on their minds as they type in key words? Just over this weekend, looking at the tracking stats I get for my blog I see 3 users accessed Google from around the world and used words which suggest they are not happy with a particular vendor's annual maintenance pricing. I can deduce a pattern from the limited tracking tool I have. Think of how much money Google could make packaging or analyzing its data, not just linking you to other web pages....and the ethical and legal issues around that...
While all the recent buzz is on the New Web - the congruence of the mobile web, blogging, podcasting, new Media -, several different data points this week brought to mind the Deep Web. As the site says the "60 largest Deep Web sources contain 84 Billion pages of content.
For comparison, Google
(the largest Crawler-based search engine) indexes 4 - 6 Billion pages."
I was talking to a Gartner executive last week about the potential threat of blogging to their business model. If you buy in to the fact that Google and other search engines are becoming the de facto search interface for even corporate users, the likely search results on technology topics show blogger opinions first, then those from industry media, finally some publicly released industry analyst results. If eyeballs are important, the analyst firms are losing that battle.
Then I saw this Business 2.0 list of "technologies that change everything" - and "Deep Web search" is one of them. It lists Google, IBM and Yahoo and a few specialist vendors as those to watch in the category. Oracle and Microsoft are noticeably absent.
Finally, major book publishers sued Google this week for its attempts to digitize copyrighted materials - Google's attempt to make the Deep web a little "shallower".
I imagine the battles to digitize proprietary and other "deep" content and to optimize every growing search/database access is going to be just as fascinating to watch as the New Web evolution.