Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back from the break .. Its a new world


Havnt posted in a while and its not been that long really .. well maybe in blog terms its been eons (2months) and oh boy has the world changed in these two months. First we had the financial meltdown, marquee names like Lehman vanished, Barrack Obama was elected president, gas is back down to under $3 a gal, folks like you and me are wondering where all of this is going. Sure the world has changed from just 2 months ago.

Well a couple of things have changed on the professional front as well, after close to 10 years I've left the mother ship at Oracle/Siebel and ventured into a very exciting gig at a smaller but high growth, high potential company - NetSuite. Its a phenomenal place with very bright people and a very powerful product. In the new role I'm responsible for CRM product management at NetSuite.

There are a number of things already queued up that I want to blog about in the areas of CRM, NetSuite, Product Management, Scrum/Agile and personal experiences (like my really crappy experience buy a 3G iPhone).

So this blog is to get started from the break and start writing again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What's under the Shiny Chrome?


Google's launched their latest we're not trying to go after MSFT product called "Chrome". Here's their description of the product ..

Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
Now that I've installed and used the product a little bit, here are 3 things on the top of my mind.
  1. Its not compelling enough (yet) to make me switch from FF.
  2. The current EULA will make it next to impossible for use in a compliant enterprise.
  3. Does this mean web coders will now have yet another fork in their code saying "If Chrome .. do this ... else".


Haha .. I find it ironic that when I accessed my Hotmail account from Chrome I got this message.
We recommend that you upgrade your web browser so you can get the most out of Windows Live Hotmail. Upgrading should only take a few minutes. To get started, choose one of the browsers below:
Not sure if its just a caching issue or what but it sure is ironic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Userplane says BB's are still alive and kickin in the 2.0 world


BBS I would say is the grandfather of most social media applications of today .. much before FB or LN or Geocities or IM or IRC there were bulletin board systems (phew suddenly I feel old). Anyone could start them (well initially only a few privileged admins hosting them on their servers could conrol them ... but it changed over time), people could join them, there were conversations and threads, later came the presence and rankings as well.

So today when I saw that :) userplane is taking the good ol BB's or forums to a whole next level with Flex/Flash it intrigued me. What place would they have in todays microblogging, wiki world.

Well to me, Twitter of today is somewhat the forums + email alerts that I used to receive in the past. I would follow forums, folks would follow my forums we would have conversations and short bursts as posts (maybe not exactly 140 characters .. but short enough).

I think userplane is on to something exciting, by combining their latest beefed up forums with IM and other products theyre feeding a market that is currently reaching a instant fatigue. To me forums always represented the balance between realtime and archived.

Enterprise Social Media in Action


Recently came across this interesting post that lists 35+ examples of corporate social media in action.

While there are many interesting examples about things like blogs, forums, Twitter and Facebook being used in the corporate world, the one that intrigued me the most was the one from HSBC.
"HSBC built the HSBC Business Network to connect entrepreneurs using blogs, videos and forums."

National Geographic has the most innovative one where they are using Google Lively.
National Geographic uses Google’s new virtual world, Lively, to bring people together around its new show, LA Hard Hats.

A quick analysis indicates that 25+ of the 35 example enterprises are into blogging in a big way with community building and Twitter second and third. While there were some mentions of videos and Facebook and others the vast majority were using blogs as their main social media vehicle.

Maybe cause blogs are the easiest to get off the ground, have a conversation (if you allow comments) and keep fresh.

Another one that I'd like to add to the list is Oracle Mix, its a community building or social tool that allows customers to connect, share ideas and have a conversation with Oracle.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hey SaaS where's my backup generator


Backup generators is one thing that surely comes to mind going through the latest round of SaaS and SaaS platform related access problems this time with Google Apps.

Google Apps Hit by Prolonged Gmail Access Problem
Amazon Down For An Hour And Counting (Updated)
Amazon Web Services Goes Down, Takes Many Startup Sites With It
Downed Salesforce systems slow Europe and US

With all the talk these days about cloud computing and how everything needs to be moved into the sky (err sorry cloud) I wonder where it would leave enterprises with large scale outages. Maybe that's where the hybrid - fail over model of SaaS with OnPremise replication plays a strategic role. Now one can argue that the cost might be prohibitive for smaller organizations and it would involve a number of factors like criticality of application * duration of outage * impact to business etc.

The most common real world analogy that I've seen repeated over and over again from SaaS offerrings is about the utility model and how everyone today gets their power from a single vendor who works on all the infrastructure, operations and issues. While we the consumer provide a per unit usage fee and forget about the rest. Would you run something critical like a general hospital by solely relying on the power grid? Why hospitals, these days it comes down to very small retail organizations as well who have their own battery or diesel powered backup devices to withstand outages and keep business running.

Well here are some of my observations around the power grid and SaaS analogy and maybe its a black box of opportunities for a number of vendors who might not currently be in the SaaS platform provider race.

- If we look at the maturity curve of the power industry, SaaS is a long way from it.
- While there might be one front face vendor for an area ( like a PG&E) there are a number of up and down stream vendors who make the entire delivery happen.
- There will be a lot of mergers and consolidations in the SaaS space if the power industry is any indicator.
- The likelihood of a large number of ancillary offerings coming up around the space that offer backup products and backup strategies is high. Its akin to the diesel generator industry.
- As consolidation will occur and single vendors per geo's or verticals will appear it will spawn a whole an entire industry segment of vendors manufacturing devices that feed from the power lines like the electric devices of today.

Though its a little unclear who will be the electric company vs the backup generators vs the device manufacturers (the Westinghouses, GE's of todays world). One thing is certain that if SaaS/SaaS Platform is to be successful in large enterprises there will have to be backup generators ... most likely onsite near to the delivery end point ... it will have to keep storing information or juice enough to make it a swift and viable backup in case of large scale disruptions or outages.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Oracle's Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0 destination


Just saw the Oracle site.It rocks!!

Also see that the Oracle Sales Prospector product is now live.

Finally there is a SFA product that actually increases productivity and effectiveness for the sales person than giving them yet another data entry tool. Thats been my one big gripe with all the SaaS SFA products out there today that claim to be the next generation of CRM products. I think they should actually be labelled next generation network based products. Cause they didnt do much for CRM/SFA but rather leveraged the internet to deliver the same data entry screens.

There's more coming from Oracle in the form of Sales Library, Campaigns and much more. Stay tuned for more on the new Social CRM Apps.

The Oracle Lounge on Google Lively


Google launched its take on virtual worlds today called Lively. I think its a good offering in a very amazing space. This is going to be the future of chat, interaction, dating, service resolution ... you name it on the web in a few years.
Though I was a little disappointed with the product. Knowing that this is from Google, it didnt really blow my mind away or anything. They need to step it up on this one.

I'm hanging out at "The Oracle Lounge". Come check it out.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Updated RSS Experiment


Monday, June 30, 2008

DONTCLICK.IT - An amazing experiment in User Interactivity


Recently saw this interesting site called DONTCLICK.IT that challenges the user to navigate without using the mouse click. Its rendered through Flash and is probably a great example of how creative and versatile one can get with Adobe Flash/Flex/AIR and keep the user engaged.

I'm not sure how well this kind of a site would perform in the enterprise with Accessibility/508 Compliance kind of scenarios. But definitely had me hooked.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pretty cool video take on Billy Joels "We didnt start the fire" and the next wave (bubble maybe)


Saw this interesting video posted on Vinnie M's blog and thought I'd post it here.
For some strange reason this brought a large grin on my face ;-). Still trying to interpret my emotions and why the grin.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 a pragmatic view of the world


There is a an interesting Enterprise2.0 related post by Dennis Howlett this morning about his conversation with Charles Phillips, President Oracle Corp.

Its pretty much a given now that enterprises do want to use solutions that incorporate Web 2.0 technology, products and application development paradigms. One of the main logjams being around security. Its not that these products/solutions cannot be secured, they can be secured in the same way/extent as any other application. Its just that providing the same level of security on these kinds of apps as any other enterprise app leads to the E2.0 app either losing some of its delight/stickiness/usability.

Collaboration in the enterprise has always been a big thing and there have been multiple revs of solutions trying to solve that requirement. E2.0 solutions might have a leg up in this area because with even notifications, feeds, blogs, cloud based applications and storage, self-regulating mechanisms like wikis, collaboration is woven into the fabric of most W2.0 solutions.

As always there is still a lot of education that will need to be done around the E2.0 area before CXO's are comfortable signing off large checks for solutions of this kind.

Click here to read the complete article

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oracle shows off Web 2.0 mashup @JavaOne


Click here to view a pretty cool demo of an Enterprise 2.0 mashup using Oracle technology. Its got tag based search, instant collaboration, viewing employee networks and some other goodies all applied to a rather mundane Order Management task.
Wonder why Oracle does not show more of its technology in these kinds of demo's. Its much better than the "Let me show you how to build this using my fav development tool" kind of demos that they've been doing for some time now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh yea and did I say no "pictures or video" at Web 2.0 Expo


Besides the ruffle Google created with their "our PR says no pictures please". I did not see any image or video presence at this years expo. Voice was there with Nokia and TellMe amongst others. Maybe video was out there and I missed out, but as far as I could tell they werent.

So what does that mean with 3-6Mbps lines for users and everyone flocking to Youtube making it the more visited than Google ... no Web 2.0 stuff happening with video??

Huh, that's troubling.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To Web 2.0 Expo and back


The fire was there but the sparks were missing. Dont know why but this years Web 2.0 Expo seemed kinda low key to me. There were a number of companies out there showing off their wares but didnt really see the one or two or few killer applications, tools or products. The Microsoft Live Mesh announcement came close but didnt quite stand out as that spark.

The good thing was that almost all of the vendors out there were trying to position themselves as enterprise 2.0. Which means the guns are now trained on making it happen in the enterprise.

Walking around at Moscone I clubbed vendors in 4 main categories this year.

  • PaaS vendors
  • Vendors who'd squeezed Wiki, Blog, Forums, RSS, Chat into a suite that was enterprise friendly
  • Vendors who provided specialized manpower with Web2.0 expertise.
  • Everyone else mobile apps, voice enabled apps, vendors focused on individual components of category (2) above etc.
Its interesting how everyone's swarming to the PaaS space, so the webs been the platform for a while now and it seems like this might be the year when we go mainstream by sending the platform through the web.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo 2008


Web2.0 returns to San Francisco in the week of April22nd and Oracle has a good presence out there. There are some unconferences planned on the booth and here are some of the links to things that relate to Oracle and this event.

Oracle Mix - Oracle's social network
Oracle Wiki - you're here
Oracle WebCenter - Web 2.0-esque features for enterprise apps
AppsLab Blog - blog by Oracle's own Web 2.0 think tank
OTN TechBlog - official voice of the OTN (developer) community
Oracle Community on Ning
Oracle Tweeters
Application Express

Monday, April 14, 2008

Posting to a Blogger...


Posting to a Blogger from Jott. Trying to figure out where the blog title comes from and what it's posted in the blog post. Also, wanted to figure out how it deals with long pauses and other expressions and also wanted to figure out what the experience of blogging via Jott is like because you might have to think ahead of what you wanna speak and get posted on your blogs. Anyways, I wanted it to give it a try. Let's see how it comes out and also wanted to add some tags, CRM(?) Jott online. Let's see how it goes. listen

Powered by Jott

So I believe the title for the blog comes from the first 3-4 words for the post and also there is currently no way of tagging the blog post. Outside of that it seems to be pretty straightforward.
I guess the "Posting to a Blogger" makes me suspicious if I actually dictated that or it just mis-interpreted something. Need to go back and listen to the recording.

Will play around with it a little more and see how my custom Jott Links behave. More on this later. Oh yea the CRM2.0 link ... I guess no more complaining sales guys dont want to log into a system to create and update activities. They can now do it from their phone, while they are in a cab on the way back from a customer visit.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What's next for CRM @ Oracle?


What’ s new? Plenty . . . today CRM is quicker to implement, easier for the average salesperson to use, available for mobile devices, easier on the wallet and so much more!

Attend, What’s Next for CRM and learn the 5 key questions all prospective CRM buyers should ask when evaluating how technology can increase their organization’s sales effectiveness.

Get the answers you need to ensure the technology you choose will in fact drive individual performance, which in turn delivers the measurable results your organization is looking for.

Register here for this free live web event on Wednesday April 9th, 2008 • 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Simplicity - Its next for CRM


Interesting opinion post titled "Simplicity: What’s Next in Business Software" on by Anthony Deighton who is the SVP of Marketing at Qliktech. They are a leading provider of next generation BI solutions and one of the fastest growing BI software companies in the world over the last couple of years.

Completely agree with Anthony's message that "Simplicity" is the next big thing for business software and more so for legacy enterprise software vendors. As he very succinctly put it, its not like eating broccoli ;-) to stay healthy .. for some vendors its going to be a matter of survival. Having worked with Anthony in the past I can totally see where he is coming from and what he is prescribing.

I believe that simplicity has been the underlying theme for most SW disruptions. It was really tedious for users to type their commands on a green screen or DOS prompt and then Windows simplified it with visual icons, till Windows/desktop applications became so diverse in their user experience that in came the simple browser based apps where all applications could pretty much be intuitive cause there were a standard set of operations you could perform.

Bringing this message to the Enterprise CRM domain we've seen that a number of newer vendors have made inroads into traditional enterprise CRM land just by simplifying their application delivery and usability without providing much depth to the application. Its already happening and its being very well received by customers. Thats where SaaS/Ondemand had its roots as well. Enterprise customers who had issues with their delivery/deployment models embraced the much simpler on-demand model.

To me the bottomline here is that not only should software vendors pick up the "Simplicity" message but also stick to it.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Personality Not Included - Book Launch


Rohit Bhargava from Influential Marketing Blog is currently in the process of launching his book "Personality Not Included". He decided to approach his book launch in a very unique way and I believe its the new engagement model that will drive a lot of interactions in the 2.0 world. So here's what Rohit said and did;

A conversation does not start instantly with a big spike and then trail off. A really good conversation builds momentum steadily and eventually turns into something more powerful. So my aim today is not to create a short term spike, but to start a conversation about the central idea of the book - which is that personality matters, and continue it over the next few weeks and months. To jumpstart this conversation, I'm asking for your help - and offering you something in return.

My idea is simple: if you send me five questions that you want to know about the book or personality, I'll write you a response on Friday that you can publish on your blog. Let's call these virtual interviews (ie - interviews by email). You choose whether to post the interview on your blog or not after you get my responses, but I am essentially offering for ANY BLOGGER to send me interview questions and I will respond with answers that are NOT cut and pasted, but specific to your questions. I will send all my responses to you on Friday in the order that I get your questions, and I will link to all the posted interviews on Friday. On Monday, I'll be running a competition on my blog to let readers vote on the Best Interview. The winner will get a signed copy of my book and a gift certificate for $100 from Amazon.

Companies will be hard pressed to come up with such unique engagements through the web and more and more conversations move out there. For a relatively low investment and a unique idea smaller brands will be able to get viral and grab customer attention compared to $$ being poured into more traditional efforts.

Here's a link to the book and his virtual interview sessions that he had thru the web

Here are my 5 questions to him and his responses;

- What would you say was the single most important factor that inspired you to write this book
I think it was seeing that there was an ingredient of many successful brands that people were not really talking about ... namely, the importance of personality. The book takes some of hte most often talked about trends in business today, such as authenticity, social media and word of mouth marketing and brings them together. I thought there was a need for a book like this in the landscape of marketing and business books ... so I wanted to write it.

- In the tagline why do you say "Companies" lose their authenticity and "Brands" get them back. Can you elaborate? Do you mean companies that do not invest in their brands tend to lose their authenticity?
Good pickup. To a degree, the difference comes down to the central belief of branding ... which is that anyone can start a company, but you need to build a brand in order to have something that someone can believe in. I think that companies who don't focus on building a brand have a problem defining themselves as standing for something. If you don't stand for anything, you can't be authentic.

- Why did you pick Guy K for the foreword? Is this book mainly focused on technology, startups or entrepreneurship?
Guy is someone that I had admired for a long time and I was thrilled that he agreed to do the forward. He has built his reputation in technology and entrepreneurship, but if you have ever heard him speak you know that he has a brilliant mind for business. He was the perfect choice to do the foreword for PNI.

- What was the message or goal that you hoped to achieve with this book?
My main message is really simple: it's that personality matters. It matters because that is what gets your customers to believe in your brand rather than just buying once and leaving. More importantly, it is what gets them to tell others about you.

- Can you attest that you did not do any templating, cut or paste while answering my questions ;-)
Well, you'll be able to tell pretty easily - since I'm publishing the links to all the interviews I answered on my blog! But I can tell you definitely that I didn't for yours, because this is just the second interview ... so you're definitely 100% original content. ;-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 - Hype or Happening


Very interesting video I saw on Youtube that does a quick drive by at an event for VPs/CIO's and gets their candid feedback on Enterprise 2.0.

While most of them were really witty, some of them seemed clueless. Tip of the hat to the VP/CIO from Altera and his comment. I think he actually gets it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What is an Enterprise App in the 2.0 world?


Wanted to post this as a thought inspired by Vinnie Mirchandani's post "Another brick in the wall".

First off let me be clear that I dont have anything against Carsonified or Ravelry, I'm sure both are pretty good enterprises in their own right. My comment on Vinnie's blog might lead some to think otherwise so wanted to clarify.

However I wanted to post on the "how close are enterprise applications to this list" aspect. So here's a link to the list shown below.

Gmail - web mail
flickr - photo sharing
Twitter - micro-blogging platform
Facebook - social network
Ravelry - "knit and crochet" community
WordPress - blogging platform
Mint - web analytics
last-fm - music
Basecamp - project collaboration
livejournal - social network
So what is an enterprise application. Till recently enterprise applications conjured up images of ERP, HRMS, CRM, SCM etc. Those with a slightly broader view would often include things like office productivity, email, application, directory, integration servers and other software into this category as well. Some of these applications were sub-classified based on their channels as well so for example we had B2E, B2B, B2C and stuff like that, the B2C ones were mainly inward looking portals into enterprises.

So by that vague definition everything that was a non-enterprise application was placed in the consumer application bucket.

Here's what Wikipedia says about enterprise software and applications

Enterprise level software is software which provides business logic support
functionality for an organization, typically in commercial organizations, which
aims to improve the organization's productivity and efficiency.Services provided
by enterprise software are typically business-oriented tools such as online
shopping and online payment processing, interactive product catalogue, automated billing systems, security, content management, etc.

But in my experience over the last decade and certainly over the last few years this line has started blurring significantly. Here's an example from the CRM side of things.

Would you consider eBay, Amazon, Gmail as consumer applications? Most of us would say yes to that I guess. What about user interaction channels on these sites like if you had issues with Amazon and you logged an issue with them on their site are you using Amazons consumer application or enterprise application for logging that ticket?

I'm starting to head to a place where any web application that's accessible to an entity outside an enterprise firewall (without VPN or tunneling) is a consumer application to me and vice-versa any application that's restricted in use behind an enterprise firewall is an enterprise application.

So the lines blurring for me now. There are no black and white enterprise or consumer applications cause they could quickly be repurposed.

Now maybe one could debate that it depends on the roots of that application or use the 80:20 rule and say 80% of the time application is used as a consumer application etc.

Anyways according to me the good news for enterprises is that they no longer need to be confined in their thinking that .. aw shucks wish I could use that in my enterprise but alas its a consumer app.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

SaaS - Services as a Service .. now wait are you trying to confuse us here


Saw this interesting post When SaaS Means 'Services as a Service' posted on Intelligent Enterprise by David Lunthicum. At first glance this read like an attempt at confusion. However now that I looked at what StrikeIron does it actually makes sense. So in yesterdays world if you wanted to embed logic about currency conversion or validating a US postal address or symbol of a company listed on Nasdaq you would either try coding it yourself by maintaining some seed data or you try finding a public web service that meets the requirement.

What companies like StrikeIron are doing is they've become aggregators of services from partners like D&B, MapQuest etc and offer them through their own catalog. Now one might question the value of that and say why wouldnt I go directly to D&B and get access to their services and data. Well the spectrum is wide and there could be instances where the StrikeIron model works better. Lets say you're a small startup or a SMB kind of a company that needs access to some disparate services, would you invest in people and contracts and partnerships to reach out to each of these vendors get info on their offerrings and then maintain relationships. Maybe, maybe not. Maybe you might go to StrikeIron and pick off of their catalog or services.

So SaaS with "Services as a Service" makes some sense. Now nearly half of Salesforce's traffic these days comes through web services, does that mean they are now transforming into a "Services as a Service" company?

By the way here's what StrikeIron says it does in a nutshell.


* • Find Data Services
* • Browse Solutions
* • Cleanse & Enhance Data


* • Build Mashups in Excel
* • Create Business Solutions
* • Integrate into


* • New! Developer Community
* • Download Code and Clients
* • Access Free Data

Friday, February 29, 2008

Freeeconomics ... It changes everything


Recently ran into this article "Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business"by Chris Anderson at Wired Magazine.

Now while on the surface I dont buy what this article is trying to say, cause someone always has to pay and there is no free meal. There is a growing perception these days on the web that onlines services should essentially be free and if there is a cost associated to a service your best bet to fame is by offerring a free version of that same service.

I think whats going on today on the web is a great deflection economy where the consumer of the service is being funded by the vendor based on the revenue it might be getting from another consumer or advertiser. So the consumer is left with the perception that what they are consuming is essentially "Free". Now wasnt that going on already with ad based community magazines that were available for free. I guess todays online service providers have taken that model and optimized it to their benefit.

Here's the Taxanomy of free that Chris has listed.

What's free: Web software and services, some content. Free to whom: users of the basic version.
What's free: content, services, software, and more. Free to whom: everyone.
What's free: any product that entices you to pay for something else. Free
to whom: everyone willing to pay eventually, one way or another.
Zero marginal cost
What's free: things that can be distributed without an appreciable cost to
anyone. Free to whom: everyone.
Labor exchange
What's free: Web sites and services. Free to whom: all users, since the act
of using these sites and services actually creates something of value.
Gift economy
What's free: the whole enchilada, be it open source software or user-generated content. Free to whom: everyone.

Click "here for the complete article.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Platforms for building future CRM Apps or any Apps for that matter


Had a very interesting interaction last week with some bright folks at a .com company. Anyways felt like blogging after a long time cause had something really interesting to share based on some stuff I've been working on. Also have lazily ignored blogging over the last few weeks :-(

Anways to get on with it. Over the last few weeks I've been trying to play around with what might very well be platforms delivered through the cloud for building the next generation CRM Apps and maybe even "any" Apps in general. So here's the working list and as I go through them will have detailed posts on each as well.

As I go through the list, 3 strong trends that are emerging for me are;

- Delivery as a service
- Rich internet applications
- User focused application development

Here's the list I've been looking at and will post soon on each of these individually as well.

Whether you're an individual, organization (large or small) or ISV looking for a new application or with existing applications, there is no way you can go decide to create or buy your own application today without looking at one of these platforms.

Friday, January 11, 2008

2008: A Year for Enterprise 2.0 or is it


Read this really interesting post titled "2008: A Year for Real Choices" by M.R. Rangaswami on The post has some great insights for folks trying to gaze through the glass and see what lies ahead.

However the reason I wanted to bring it up here is the prediction for Enterprise 2.0. It couldnt have been summarized better. This year will either establish "2.0" as more than just a buzz word or announce its demise as we wrap up '08.

6. Enterprise 2.0 Will Take Shape – or Not The social network applications have been working on “consumerizing” the enterprise for the last couple years. 2008 will be the year in which we begin to see hard proof of how these technologies can revolutionize the enterprise – or we won’t. Enterprise 2.0 vendors must emerge from the sidelines and deliver strong proof that this trend is more than a buzzword or a fad in order to stay on CIOs’ radar.