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.