Office 2.0 in SF: It’s the “IT” (the hip word, not Information Technology) conference for the Fall

Office 2.0 conference

Office 2.0 conference,
originally uploaded by srm_nj.

I’m experimenting with flickr. Here is the button for the Office 2.0 conference. What’s neat about this conference is the grassroots effort that is behind its organizing, collaborating, and showcasing.

Let’s see what happens when I hit “post entry…”

The Rebirth of the SI Market: Anyone in the Mood for a Fat Margin?

I had a great briefing this week with IBM’s Dan Gisolfi of its Emerging Technology Group. I was able to clear up a few things. For starters, it’s not THAT easy to create a “long tail” micro situational app. Gisolfi says, “Today, it’s extremely hard unless you’re a programmer… and unless you know Ajax, Java script, and programming languages, you’re not going to create a mash-up.” But that’s where this IBM group is headed. With their web 2.0 class of tools– mash-up makers– ultimately, the high IQ guys and gals in IBM’s key installed base accounts will be able to create their own dashboards ad hoc and provision data across departments and groups without troubling anyone from IT at all.

Gisolfi and I waxed philosophically about the cultural trends that are driving Enterprise 2.0 and we agreed about the socio-cultural underpinnings. Now here is a guy who can fit squarely in both camps– traditional IT, wearing the IBM logo, yet can hold a respectable conversation on the latest in open source, or any web 2.0 technology. We agreed the new Enterprise 2.0 wave is not about technology. The technology is evolutionary and Gisolfi recounted many examples of initiatives IBM has been involved in for years that are now hyped as web 2.0. What’s different now, however, are the attitudes that eclipse the technology. He said, “Web 2.0 is a convergence of enablers… coming together at the right time, at the same time.”

We then talked about a possible rebirth of the systems integration industry– something I found intriguing. Gisolfi said, “For the IT guys, we’re not taking away work, we’re creating a new type of work. Instead of doing integration of monolithic applications, today, you’re going to create granular software components.” He used Sarbanes-Oxley as the perfect example of the need for a customized, daily mashboard. He described using a business analyst or consultant to define the data indicators and then pass it to a software guru to render it and provision it as a mashboard.

It’s at this point, I started thinking about the sweet-margin business of the late 80s: systems integration. I checked in with Graham Kemp, who tracked the SI market in those days. Graham said, “In the late 80s, SI margins were good… in the high teens… and FM (facilities management [outsourcing]) margins were fair (low teens). As the 90s came in, both dropped.”

On EDS’ Next Big Thing blog a few days ago, I read with some interest a post resurrecting the “I” word:

For a long time, the Fellows have been talking about the movement away from the Chief Information Officer to the Chief Integration Officer. The integration of process and information flow between and across the enterprise to enable greater flexibility is where all organizations need to be headed.

And as I just wrote recently to the head of analyst relations at CSC, before all outsourcers were called outsourcers, they were systems integrators. It might be time to ditch the losing battle in the ITO market, and start putting up recruiting booths on MySpace. There may be high margin opportunity introducing the Global 2000 to Enterprise 2.0.

Seismic Shifts in the Software Industry

I listened in today on NetSuite’s hosted Enterprise 2.0 and the Software Industry webinar featuring’s M.R. Rangaswami. I was amazed by some of the statistics in the presentation, but remember, I’m new to some of this stuff by five years. For instance, M.R. said Sandhill had done some research and is reporting that 90% of all software firms are now using offshoring for some element of their development. I also was surprised to hear that 80% of a CIO’s IT budget is already committed to maintenance before the year even begins… the point being a mere 20% is left for innovation. He also said Sandhill had counted over 500 Web 2.0 companies, but was quick to point out that, “None of these companies know how to make money.”

NetSuite, a SaaS app, and whose product looked very impressive, btw, said the webinar would be available on their site.

This issue about the IT budget is one where I’m not sure everyone is on the same Enterprise 2.0 page. A few days ago I was pestering poor, old Gary Fernandes (who is really neither) about this point. Gary used to trot out this slide back in the old days while I was covering EDS. It showed how, on average, the IT budget was a mere 10% of the operating budget of most corporations. As Gary was EDS’ Chairman of A.T. Kearney, and the BPO market was just beginning in those days, he was always interested in how EDS could get its hands on the other 90%. Enterprise 2.0 is Gary’s dream come true. The big opportunity here for tech companies is not with the IT budget gestapo, it’s selling directly to the lines of business that can produce real returns on small investments.

I tried to make this point to Vinnie Mirchandani today, who knows better. I know there will be a lot of push back on this issue. And, I’m a lover, not a fighter, but hey– it is a revolution whether you’re the revolutionary type or not.

Enterprise 2.0 and TCO?

I’ve decided to start tracking what I consider to be “Enterprise 2.0” companies. In pursuit of that, I was perusing JackBe‘s blogs and this post by Mike Wagner got my attention about Enterprise Mashups and TCO. The Enterprise 2.0 movement with its disintermediating affect is poised to seriously impact all discussions surrounding TCO, yes?

I’m getting together with Dan Gisolfi from IBM’s Emerging Internet Technology group in the next 10 days. Gisolfi ‘s group, led by Rod Smith, is fully engaged in the business of mashup-making. They’re pulling together data from intranets and local data for clients using their IBM mashup maker technology. He gave me an example using Home Depot’s finance department and provisioning the finance department with widgets, dashboards and mashboards… By his own admission, he sees a lot of what’s going on as new and that his group is a little ahead of the curve– they’re still having conversations internally with IBM, let alone getting to all IBM’s installed base. I’m looking forward to this meeting. I’m going to ask him about the TCO question too.

Interesting web 2.0/enterprise 2.0 trivia tidbit: Did you know Sam Ruby– one of the innovators of ATOM– is part of IBM’s emerging technology group? Not many people think of IBM as a leader in the new new Internet, but maybe they should?

Check out Dan’s blog. And these articles by Heather DalleTezze, Cal Evans, and Martin LaMonica are excellent resources explaining IBM’s Mashup Maker technology announcement last month.

If you are an Enterprise 2.0 firm, please email me. (