You say you want a revolution? We-e-ll, ya kno-ow…we all want to change the world…

I knew these worlds would collide (the Interactive Agency market and Enterprise 2.0). Shiv Singh at the Enterprise Solutions practice at Avenue A | Razorfish published this primer yesterday explaining Web 2.0 for the Enterprise. It’s a cultural tectonic plate shift taking place.

His summary spells out my argument:

Web 2.0 (its technology and values) is here to stay. The web is not about publishing content and making it available to employees, partners, and customers. That was Web 1.0. This time it’s about letting those customers, partners, and employees take control of the online experience.

I love the fact he paired technology and values. I would lead with values. Values are what drive revolutions; the techology is an enabler.

REA-lly cool; check it out

On my pestering list on the hunt for “proof cases” has also been JackBe. By now, I’m sure Mike Wagner wishes he never commented on my blog. This little firm here on the East Coast, however, has some rock’n blue chip, international customers. I’ve been doggin’ Wagner for case studies, and he’s been patiently telling me they were about to launch a new web site with “new Enterprise 2.0 positioning.” If you want a good explanation for why IT and non-IT folks should be interested in Enterprise tools, read this white paper on Ajax from JackBe.

The new site launched yesterday. What I really liked was the initiative the company took to coin a new acronym, “REA.” It stands for Rich Enterprise Applications. Read for yourself what it’s all about.

I’m trying to wrap my head around this, but it appears JackBe has the secret sauce to unite SOA with Ajax. Read this excellent article written by Deepak Alur JackBe’s VP of Engineering published this week for a better explanation. All I know for sure is JackBe “already counts among its satisfied clients more than 30 industry leaders worldwide supporting more than 4 million end users. Customers include Forbes, Citigroup, McKesson, Tupperware, Sears and Banamex. The company’s deployments and deep expertise span the financial services, government, e-commerce and telecommunications sectors” according to its bio line, and that’s pretty impressive to me for a company exclusively focused on the Enterprise 2.0 sector.

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. ([email protected])

Musings on LBI International AB announcement

I met my deadline early, so I will post some commentary here on the LBI/Framfab announcement. What we have here is a post-dot-com era rollup strategy. LBI International is now, unquestionably, the largest interactive agency in Europe. Robert (Pickering) told me in an interview recently that LBI is roughly 10x larger than the number 2 player in Europe and that the company is #3 in the world and probably #4 if you include Sapient. His plan to grow the company is still expanding. Margins have improved about 20% a quarter for the past six quarters and still moving up. Utilization is in the 50% range with a lot of opportunity for improvement. Overall the company has been growing 40% a year– organically 20% a year. With cash on the balance sheet and zero debt, the company share price has steadily been improving over 49% a year.

This is what Robert does. He’s a financial guy. He’s got the stret cred of a turnaround CEO. He did it at Philips global IT division, Origin B.V. and he’s doing it here. The question is, however, has this industry matured enough to withstand the weight of a rollup strategy? In web 1.0 the first to crumble were the rollups– iXL, USWeb/CKS, Luminant, etc. I may be off base here, but recognizing that these firms, interactive agencies, are largely creative services firms, there may be the same recurring issues. Creative people don’t always mesh; creative people are not a labor pool. Maybe the Europeans are cooler than Americans afterall, and they can “mashup” a culture. Any American who has spent time in Europe or the U.K. in a pub during World Cup season would be hard-pressed to believe that. I guess time will tell.

LBIcon/Framfab merger closed today

I don’t have time to comment on this today because I’m on deadline.  It’s worth posting the press release info, however.  I will come back post-deadline with comments.

From the Press Release:

LBI International AB, Europe’s leading digital and interactive agency is born

With today’s registration of the merger between Framfab and LB Icon the leading digital and interactive agency in Europe has been born. The combined entity will adopt its new name, LBI International AB, as of August 1. In addition to the existing listing on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, LBI International AB will as from August 1, be listed on Eurolist by Euronext in Amsterdam. The new company symbol (ticker) on both exchanges will be “LBI”.

 

The Swedish Companies Registration Office (the “SCRO”) has today registered the merger between Framfab AB and LB Icon AB. The SCRO has also registered the issue of 35,634,133 new Framfab shares which will be used as merger consideration where LB Icon shareholders receive one Framfab share for each LB Icon share. The new shares are expected to be registered on LB Icon shareholders’ accounts on August 1. Following the registration of the merger and the new issue of shares, Framfab has in total 60,522,946 shares outstanding.     

 

The registration of the merger and the new issue completes the merger process from a legal perspective and as a result LB Icon has been dissolved. LB Icon will be delisted from the Stockholm Stock Exchange and Eurolist by Euronext in Amsterdam as of August 1. The last day of trading in LB Icon shares on the Stockholm Stock Exchange was July 26 and the last day of trading in LB Icon shares on Eurolist by Euronext in Amsterdam is today, July 31.

 

On July 13 Framfab held an extraordinary shareholders meeting where it was resolved that the parent company Framfab AB, subject to the registration of the merger, would change its name to LBI International AB. With today’s registration of the merger such condition has been fulfilled and as of August 1, the merged entity currently known as Framfab AB will be renamed LBI International AB. The completion of the merger process between Framfab and LB Icon and the related name change to LBI International AB marks the creation of the leading digital and interactive agency in Europe.  

 

Don’t count out the Big Guys…

A press release issued today from my old friends at EDS caught my eye. EDS announced the company built a secure, web-based portal for its long-time outsourcing customer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA). According to the release, EDS integrated several of BCBSMA's internal systems in order to provide convenient and simple access to a host of administrative information and provider processes to BCBSMA's network of 35,000 physicians and healthcare providers.

I was just talking yesterday to Larry Bissinger who leads analyst relations for EDS, making the point that veteran IT Services players and outsourcers are in an enviable position to bring next generation technology to the best customers. Take the BCBSMA relationship for EDS. I remember a DATAMATION column I wrote in June of 1994 where employees who were outsourced to EDS sued BC/BS and received $9M in a class action law suit. It was a landmark case at the time. EDS and BCBSMA survived all the spectacle and strain that must have put on their relationship, and the relationship has been renewed and extended a few times since the first deal-signing. Joe Fraser, the EDS client delivery executive, has been there for 15 years. With those roots, it's logical that BCBSMA would turn to EDS first when they want to investigate technology improvements. Granted, some of the improvements are already in scope of their existing agreements, but EDS is more than the sum of its contract parts. My point here is, we should expect to see innovation and business model reinvention coming from old, familiar places. Not everyone will abandon their preferred vendors for the "hot shop."