Friday, June 06, 2008

Web 2.0 Strategies

I've noticed a little bit of a ding dong going on over Enterprise 2.0. At the heart of this is a wonderful quote from Jevon Macdonald (picked up Dennis Howlett's ZDNet article):

"The Drag Queens of Enterprise 2.0 are those old Enterprise software vendors who haven’t done anything to change their products, but instead they went out and have bought a nice dress and have put some eye shadow on their football player physiques."

This statement resonates with the changes occurring in the "cloud computing"1 world. IT is moving from a product to a serviced based economy and competition in this new world takes more than just adding "as a Service" to your product.

I had a peek at the schedule and there is a whole session on "cloud computing". I don't know the speakers but hopefully this will be a balanced view and not some sort of "our product" + "as a Service" vendor love-in. If anyone is going, I'm not, then I've provided a set of questions that you might want to ask2.

Now, it seems that Dennis' comments have drawn a bit of flak, even to the point that Steve Wylie, the Conference Director, has suggested that Dennis could save himself the trip.

Well, I'm really excited to be speaking at Web 2.0 Strategies in London on the 12th, alongside some stars of the Enterprise & Web world such as Euan Semple, Dion Hinchcliffe, Julie Meyer and Jeff Schick. So Dennis, if they want you stay away then come and join us instead.

Additional Notes:

1.Looking for a definition of "cloud computing" ..... join the club. James Urquhart has had several attempts at doing this but there so many vendors vying for "thought leadership" that the term keeps on getting mangled. It's like the Haas become IaaS, FaaS or PaaS becomes DaaS and SOA becomes ROA and WOA debate. If you're looking for an answer, sorry, but wait for five years until marketing and the pundits have moved on and then the terms will get cleaned up. For the time being just accept it as an ephemeral concept meaning that your systems will exist somewhere on the internet, probably.

2."When people talk about the 'cloud' they often use analogies to public utilities. However, when I change my electricity provider, I don't normally need to rewire my house. I want that same easy switching in the 'cloud computing' world. I want to move from Microsoft, to IBM, to Amazon and back again, at a click of switch. I want portability, interoperability and choice. You wouldn't catch manufacturing using services without second sourcing options, I don't see why IT should be different.

Can the panel :

  • demonstrate an example of two large independent 'computing cloud' providers that I can simply switch between. I can change electricity providers with a quick phone call and no downtime - I'd like the panel to show me how to do that with one of their systems or alternatively explain how I'm going to avoid lock-in?
  • explain how portability and interoperability is going to be achieved without the core systems being completely open sourced? We know that the standards approach, for example POSIX & SQL and a myriad of others, has failed in the past to achieve such goals.
  • explain how something which is ubiquitous and well defined, and therefore suitable for provision as a service, is anything but a cost of doing business? Shouldn't the customer focus be on price and quality of service alone?