Most enterprises consider business applications to be their priority. Enterprises haven’t given importance to becoming information-centric all these years but it is visibly changing. Priority business applications are ERP, business intelligence and accounting apps.

Primarily, these business applications have helped organizations convert ‘unstructured information’ into a ‘structured format’ that allows for easier management of business critical information. But, organizations have realized that this alone is not enough and there is a lot of knowledge that is available in different forms and buried in different processes across the organization. It becomes imperative for them to manage such content and capture knowledge to be efficient in their business.

This has prompted many enterprises to look at text mining tools that would allow them to do in-depth mining of ‘unstructured text’, both online and offline information, and convert them into actionable inputs for enterprises. This will include customer complaints, call center transactions, email communication etc. Though, this certainly is a few years away for this to become an enterprise priority.

Enterprises definitely have a taken a step in that direction where information-centricity will be sought, with other business applications and data mining application.

Advertisements

ISVs that engineer enterprise software face a number of challenges with respect to flexibility, scalability, extensibility, availability, performance etc. In my mind, the top three challenges that enterprise software face today are:

  • Integration with third party software and IT systems
  • Transaction types from different data sources and support for disparate client types
  • High-volume transaction capability

If a software is architected keeping in mind these three challenges, most issues related to the enterprise software will cease to exist.

It has been sometime since I have posted anything in my blog and it has been slightly over 5 months. I am back to active blogging on this space and there have been some changes in what I am personally doing as well. I will have them updated in the next few days. Coming to the main portion of this post….

There is a lot of consolidation happening across the ISV space; quite a few big names are getting absorbed into other companies. Peoplesoft, Siebel, JDEdwards, Hyperion, Business Objects, Cognos, Opsware, Webmethods and JBoss have got acquired. Add to this, we have Pilot Software, Inxight, Outlooksoft, Applix, Telelogic, Xensource, Agile Software, Altiris and  WebEx. Some of the reasons for this trend are:

  • Commoditization of software sector
  • Need for big platform vendors to take over new markets as growth in their own businesses
  • Weak IPO market or weak stock markets
  • Competition from Open Source alternatives and investor pressures

With this trend, only the big platform players will survive and the ones that come to my mind are IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and to an extent SAP (maybe this could well get acquired in due course of time). Is the situation as bleak as it appears to be, and for all my money, it may well not be the case as there is far too much innovation that is happening on the ground:

  • Big names that have survived this are primarily vendors who are privately owned and are less commoditized.
  • New wave of startups – in virtualization, SaaS, enterprise web 2.0 have emerged and will grow to large ISVs and the cycle will continue
  • Pure plays will always be there as long as innovation takes place

This is the second part in the series on New Product Development that I posted on Nasscom Blog.

Plethora of programming languages and infrastructure libraries combined with agile methods has allowed organizations to remove the shackles of old software development practices. Just a handful of product engineers can build systems of great complexity and product engineering is successfully evolving…

Read this full post

This is a post that I did on Nasscom blog. This is a first part of the series on New Product Development, specifically on software products. This series primarily talks about the changing landscape of software product development, efficient product engineering and what should be the core focus of software product companies.

Read this full post

I’ve been having a series of discussions around innovation and whether it is a key to success in the Software Products space.  The more and more I discuss around it and get to hear people speak about innovation, it is becoming increasingly obvious that there is no central theme that defines what is innovation. I thought, I will make an attempt to define what it is and its significance from a Software Vendors perspective.

To set the context right, let us define what is product innovation. It is bringing to life of something new that will help solve the customer’s problems and that which will benefit the customer as well as the vendor. To go further and explain what it is:

  • Product innovation will mean different things to different people.
  • Product innovation for a vendor can be a process innovation for the end-user
  • Product innovation is a crowd sport and is not just the brainchild of an individual
  • Product innovation can be equated with both art as well as science. Anything radical can be viewed as art and everything incremental can be viewed as science.
  • Innovation is typically represented as a series of steps starting with ideation, user research, experimental development and prototype design. There seems to be a message in these steps and it relates more towards science than art. This will allow for innovating consistently, though I am not sure as to how easy or difficult it would be to ideate.  
  • The best way to innovate in my mind would be to look for ways and means by which you can help your customers solve their problems efficiently. Doing this, it is only natural for one to stumble on innovations consistently.
  • The other way of looking at innovation can be – don’t do business plans; don’t estimate costs; don’t do cash flow; don’t do a presentation; just get busy, and probably this has more probabilities of resulting in what solves your customer problems.

I recently wrote an article on this topic, which got published in Global Services Media. This is what it talks about…..

Haven’t we all heard about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), or on-demand as it is popularly known, and the buzz surrounding it? Thankfully, it doesn’t remain a buzz anymore. Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) are taking it seriously as its benefits are considered real…. Read the full article