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Archive for December 2010

There is a number of interesting business software trends on the horizon for 2011. Apparently, some of them will significantly impact IT organizations. Awareness of such trends can help you to keep ahead of the competition.

These business software trends should continue to be watched and should influence decision making in the coming year:

Mobile computing remains important, exciting and risky: Mobile applications present some inherent risks for two reasons. First, a poorly designed mobile application will have difficulty gaining user acceptance. When designing mobile apps, one must consider not only the form factor change in the user interface, but also the scope of the application itself. There is a need for more fine-grained applications that perform and function well.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, the mobile market is still extremely fluid. As Apple, Google, Microsoft and traditional carriers and manufacturers continue to introduce new devices and an approach, picking a stable platform remains a difficult decision. While many have already jumped into mobile applications, they have sometimes come to regret their platform decisions.

Mix of in-house and outsourced services shifts: Business software continues to benefit from a foundation of enterprise software services known as service-oriented architecture (SOA). In 2011, IT managers pursuing a SOA strategy should pay special attention to the mix between in-house and outsourced services. As more and more applications and infrastructure are moved to the cloud, the barriers to external Web services may well be decreasing. Nevertheless, pay special attention to the service level agreements (SLAs) offered by Web services vendors. Also note that SOA is not a technology; it’s a model, a method and a strategy.

Enterprise software begins migrating to the cloud: The cloud computing buzz will continue into 2011, and this may well be the year when more serious platforms for cloud applications make the option of moving enterprise software to the cloud an enticing alternative. Look for cloud application platforms that allow you the option of cloud or on-premise deployment so as to preserve your options into the future. The private cloud will dominate this trend for a few years, especially with the larger companies who are risk averse and want to move into the cloud in smaller steps.

Organizations embrace software lifecycle management: Both developers and application managers need to pay attention to software lifecycle management for different reasons. Too many organizations have paid scant attention to the management of their enterprise software portfolios. In 2011, many organizations will be able to leverage the capabilities of integration to further extend software life and reduce the need for additional development. A formal approach to software lifecycle management may well be in order.

Graphical user interfaces get richer; maybe too much so: On one level, we will continue to see developers responding to users’ demands for applications that look better. In this regard, 2011 will be a year when some enterprise software developers may indeed go too far in the direction of impressive graphics at the expense of real transactional and business functionality.

Maybe you have something to add?

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group

The world of computing is at a crossroads. The primary computer for most users today is not a PC; it’s a phone. While our PC stands on a desk at the office or on a coffee table at home, Smartphone goes everywhere with us and is integrated into every part of our lives. However, despite getting smarter and smarter, phones are too small to replace PCs completely. We need a device bridging the gap between what PCs do and what mobile phones do. That device has arrived. Welcome to the age of the tablet.

Unlike earlier, arguably premature efforts to transform tablet computing into a mass-market reality, today’s models are here to stay. The new wave of slates is rolling in fast and furious, offering a tsunami of diverse options for every user. Although, most LI members have opposite point of view.

«My next PC probably won’t be a tablet. Mind; I like tablets; I have a tablet PC and a laptop PC and a small-format Unix-slate. But the tablet format PC is hard to find, expensive, and usually under-powered. If you want an anti-glare, outdoor readable screen it is even more expensive. Pity.»
James Bupp

«Nope. Not a tablet. I use too many applications that would not be supported on a tablet. Now, would I get both!?? Hell yes!!»
Jeff Tincher

«Tablet’s seem to be not quite ready for prime time. I’d get one if it were lighter, had greater battery capacity and could also serve as a book reader. I think there’d be a huge market for students, especially if textbooks could be easily accessed and annotated. The key here is ease of use. I’d also like to find a way for students to securely submit their work to an instructor, and a way for the instructor to verify its authenticity. Those are software issues, I know, but that kind of software must be available for the college or high school marketplace. I think we’ll get there eventually, but more needs to be done.»
Raymond Mignogna

«I certainly won’t replace PC with Tablet (iOS, Android)
its different field of game to play with and certainly cannot replace full brown OS like Linux / Windows. I have Android phone, tablet laptop, normal laptop and normal PC. When I am mobile, I am satisfied with the smart phone, when I am at work laptop/PC. Fortunately I am not in position to work while mobile, but if you are there are lots to consider for a tablet style devices. However, I think current generation of tablet devices iPad, Android tablets) are still not mature enough and I would wait for two or more UPGRADE before seriously considering my own money.»
James K Hong

«No… A tablet is too limiting… A PC also has a real keyboard that’s much easier to deal with than a flat, smooth version.»
Dave Maskin

«No, they are apples and oranges. I use them for different stuff. I don’t want to play games or write long articles or program using a virtual keyboard on a small screen.»
Irune Itoiz

«I might be tempted to purchase a tablet like the iPad if I can use it as a replacement for my old Palm Pilot in a way that lets me sync with a PC through some common software.»
Stephen O’Malley

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group

Even though Windows Phone is significantly behind iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, Microsoft has billions in cash and a superior developer tooling platform so if they stick with it and keep chipping away, I think Microsoft can claw their way back to relevance in the mobile smart phone market.

It will take a ton of hard work and discipline to pull this off, but Microsoft does have a fabulous software developer relations program, they are a company of developers for developers. No other company caters to and values their developer community more than Microsoft. If they can make it easy to develop fantastic applications quickly (in .Net programming languages that millions of .Net developers already know) on their Windows Phone platform and begin to recapture some of the market share they have lost, I think Microsoft stands a good chance at being a significant player in the mobile smart phone market within three years. The mobile phone market moves incredibly fast, so three years is a long time in that world.

I still feel that WP7 has a good chance of making inroads. I do not see it becoming an actual competitor, but it will be an alternative and should do well on its own. Developers will go wherever there is a chance to make money. IOS and Android are the obvious choices. Blackberry is falling behind in the casual consumer market, but still has a decent grasp of the business community. There is still enough Windows loyalist out there that will stay with the platform, and the phones themselves are nice enough to gain new “followers”. But in the long run iOS and Android will become the two main platforms simply due to economics. Dollar for dollar it is cheaper to produce Android phones due to not needing to license the software. Developers are all over the place for the big two, and there are apps in abundance.

I guess it depends how well it can work with the existing Microsoft’s operating systems and how much better it can perform vs. its competition. This is also hinged upon Microsoft keeping its majority share of the market with computer operation systems. Google came out with a new operating system and it’s for free. So things might get shaken up later on down the road.

Microsoft’s chief problem is getting past its bad reputation. Its mobile products were simply awful prior to Phone 7.

Nevertheless I’m pretty sure that Microsoft will win a piece of the market. It has power, money and a good different mobile OS. Also they have great development tools. And with the partnership with great mobile operators and great mobile phones, I’m pretty sure they will enter the fight. Windows Phone 7 is new, unique. It may not measure up to iPhone and Android right now…It eventually will win and will hopefully make upgrades painless.

Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group

Let’s play an old wise seer and attempt to predict the future of enterprise technology:

1/ “Tablet Mania” will continue, but not in the enterprise, at least unless…

After it has become evident that Apple sells its iPads almost as fast as they manufacture them, there have appears lots of hypnotized iPad killers’ producers with dollar signs in their eyes. Despite being an interesting form-factor it’s doubtful iPad (or any other tablet) will make huge impact in the enterprise unless some major shifts happen.
First off, towards ability to easily create content. Imagine the target enterprise user – an average worker….pecking away at the finicky onscreen keyboards of the current tablet – looks like only a true tablet devotee can stand it and love this. Average worker mostly composes emails and documents, gives presentations and other daily boring things called work rather than watches HD video or reads eBooks. To become a natural choice for enterprises tablets should be more about handwriting recognition, a gesture-based operating system, ease of navigation.
Secondly, to truly be useful at a corporate level there should be made a shift towards collaborative software. This means users should be able to easily share documents with a roomful of tablets, view and annotate each other’s materials, and then store the results in a format as natural as a paper notebook.
Purely from a financial point of view when many companies provide their employees with a laptop and a smartphone it will be pretty difficult to “squeeze” a $500+ device into their purchase basket as well. Perhaps it’s worth thinking about some budget form factor combining a laptop replacement: with wireless keyboards, mice and docking stations, etc; and a pure tablet format.

2/ Location-based services make headway

The tools – ubiquitous GPS-enabled phones – are finally in place, and individuals are ready to share their location. For B2C companies it means that the race to offer location-tailored advertising has begun and heats up. Also it opens the door for more creativity in enterprise applications, especially for various sales and promotion tools. Be careful to make any initial location-based applications user-friendly and beneficial, rather than big brother-style tracking and monitoring tools.

3/ Attack of smartphones: from the CEO down

Thanks to Microsoft all iPhones, Androids and Windows Phone 7 devices can now talk to the nearly ubiquitous Exchange mail server, so people from the CEO down are going to want their smartphone integrated with enterprise services, otherwise they will be forced to carry a boring dedicated work phone. That’s why enterprises will seek to create a supportive and device-independent policy around allowing personal smartphones to access corporate email and other services.

4/ Simply saying “cloud” with breathless reverence won’t impress anymore

The hype surrounding the cloud will definitely subside: while the best vendors thrive all the rest will dwindle, all to the betterment of the industry at large. Delicately saying “cloud” with breathless reverence won’t impress anymore, sure, financial benefits and increased service levels will still do.

These are some major trends. What is your point of view about them? Could you add some more trends to the list?
Will be glad to see your comments here.

Thanks in advance,
Helen Boyarchuk

Windows turned 25 last month, and there have been a lot of highlights during that time. Let’s remember some of the best of Windows over the last years.

Windows XP
This may well be the most loved version of Windows of all time — so much so that even though it was introduced back in 2001, XP remains the dominant version of Windows on PCs, and will be so for quite some time.
In XP Microsoft also revamped the Windows interface, giving it a more contemporary look, and added features including animated windows and background themes.

Windows 7
Microsoft recovered from the fiasco of Windows Vista with Windows 7. Windows 7 fixed many of Vista’s shortcomings, including hardware incompatibilities and upgrade problems. It enhanced the taskbar, and added useful navigation shortcuts known as Aero Peek, Aero Snap and Aero Shake. It’s more stable than Vista. Some people believe that it’s the operating system that Vista should have been.

Windows Phone 7
Strictly speaking, despite the “Windows” name in the title, this isn’t really Windows. It’s a completely different code, and a completely different operating system. But it’s been designed from the ground up to work with desktop Windows and extensions of Windows that Microsoft is moving to the cloud. So you can consider it, in a way, as an extension of Windows itself.
Microsoft’s mobile attempts before Windows Phone 7 were not particularly successful, and it ceded the entire Smartphone market to Apple and Android Phones. With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft finally has a competitor. Whether it can catch up remains to be seen. But at least now it’s in the race.

Do you have something to add about the history of Windows?

Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group

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