Archive for May 2012

In the original Star Wars movie, Obi Wan, aka “Ben,” Kenobi described the force as something that surrounds us and binds us all together. Those who believe in the Force can use its power to do things that some might consider impossible. The key to its power is belief in it.

Today’s IT environment appears to have a new force behind it and that’s the force created by vendor-driven communities. Like the Star Wars Force, communities require belief in it to harness its power. Those that do will be able to drive more value from their technology purchases than those that choose not to leverage it.

I still think there is tremendous amount of innovation to be done by Cisco and Polycom to stay ahead of the competitive curve.

I read an article in Forbes titled “5 Reasons Cisco And Polycom Are In Trouble In Telepresence” by Jeff Cavins, CEO of FuzeBox, a cloud based conferencing and telepresence services company.

The author makes the point that the combination of cost, cloud, mobile, interoperability and collaboration will take the two telepresence market leaders, Cisco and Polycom down. I’ve had a couple of people ask me about this so I thought it was worth a response.

First, let’s look at the author. Jeff Cavins is the CEO of FuzeBox. The mission of the company is to disrupt the status quo where success would be measured in taking a chunk out of Polycom and Cisco. I don’t really want to say his viewpoint is skewed, but he runs an entire company built on this belief so it’s logical he would have this point of view.

RIM held its annual “BlackBerry World” conference recently in Orlando and while I didn’t attend the event live, I did have the opportunity to interview a number of people that did and followed the news with great interest.  The messages from RIM since new CEO Thorsten Heins has take the reins have been decidedly enterprise-focused, which makes sense given RIM’s roots. 

However, I do wonder if the tipping point has passed and the demise of RIM is now a fait accompli.  RIM is promising to refocus on the enterprise buyer but does the enterprise buyer really want RIM any more? One of the interesting points that I’ve picked up from the interviews is that, RIM’s last holdout of support, corporate IT, isn’t happy with the company any more.

I’ve been doing a series of interviews with IT executives over the past few months about their technology plans for the back half of 2012. I’ve had a number of discussions on a variety of topic areas but there has been a big theme that I’ve noticed. It seems one of the biggest challenges with IT is dealing with so many issues that were once exceptions to IT, or even not allowed, that have become part of the new norm for IT.

For example, and this has become obvious to most, take the whole BYOD wave. Consumer devices were once brought in on an exception basis. High-performing workers, business leaders and, my favorite, the loud worker who complains so much that IT caves were once the exceptions to the “no consumer device” policy. Now, of course, BYOD hasn’t just become the norm – many organizations use it as a way of attracting employees. One of the main drivers for BYOD revolves around another exception and that is the fact the users feel they have better technology at home than they do in the workplace. A decade ago, many individuals feared technology so they left the decision making to IT. Today, everyone’s an expert.

In theory, software defined networks (SDN) are this generation’s next “big thing” in networking. The promise of SDNs is to decouple the tight linkage between the physical infrastructure and the software running the network. This can help cloud providers manage their networks better, allow for true multi-tenant networking and aid in the movement of virtual machines. It’s so hot right now that almost every mainstream network vendor has an SDN strategy, as has given rise to many startups.

The long-awaited IPO for DDI (DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management) finally happened and, like Splunk the day before it, BLOX rocked. It opened at $16 and got as high as $23 and change during the trading day, settling in nicely at just under $21 per share.

It’s nice to see tech IPOs back and doing well. A few people have asked me if I thought this IPO was sustainable, and my answer each time was an emphatic “YES,” for the following reasons.

First, despite some of the recent tech misses this quarter, technology is on the upswing. I think the recent quarterly misses were more due to internal execution problems than a weak macro. So a good tech market will itself fuel more interest.

There’s a song called “Pass the Dutchie” from the early 80’s by a band long gone called the Musical Youth that starts “this generation rules the nation.” It’s not that great a song, but I heard it today while driving home and for some reason I started thinking about how “This Generation” of youths has ruled the mobile phone nation.

Apple’s rise from the ashes to the highest market cap company of all time was largely due to the iPhone, and Google’s mobile play, of course, has been as successful as Android has been popular.

I’ve been reading the trade rags and have seen all the hype around Windows Phone 8 and how its going to take the industry by storm and challenge both iPhone and Android, and to that I take another line from the song, which goes “how does it feel when you got no food?” – food, in this case, meaning subscribers or appeal.

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