January 20, 2006

The Power of Portals

I did a webinar last week on portal technology. On that webinar, I promised to post a link here to my whitepaper on third-generation analytic business processes. Done. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

The webinar was pretty fast-moving, so I’d encourage you to replay it if you have a bit of time. But if you want to know just the tippy-topmost key points, the list is something like this:

January 13, 2006

Hear Curt Monash online – three times!

The world has hardly suffered from a lack of opportunities to hear me speak. I first appeared on radio and TV in 1973, first taught a college course in 1977, and have rarely shut up ever since. But until recently, I hadn’t gotten involved with the various forms of Web broadcasting. Well, that suddenly changed, and this month alone you have three different opportunities to hear me hold forth.

1. John Gallant put me on “The Hot Seat” at Network World’s offices, discussing a few provocative questions about the direction of the software industry. The video/audio may now be found on their site. Sadly, while I could quibble and say the camera angle was a bit unflattering, in essence that is what I really look like these days.

2. I participated in a Webinar for SAP called “Beyond Transactions: The Power of Portals.” The theme was that if you want to build or buy an app that’s mainly about data flowing back and forth between parts of the computer system, traditional technologies are fine. But if you want an app that has rich human contact with information, portals are often a superior technology.

I am told a link will be available within the week. Watch this blog for details.

3. On Wednesday, January 25, at 11 am EST, I am participating in – indeed, doing most of the talking for – a Webinar on Memory-Centric Data Management. The host is Applix. The focus will naturally be on the part they care most about (in-memory MOLAP), but it will also be the first time I speak about an area on which I’ve done a considerable amount of recent writing and research.

You can register for this Webinar here.

December 14, 2005

SAP’s corporate blogging

Jeff Nolan seems to be the head of blogging for SAP, or something like that. He’s a little concerned about SAP’s lack of openness. Meanwhile, I’m praising SAP for it’s openness.

I guess it’s all a matter of what your expectations are.

December 9, 2005

SAP’s technical strategy

I just posted an extensive discussion of SAP’s technical strategy over on the DBMS2 blog. Key takeaways include:

1. SAP is serious about SOAs and, in most regards, openness.
2. SAP’s strategy does not gladden the hearts of top-tier DBMS vendors.

I also dinged them for being clueless about how to succeed in text search, but hey — nobody’s perfect, and there’s still time for them to fix the problem.

One interesting aspect of their strategy that did not fit into the above-mentioned server-oriented post is their take on UI. They said again and again and again that it is important to provide a high degree of UI freedom in accessing the same underlying application services. (Except that they usually referred to the services as — no surprise here — “business processes.”) This is a reversal from their prior belief that a transactional screen — or a portal page — was sufficient for everybody.

In general, the enterprise software industry is getting a lot more sophisticated about and competitive in it’s work on UI. I should post about that soon. (The point has come up repeatedly in my work on BI, with SAP, Business Objects, and others.)

December 8, 2005

SAP — the Un-Oracle

I just spent a couple of days at the SAP Analyst “Summit.” And while all large software companies have quite a bit in common, I came away with the renewed feeling that SAP and Oracle are about as different as two huge, competitive software companies in similar businesses can be. Read more

November 21, 2005

Why Oracle doesn’t “get it” about apps

Since the mid-1980s, Oracle has put huge investment and market strength behind its apps efforts. Given those resources, success has been extremely limited. Obviously, there are many reasons for this run of (relative) failure, including a lot of internal management/cultural/political issues. But much of the problem can be summed up in one short phrase: Oracle doesn’t fully understand the importance of business process.

The majority of an application can be created by the following three-step process:

1. Design the right database.
2. Automatically generate the add/change/delete/query/report functionality.
3. Add other BI/analytic functionality as needed.

And Part 3 is a relatively recent addition in most cases.

But that’s not the whole story. What’s left over can be described as “business process,” which is where SAP shines. And Oracle underrates business process. To see what I mean, go to SAP’s web site, search on “business process,” and look through the first few pages of results. Then try the same exercise on Oracle’s. There’s a dramatic difference. Siebel’s and Saleforce.com’s sites also talk much more about “business process” than Oracle’s does.

So far as I can tell, Oracle has always believed that if you design the right database — and create the obvious interfaces to it — you’ll have a great application. I remember Larry Ellison seeming to believe that in very early days, before Jeff Walker led the first high-investment Oracle apps effort. The whole CASE-model-based vertical apps strategy of the early 1990s clearly depended on that premise, and probably failed because of the premise’s flaws. And finally, I remember a bizarre conference call in connection with the release of some generation of Oracle’s app dev tools in the late 1990s, which Larry touted as one of the most important events in the entire history of software. I can’t imagine him saying that unless he thought that these tools would automatically generate your apps for you. But they couldn’t actually do that – and the extent to which they couldn’t was almost exactly the extent to which they didn’t capture the business process aspects of the app.

So will Oracle overcome its longstanding business process blind spot, now that it’s made such a huge bet on apps? It well might. But until it does, Oracle’s prospects in the app business aren’t good at all.

Related links

← Previous Page

Feed including blog about enterprise technology strategy and public policy Subscribe to the Monash Research feed via RSS or email:


Search our blogs and white papers

Monash Research blogs

User consulting

Building a short list? Refining your strategic plan? We can help.

Vendor advisory

We tell vendors what's happening -- and, more important, what they should do about it.

Monash Research highlights

Learn about white papers, webcasts, and blog highlights, by RSS or email.