Thursday, March 18, 2010

Netbooks in the Enterprise - Yes/No/Maybe?

Much interest has been generated by the introduction of a new PC form-factor. Netbooks are a rapidly evolving category of small, light and relatively inexpensive laptop computers. Their diminutive size and improved battery life have made them an interesting alternative to traditional corporate laptop system options. So, the question remains, are they well suited for the average corporate use? Let’s investigate.
First, the positives. The physical design offers a very small, transportable form factor, typically weighing around 3 pounds. Most netbooks are equipped with multiple networking options, many including internal 3G and 4G network services. Finally, the use of smaller screens and reduced power processors increase battery life by an average of 90 minutes over traditional full-sized laptops.

Now, the challenges. A smaller, lower resolution screen typically is seen as too small and unable to display enough information at one time. Low power processors combined with very low RAM capacities (typically 1GB) dramatically reduce the processing power available to even the most basic applications such as PowerPoint, audio conferencing and multitasking. Finally, because of the reduced physical size, keyboards are reduced in size, making it difficult for most users to accurately touch type with them.

What is the market saying? Forrester Research indicates that 33% of PC consumers are interested in a Netbook PC, but only as a second or third computing resource. Forrester further states “ Consumer product strategists should reinforce the idea that netbooks are complements to, rather than replacements for, traditional PCs through their product development and marketing strategies.”. Our own research mirrors those results. Netbook systems simply don’t have the power to satisfy routine computing requirements. The added file transfer management and licensing costs of using a Netbook as a supplemental computing device simply can’t be justified for most users.

As more capable, power frugal processor technologies are introduced, perhaps the Netbook format will become more applicable to the enterprise environments. Gartner’s 2009 Hype Cycle for PC Technologies suggests another 2 to 5 years before such developments become available and practical, and then only predicting those improvements will have a moderate impact in the overall PC technology environment. Until then, Netbooks remain an excellent home computing tool for web and social networking. However, they fall short in delivering the kind of performance and usability corporate PC users demand.

(submitted by John Laughhunn)

Transparency and Supplier Management

Jason Busch from Spend Matters discusses his view that visibility, transparency, and supplier management are on the rise for 2010. He argues by focusing on financial, social, and performance transparency businesses will be able to become more flexible and react better to market fluctuations. However, the real question remains how to achieve it.

Cloud Computing - It’s all in the Apps

In Part 3 of Bernard Golden's series on the cloud computing revolution, he discusses the emerging role of the App in cloud computing. As the development costs drop and the architecture allows lighter weight applications that process greater amounts of data (i.e. the Google handheld translator) it creates the perfect and profitable environment for App development. In short he argues that the cost effectiveness, ease of deployment, and architecture of cloud computing facilitates the exponential development of apps. Taken together it becomes a self-reinforcing dynamic. One need only look at the popularity of Apps on the iPhone and Android to see this dynamic in action.

Going Goo Goo Over Google

Never mind competing to host the Olympics, the current competition is about hosting Google's new ultra-high speed fiber-optic trial run - free installation of a network delivering Internet speeds 100 times faster than the current speeds we are accustomed to. The average Net connection in the U.S. is 3.9 megabits per second which is well behind speeds in South Korea and Japan of 14.6 and 7.9 megabits per second respectively. Google's new ultra-high speed broadband network would provide 1 gigabit per second. For the winning community or communities, Google will incur all costs to install cable to all businesses and homes. That works out to between $3000 and $8000 per home. The network would be "open access" that service providers such as phone and cable companies could piggyback on and then compete for customers. For Google's part, it stands to benefit by expanding its advertising business. Google is now soliciting applications from communities ac! ross the country with closing date of March 26. More than a handful of communities are stepping up with some very creative and wacky ideas to call attention to their community and hopefully be awarded the prize.

(submitted by Judi Carithers)

I'd Like to Thank the Academy - The Shorty Awards Honor Best Tweets of the Year

And the winner is…
The Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences, now in its second year, honors the best uses of San Francisco's Twitter micro-blogging service as it presents its Shorty Awards, the "Oscars of Twitter". The Shorties, created by Sawhorse Media with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, were awarded in a wide range of categories including customer service, government, journalism, finance, humor, design, entertainment, tech, and many more.

(submitted by Tom Kline)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Government Performance Management- Building Dashboards of Accountability

In an effort to bring greater transparency to legislative policymaking, the U.S. Federal, state, and local governments have been recently been developing and launching a series of public facing performance dashboards. Recent deployments include the open government dashboard, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and big project tracking. Many of these initiatives stem from the stimulus recovery tracking. There has been a push and pull demand for this. The Obama administration has been pushing these efforts aggressively working to support these efforts at the same time the digitally enabled public has been requesting them. The government is using the same software used by the private sector (Oracle, SAP, IBM, etc...) to produce these performance management dashboards. That said, the article does point out the need for quality data, both in terms of providing clean and relevant data. In the upcoming months, look for the government to produce a financial data quality dashboard, a performance management dashboard, and an R&D spending dashboard.

Read the article.

Can’t Get No Satisfaction- Survey Shows ERP Users Underwhelmed

Panorama consulting just published their 2010 ERP Report based their survey of 1600 ERP global implementations. Their key findings note that 32% of executives are dissatisfied and 39% of end users are dissatisfied with their ERP systems. In the report they note 5 areas that lead to such high rates of dissatisfactions:
  • Picking the wrong software
  • Misaligned expectations
  • Implementations are often over budget and behind schedule
  • Employees are left behind
Download Panorama's Report.

Predicting the Future- The Heavyweights Weigh In

See what Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), GE Wang (Co-Founder of Smule), Jimmy Wales (Founder of Wikipdeia), Steve Balmer (CEO of Microsoft), and others talk about how they see the future of the web. This is part of the BBC's upcoming season exploring the impact the Internet has had on society.

Watch video highlights.

See all the interviews.

Submitted by Simon Rycraft

Facebook- King of Social Sharing

As a follow up to our previous article about Facebook as leading social sharing (previously reported here), newly released statistics show just how dominating Facebook is. Many sites these days (including ATKPAS) have "share this" buttons that allow users to easily share content from web sites to social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc...). The article cites Facebook with 44% of the social sharing activity. Further, According to Facebook users share 5 billion pieces of content each week. There is little doubt anymore to the importance of connecting people through technology.

Read the article.

Feels Like Star Trek- Hand-held Language Translator

The concept of a hand-held universal language translator is no longer confined to the imaginations of science-fiction writers. New developments in the fields of cloud-computing and wireless technology are laying the foundations for Google and others to develop smart-phone features that will translate written text into another language in near real time using optical character recognition software. Read the Story.

Submitted by Tom Kline

Monday, March 1, 2010

Purchasing 3.0- How Purchasing Technology is Evolving

Despite the exceedingly cliched title, this is a very interesting article about the current and evolving nature of procurement technology; namely the incorporation of mobile technology, social networking, collaboration technologies, and expanded use of relational database skills. Using the data from a survey conducted, author David Hannon identifies how use of technology areas within procurement are ever expanding. For example, noting the limitations of ERP systems and decreasing help from IT organizations, procurement people are increasingly having to rely on or develop greater skills with relational databases. There is a brief discussion of how social networking and mobile technology are affecting the purchasing organization, but sadly these only briefly describe what people have been doing for several years (i.e. Linked In for jobs and groups). Further, the article highlights the use of Microsoft Project, but fails to address its inherent limitations (lack of visibility). That said SIG's Dawn Evans discusses how they use the Microsoft online communications toolset (SharePoint, Outlook, Communicator). All in all a great article for starting a discussion or debate about procurement technology.

Submitted by Dia Lasisi

So Close, Yet So Far- Business Intelligence and Business Analytics

In this article author Samuel Greengard discusses the challenges and benefits of Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics (BA) within an organization. The article defines BI as the "mechanics of turning data into information" and BA as creating value from that information. He notes that while most large corporations use these tools over 35% fail to make effective use of what they have. Many of the challenges identified include, lack of access to key data, the inflexibility of BI tools, and simply a lack of understanding or strategy on how to approach BI/BA. Perhaps the biggest impediment is the rapidly changing nature of the data, which now includes increasingly unstructured data (audio and video), web 2.0, mobile applications, and the need to use Internet based data for mashups. Naturally this complexity is further encumbered by the growing cost and complexity of IT. Greengard offers one note of optimism for these computing. As companies are able to effectively move BI/BA data into the cloud it is possible that this will open up access, transparency, and lower cost.

Included in this article are examples of how BI/BA are being used by Hallmark, Kent County Council (in the U.K.), and Independent Health (using SPSS). Read the article.

Submitted by Walter Alvendia