Tech Expectations

A deeper look at disruptive business and personal technology


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Your Enterprise Tech cheat sheet

As you speculate on who’s buying whom, who’s breaking up, who’s on the rise, and who’s in trouble, consider the Enterprise Technology stack. Hats off to Geoffrey Moore and the EMC M&A team who first taught me to think about the tech landscape in this way.

Technology markets are often controlled by “gorillas” or market leaders in particular parts of the stack. Consider the stranglehold Microsoft had for a long time in computer operating systems (dramatically reduced by Linux), or the continued dominance of Oracle in business databases (gradually being challenged by open source and the Cloud). Showing who has what in a stack orientation allows you to quickly scan gaps in a portfolio (that my need to be filled), alliances that may need to be formed, niche players that are being marginalized, etc.

This is a version 1 and would appreciate input. I had a tough time deciding whether to split Cloud vs. packaged/appliance into its own set of layers or not. I kept them as options within particular layers (e.g. database), but it may be more helpful to split them. In any case, here’s version 1. Let the speculation continue!

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An open letter to Ginni Rometty and IBM

letters

Ginni,

Last week, we presented a counterpoint to the recent negative press on IBM. I’ll take it a step further. I believe that IBM is actually the vendor that is closest to providing “Enterprise Cloud.” But what is sold, how it is sold, and the vision of the end result still needs a lot of work.

I’ve both competed against IBM at EMC and worked with IBM as a partner. When competing, our fear was getting maneuvered by IBM out of the deal when they went right to the CxO. When partnering with IBM, I was frankly surprised and disappointed at the fumbling. As a shareholder, I would have been livid.

  • Because of internal turf issues, IBM reps got stuck on whether to propose product, services, or cloud instead of focusing on what the customer wanted
  • Because differentiated core technologies like GPFS were positioned as products instead of part of a strategy and delivery model, they lost in feature-to-feature comparisons
  • There were repeatedly missed opportunities for leadership, where the customer was looking for a new vision of computing, blending attributes of traditional enterprise technology with the cloud – instead, the customer got generic positioning (or worse, marketing-speak)

I have three recommendations to address these issues.

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IBM has the access to beat AWS, Google, and others at Enterprise Cloud

IBM's access card to the Global 500

There’s a recent survey by IDC in which the vast majority of enterprise respondents name IBM as the vendor able to most effectively provide Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Surprisingly (sort of), the megascale public cloud providers, Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services come in 5th, 6th and 7th respectively. As a former AWS employee and cloud analyst who firmly believes that a public cloud with essentially unlimited scale, relentless consistency and automated metered service is the “real” cloud, I generally agree with the sentiment that the old line IT companies like IBM and HP have fallen way behind. But from a business strategy and perception viewpoint, it might be a different story.

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