The Village View

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Predictions 2007 - A necessary(?) evil

Here are a couple of things that I think we may see happen in 2007:

Oracle will announce "early" availability of Fusion Apps

In keeping with its own style of marketing, Oracle will announce availability of Fusion Applications in 2007 and claim it is "3 years ahead of SAP" (SAP's next major release is in 2010, although many smaller enhancement packages will be available before then). This "Fusion Apps" release will, in substance, not really be a new product, but rather a marketing ploy. I would imagine it would be some revamped version of E-Business Suite rebranded as Fusion (as Oracle has done with some existing middleware components). One purpose will be to jumpstart upgrades of, and commitment to, E-Business Suite as this product is the smoothest (and cheapest) upgrade to Fusion. The other purpose will be pure marketing

Oracle will double down on the SMB market

I anticipate that Oracle will extend its reach in the "S" part of the SMB business. To a substantial degree Oracle already plays in this space, mostly through its JD Edwards product line. However, there is still a white (or at least grey) space at the lower end of the SMB market that is not completely covered by JDE or EBS Special Edition. In addition, Oracle will likely feel the need to respond to SAP's recent increased push (both marketing & product announcements) into the SMB space. I see two possible Oracle actions in this space in 2007:

  • Acquire NetSuite or Larry Ellison owns the majority of NetSuite shares and the company has recently announced plans to file to go public. An acquisition (either pre or post IPO) would allow Ellison to cash out and would nicely fill in the space at the low end of the SMB space for Oracle. Right now, Sage and Intuit play heavily in this market. Ellison was also an early backer of and there are constantly rumors of being acquired. IBM or Oracle are, to me, the only real candidates. would play nicely into Ellison's stated goal of having more subscription revenue for Oracle.
  • Increase marketing and investment in JDE product line. My sense is that a not-unimportant part of Oracle's "organic" growth is coming from the PSFT/JDE product line. With the Applications Unlimited announcement and the short term fear of being pushed to Fusion alleviated, customers have seemed willing to increase their investment in their PSFT/JDE installations. I'm hearing that JDE revenue has been strong recently. If Oracle's latest quarterly earnings results are any indicator, then Oracle will need to get application revenue from where it can. If customers are satisfied with JDE, why wouldn't Oracle push this product line?

Google moves into Enterprise Apps business beginning with CRM

I anticipate that 2007 is the year that lightweight CRM functionality will become commoditized through an advertising-supported revenue mode. I would imagine that the offering would start with Sales Force Automation, Contact Management, and maybe some simple Marketing Automation functionality, as these are among the most demanded. The solution will be delivered as a service (on demand) and I think Google is going to be the first one to do it.

The most effective route to market for an ad-supported application would be to focus on a large established online community. Such a community is easy to target and capture and generally shares similar solution requirements. Google has at least two such communities: Google Base and users of Google Apps for Your Domain.
Both of these user groups have both a need for a CRM product, and should generate sufficient page views to make it worthwhile for Google to offer the app.

A free, ad-supported, on demand CRM service could prove a useful tool to heavy Google Base sellers. Integration with AdSense, to allow analysis and automation of online advertising spend ( has already proven this is doable) and Google Checkout are no-brainers.

Likewise, if your company is already getting email, calendar and messaging functionality from Google(Apps for Your Domain) why not an easy-to-use CRM service? Click on a prospect and send them an email or IM, or schedule an event with them. I would imagine this would be most interesting to the low end of the "S" in the SMBs; say less than 50 employees.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Why I work in enterprise technology - by Charles Z

My colleague Charles doesn't post often, but you get a lot of bang from your buck with his posts. Goal for 2007: learn blogging best practices from Charles Z.

This one hits home for me being in New York. I've been trying to go to "tech" events here and most are internet and/or consumer focused. Need to find some software ones.

This article in the weekend’s New York Times sums up perfectly why I work in enterprise technology and not consumer web. If you haven’t read it, the article interviews a few VC’s who are increasingly using feedback from their kids to make investment decisions in consumer web companies.

5 Things you probably didn’t know about me

I got tagged by my SAP colleague Craig Cmehil. Not sure what it means (vanity probably) that I haven't posted in almost a week (Oracle earnings announcement kept me busy) and this is how I make my return.

1. I worked for a time as a wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service
2. I am a 5th generation (at least) Floridian
3. I missed the Internet boom in the US and caught the Latin American version while living in Buenos Aires (1998-2001)
4. I am handy with a gig and a cast net (see #2)
5. I am passionate about soccer, play at least once a week and went to the World Cup in Germany.

Ok, Kosin Huang, Dennis Howlett, Vinnie Mirchandani, Julia French, Isabel Wang, you're it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Would-Be Contender in Utilities: Oracle Buys SPL WorldGroup

My strategy team colleague, Kosin Huang, went on a tear today and posted 3 times to her blog, after somewhat of a blogging hiatus. In one of today's posts, she looks at Oracle's recent acquisition of SPL WorldGroup.

Why purchase SPL? Oracle's rationale was the following:
  1. Penetrate an industry where SAP is the clear leader. With SAP in a strong #1 position (over 800 utility customers & 300 CIS customers), Oracle saw an opportunity to buy a foothold in a market where it lacked presence.
  2. Existing Oracle utility products were weak or functionality was missing

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 announces AppStore Checkout and Referral

I listened to press event webcast yesterday in which Benioff

announced its AppStore vision and monetization strategy for the AppExchange marketplace. Customers will be able to use AppStore as a single source for trying, buying and deploying on-demand applications on the AppExchange....The AppStore Referral Program will provide access to marketing services intended to increase demand for partners' AppExchange solutions.

Some of my fellow Enterprise Irregulars have posted their thoughts on the announcements. Since they were post quicker to the gun and are likely more insightful than I, I'll direct you to them.

From Charlie Wood of Spanning Partners (an AppExchange ISV partner): Unveils AppStore: 'iTMS for SaaS'
Is AppStore Checkout Worth the Price?

Dan Farber of ZDNet who was one of the first to post prepping AppStore and Apex commerce engine
Benioff sort of amends AppStore Checkout launch date (funny thing happened - Benioff talked about an "internal" date of July for having the AppStore ready, half a year earlier than the "official" date. I could almost hear the developers' collective moan).

Dennis Howlett
SFdC coming at you, through the back door

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

minglenow launches

minglenow officially launched today. Described as the "first social network that would connect you with the places you hang out offline, and the other people who hang out there," I been playing around with the beta version for the last few days thanks to my friend Julia French.

Julia joined BlueLithium Labs 2 weeks ago and has been busting her butt working on today's launch. I got to know Julia when she was at Socialtext. She's as friendly and pleasant as she is no-nonsense and professional (our first call was largely around when I was going to start coughing up more money for the additional users I was bringing on line). She did a great job working with Ismael on the Office 2.0 conference. I'm sure she's going to knock the ball out of the park at MingleNow.

I've been using the site to get ideas on new places to check out (mostly restaurants and bars so far). With so many restaurants in New York, it's cool to be able to see what other people like; especially, people that you're connected with in some way. If I can find a couple of folks whose recommendations I like, then I can just go on the site and see what they like. Viola, lazy man's way of finding the good spots.

Also, stay tuned, I understand a mobile version is in the works.

Monday, December 11, 2006

NYC Tech events this week

I'll likely be attending two tech industry events this week. If you're going, shoot me an email or introduce yourself (see pic on blog's main page), especially if you want to talk enterprise software.

Web 2.0 Business Meetup
Tuesday, December 12, 7:00 - 10:00 pm
R Bar
218 Bowery, between Prince & Spring

nextNY Holiday Gathering
Wednesday, December 13th, 7-10 PM
Apple Restaurant and Bombar
17 Waverly Pl (Cross Street: Between Greene Street and Mercer Street)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Oracle extends Enterprise SSO with acq.... uh partnership

When I read that Oracle was making an announcement around "extending" their Single Sign-On offering I assumed that meant another acquisition. Seems they are taking a page out of the SAP book and going the partnership route.

Oracle today announced the Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On Suite, delivering enterprise authentication and single sign-on for mainframe, client/server and Web applications. The Suite, a component of Oracle Identity Management...[r]esulting from its partnership with Passlogix, enable[s] customers to access... applications and systems using a single identity and password and automatically provision users based on a common, secure infrastructure.

This partnership follows several identity management-related acquisitions made earlier to build out its Oracle Identity Management solution:

Thor Technologies - now branded as Oracle Xelerate Identity Provisioning (more info below)
OctetString - Oracle Virtual Directory (more info below)
Oblix - Oracle Identity Federation (formerly Oblix SHAREid) & Oracle Web Services Manager (formerly Oblix COREsv)
Phaos - technology integrated into Oracle Application Server and Oracle Identitiy Management

In addition to the products listed above, Oracle Identity Management includes: Access Manager, Identity Manager & Internet Directory.

The partnership and acquisitions will enable Oracle applications and databases to better integrate across a heterogeneous IT ecosystem. Oracle will be able to extend identity management across applications (both Oracle and partner) built using Fusion. Additionally, this expands Oracle's identity management product offering to compete against IBM, Sun and CA. The overall identity management market is worth ~$1.2B and estimated to grow to as much as ~$8B by 2008.

More information on Thor and OctetString:

Thor Technologies - Provisioning allows matching of an individual’s technology access with their HR status. Prior to acquisition had received $19M in 2002 from Bain Capital, Longworth Venture Partners and Boston Capital. CEO was Alberto Yepez.

OctetString - Virtual directory software enables the management of identify information across the enterprise. Company was founded with no external funding in 2002 by Clayton Donley. Estimated pre-acquisition revenue was less than $30M.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oracle falls on database sales concern

Looks like Oracle's stock is taking a bit of a beating this morning due partly to a Lehman note expressing concerns on database software concerns. Volume is also way up.

Oracle Corp. shares fell as much as 5.6 percent on Wednesday after brokerage Lehman Brothers advised clients to sell the stock, saying quarterly sales of its database software might fall short of Wall Street expectations.

My sense is that this is more of a stock story than anything fundamentally happening at Oracle or in the database, or even apps, market. I think you'll continue to see slow/moderate growth of Oracle's core database license (mid single digits probably) and see continued emphasis on other, higher growth database areas such as RAC. IBM, Microsoft and smaller players such as MySQL, I think will continue to cause Oracle some headaches.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Cheating at Columbia

Saw this on Jeff's blog:

Columbia University officials are lowering the boom on some graduate journalism students suspected of cheating on, of all things, an ethics exam.

The original New York Daily News article quotes the Vice Dean of the J - school as saying the affected students would have to "attend a special session of the class 'Critical Issues in Journalism' today - or fail." WHAT!!! Attend a session or fail? Any student caught cheating should fail, period.

I heard about a similar incident at Columbia Business School recently. There were witnesses to students cheating on an exam. My understanding is that there was strongly worded language, but no action taken place to discipline these students.

I'm worried what kind of message this lack of action on the part of the administrations (J & B schools) sends. I'm worried what lessons the students are learning from seeing a lack of consequences from their actions. Those who cheated and got away with it might be more likely to do it the next time. Those who didn't cheat must be wondering what the benefits of being honest are (especially if the classes involved are graded on the curve).

I obviously don't have all the facts on either incident (and I really hope I'm wrong) but if there is indeed cheating going on at Columbia and the administration is not disciplining it harshly, I'm concerned what that means for the university.