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July, 2007:

China more poised than India to be “software development” leader?

This is something that I heard (twice) recently at the Enterprise Innovation conference in Redwood City. It struck me because I heard it within two hours of each other from two leaders in the industry with regard to generalized questions about software and globalization.

Bernard Liautaud, Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer for Business Objects, stated that while an overwhelming majority of the top 300 software companies are based in North America, he sees a shift occurring in the next ten years where more firms will be entering that list from both China and India. He further expressed that he sees China being poised even more than India to be a stronger player due to some things he sees developing. As a takeaway that I found interesting, Liautaud mentioned how Chinese universities are now offering students concentrated courses in enterprise software development explicitly and that they are even now adding courses in business intelligence software development.

Later in the morning session, Mark Bregman, CTO for Symantec, echoed the opinion. The view he expressed was that while India is comprised of a solid engineering culture and has taken a growing position in the market, he views China as the stronger contender in the software development arena. In his specific experience with Symantec’s growing work in China, he sees some top scientists working in China currently. Furthermore, he expressed the difference as China having more software science focus, developing scientific-based innovations rather than engineering-implementation focus.

It is an interesting set of views simply from the face of looking at the difference between computer science, engineering and the oft-confused business process (many elements of which are all bunched up in the offshore and outsource conversations. It is clear both markets are making strong contributions and that will only get stronger as signaled by the rate at which US-leading firms are establishing beachheads in both regions.

My personal experience substantiates this as I’ve had the opportunity to work with top-notch engineers from both China and India. While at MIT Sloan, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend a month in China working for a software development company. The number of engagements that the firm had already won from US firms, in that case mostly in the business process software development area. The firm was also bringing into the office 50+ computer science students from local universities two times a week.

Time will tell if there will be a clear fragmentation in the emerging markets with regard to computer science innovation and engineering. Surely we’ll see a mix but which market will take leadership position in which disciplines?

Enterprise 2.0 Traction…

Dion Hinchcliffe over at ZDNet has a checkpoint post on where we stand with Web 2.0 in the Enterprise, interesting he chose to describe it that way rather than McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0 moniker. Hinchcliffe discusses a clear shift in the enterprise towards the consideration or outright adoption of Web 2.0 technologies to improve their business or business process:

But whether one is looking at completely transforming a business at a strategic level, or just applying a few Web 2.0 techniques to a corner of a business that can benefit from it, the message is clearer and clearer business leaders: Significant change is afoot and now is the time to start looking hard at how to embrace it.

The post is a very good assessment of the dynamics in the enterprise and some of the undercurrent that takes place behind corporate walls in the adoption of these new behaviors and technology.  Today, Richard MacManus over at Read/WriteWeb discussed how IM (instant messaging) is still king of the hill in technologies that bring business value to the enterprise.  So the good news is the “consumerization of technology” is clearly beginning to win over many, but obviously the budgets and decision processes will be the ongoing governor on how quickly Enterprise 2.0 takes hold (if it does, I for one am a believer).

Web 2.0 in the EnterpriseHe also includes a graphic that pretty well outlines all of the different paradigm and technology shifts happening in the enterprise. (not one of those graphics that is instantly self-explanatory but if you want a good snapshot assessment of different elements, it is a good one).

For those of you interested in Enterprise 2.0, Hinchcliffe provides a good synopsis of the graphic with more detailed explanation of each of the representative sections.

Some Definitive Value for WordPress.com

As I recently posted, I moved from the wordpress.com to a self-hosted solution at Laughing Squid.  I recently posted in part I and part II about something to think about when moving to such a solution.  And while I am enjoying the flexibility that being self-hosted affords, there are some definite downsides that really show the value of the wordpress.com offering.  The first is that the themes are plug-n-play in the wordpress.com environment, you just pick one and go.  No dealing with debugging themes, making widgets work and understanding how to backward engineer someone else’s CSS.

The other thing I’ve noticed is the drop-off in traffic.  Now, of course, some is expected because I moved blog locations and also due to time constraints, I haven’t been able to blog as often, that hurts readership.  What I have come to realize though is the value of the wordpress.com tagging which apparently drove me a moderate amount of traffic and also I would come up in wordpress.com search.  Well, guess I’ll need to be more self-sufficient to get my traffic ramped up.  Let me know if you have any creative ideas that does not involve buying Google Ad Words.

Mashery, mastering API infrastructure

Enterprise Innovationsconference run by Dow Jones this week in Redwood City, CA.  While there, I bumped into Oren Michels, now CEO of Mashery and previously of Feedster.  Oren certainly has an interesting company that has a clear value proposition and is attempting to solve a clear pain-point (at least it is clear to me):  managing and maintaining an API business or a portfolio of web services.

Anytime you are trying to manage a set of APIs, whether it be for commercial sale or to get your stuff out there for viral adoption, there is a lot of overhead of things you need to account for behind the scenes.  From the outside, it looks like “hey, right the code and then publish your spec, and your done”.

However, if you hope to have any success (which is the goal right?), you need to have terms & conditions, and processes in place to manage throughput, up-time and stability.  In the commercial world, you are best served to have an official certification and sign-off process as well.  And you also need to have some analytics in place so that you understand what developers are using and how they are using it.

I also find where Mashery is heading compelling because they are leveraging the cloud to do it.  They are using S3 and EC2 from Amazon for much of their offering.  I wrote about Amazon Web Services some time ago.  You have to like someone who is uses web services to service web services businesses.

These are the areas that Mashery is looking to master and solve for its customers.  I need to look into it further but while not a glamour offering, it appears to solve a critical need.  And this should only grow as the world of web services, mash-ups, etc hit the S-curve and take off.

Ten “Move to WordPress Self-hosted” Tips – Part II

Hopefully you found part I helpful.  Here is the second five tips for launching your own WordPress.org blog.

  1. Tracking – If you are like most bloggers, you wants to know how much visits and subscriptions you have.  Even if you are blogging for fun or you just enjoy pontificating, you still want to know if you are shouting into the darkness.  Google Analytics and Feedburner are two top ways to do this giving you site metrics and feed metrics respectively.  Joe Tan at tan tan noodles has a great plug-in called WordPress reports that also will tie all of your feeds together at Feedburner and that you can get some basic reports right in a reporting interface within your administrator view.
  2. Plug-ins – The reporting plug-in is only one example of great plug-in tools that you have readily available for you to take advantage of.  Chris Messina at Factory City has a great post regarding the top plug-ins he will not launch any blog without.  Like widgets, there are a lot more to consider, quite easy to go into plug-in overload.  I have most of them installed into correlate already.  Aside from theme control, copious plug-ins is one of the biggest areas of upside for going self-hosted.
  3. Beta site – I would recommend to all to have a beta site that you keep a different sub-directory and under password protection.  You can clone your entire blog at the start of the process by re-uploading the data into it and can even use the exact same MySQL database for both your production and beta blog.  In fact, it is the equivalent of running two blogs at the same site.  You are simply using one to test out any new template, theme or widget changes.  This should be fairly intuitive to those of you who work in a beta/integration environment at work.
  4. Mobile – Many of your readers will consume your blog via RSS and that, in most cases, will take care of the giving your readers a mobile-consumable view of your blog.  However, it is always nice to provide a mobile-friendly format of your blog as well.  You may have come across Alex King‘s WordPress Mobile Edition plug-in for mobile format when researching plug-ins.  (Note: Alex King is also the creator of the ‘Share This’ component that you see at the end of my blog posts.)  This is one that I would like to point out because it will give your blog one additional step-up for your readers.
  5. Promote New Location – This seems obvious but it may be something that is easy to overlook as you are eager to kick off your new site.  In addition to porting your content, you want to be sure that you move your readers to your new blog location.  The best way to do so is a final post on your original blog pointing users to your new location.  This will go out to your RSS readers as well.  In fact, you may want to post a couple of times to ensure your RSS viewer know to convert their feed links to the new location or in case they missed your first note about your move.

There are probably a number of other tips that I’m not thinking of but these are a few that helped me with my migration.  If you have any tips, please feel free to share, it may mean I missed something that I should do at correlate!