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Notes from the Software Strategy Summit



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May 16, 2006 5:39 pm

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It’s conference week in San Francisco, with JavaOne, Gartner IT Symposium and SIIA’s Software Strategy Summit all competing for IT eyeballs this week. Must be a sign that Silicon Valley is back. I’ve spent a couple of days at the SIIA gig. There are four main themes permeating this event – software as a service (SaaS), open source, globalization/outsourcing, and security. A few of the more interesting observations:- The financing models are getting turned around. With open source and SaaS, companies can get up and running – using low cost software and reaching customers thru the internet – at extremely low cost relative to the past. Greg Gianforte of RightNow Technologies made a pretty compelling argument for not taking VC money. Fellow panelist, VCer Ann Winblad, (Winblad Hummer) didn’t necessarily agree :-) – Open source and SaaS are a powerful combo. Per keynoter Geoffrey Moore of Crossing the Chasm fame, the business architecture has now changed from a vertical, highly complex product-focused model (think IBM in the 70s, Microcsoft in the 80s), to a volume operation, services focus (Amazon, Google). Running software as a service on low cost commodity hardware and Linux is a key to this shift.- Complexity and uncertainty in IT are proliferating for companies as they integrate with the Web. Russ Davies of HP argued that the counter to that is modularity and markets. Services oriented architectures are the current way companies are striving for modularithy in their IT environments. This will help decouple IT changes from business changes, delivering more flexibility to customers.- Security remains paramount, and challenges posed by security for service oriented architectures require new thinking. Companies need a comprehensive approach to security that goes beyond access management. Protecting the perimeter is a concept that simply no longer works. Security now has moved out to the nexus of application and user, requiring comprehensive identity and asset management approaches. Novell’s Loren Russon, director of product management for our identity group, was on a panel with HP and Ensim talking about changing distribution models for software and some of the security issues around these changes. I suspect conversations at the other San Francisco conferences today revolved around similar issues. It’s great that Novell is playing at the core of some of these key trends.

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