Blogger: Guy Creese
Yesterday the U.S. Congress failed to pass the "bailout" bill and the Dow plunged 778 points. Given those events, it's fair to say that IT managers everywhere are going to be asked today, "OK, what can you do to help us [Company X] get through this downturn?" Although every company's response will be different, CCS (and Burton Group at large) started posing that question at the beginning of this year. We saw the economic storms brewing and figured now was the time to revise our coverage to look at "save money/get more productive" strategies. Everybody always wants to save money; the question is whether those strategies are viable or just knee jerk reactions that make things worse.
Reports that came out of that viewpoint are:
- Google Apps in the Enterprise: A Promotion-Enhancing or Career-Limiting Move for Enterprise Architects? -- An updated version of the 2007 report on Google Apps Premier Edition. The Conclusion notes, "Google has caught the attention of enterprises with its inexpensive Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) product: available at $50 per user per year. However, the seductive price can spell trouble for enterprise architects and their companies if they don’t do their homework: the solution’s rudimentary feature set means that large enterprises need to pick carefully and implement slowly."
- Open Source Communication, Collaboration, and Content Management: Cutting Edge Innovation, Low-Cost Imitation, or Both? -- The first paragraph of the report's conclusion: "Open source communication, collaboration, and content management (3C) solutions are beginning to offer the combination of cutting-edge capabilities and lower operating costs. While immature in some ways (e.g., providing minimal training and documentation), they are enterprise grade in other ways, such as being highly scalable."
- SaaS Implementation Survey: Where, When, and How to Use SaaS -- A survey done in conjunction with Ziff Davis Enterprise that looks at enterprise experiences with SaaS. The high-level takeaway is, "Burton Group found that a majority of organizations have had a positive experience with SaaS, with many experiencing significant financial benefits. But organizations will have a better SaaS experience if they control the risk that is in IT’s purview, mitigate the risk in the vendor’s hands, and validate the remaining risks that the business must accept."
- Software as a Service Enterprise E-mail: Get Ready to Go Beyond the Grind -- The report notes, "SaaS e-mail is an opportunity for IT organizations to get away from the e-mail operations grind and focus their attention and money on higher-level applications that offer competitive advantage."
And we aren't stopping there. This quarter I'm writing a report on alternatives to Microsoft Office (e.g., Corel WordPerfect Suite, Google Apps, IBM Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice.org, Sun StarOffice, ThinkFree, and Zoho). Microsoft competitors such as Google, IBM, and Sun have saved millions of dollars in license fees by diminishing their use of Microsoft Office; the question is whether it makes sense for large enterprises who don't have a Microsoft axe to grind to make the move as well.
Finally, if you're interested in a relevant document that looks beyond the CCS horizon, I suggest you take a look at Gearhead's Guide to a Down Economy.