Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cast Iron Systems - ReThink Integration

www.castironsys.com Cast Iron Systems is the most widely deployed provider of integration appliances in the world, trusted by the Global 2000 to integrate applications in days rather than months and slash application integration costs by as much as 80%. The Application Router can be installed and productive within hours of delivery, with an ROI payback in as little as four months. No other application integration solution even comes close.

How is all this possible with a single appliance? The key is in the simplicity of approach.

First generation, software-based integration solutions were designed to connect applications that were created long before the appearance of standards. As a result, they connected disparate systems using complex methodologies. Today, these complex methodologies delay integration projects and add little or no value.

Such software-based integration and distributed-systems tools forced companies to become experts in the technology rather than beneficiaries of it. Tools and development environments required a high level of expertise, and generally did not provide visibility or effective management of finished projects.

The bottom line: software-based integration solutions provide high levels of functionality but are burdened by complexity, at the expense of project timelines.

The Application Router® defines a new generation of integration solution. The latest industry standards like XML are deployed from within a point-and-click environment, enabling users to focus on the timely completion of projects that have immediate and ongoing business value, rather than on becoming masters of the underlying technology. Everything necessary to deliver integration projects in just a matter of days — connectivity, transformation, intelligent routing and full system monitoring — is delivered in a simple, yet powerful device.

The Application Router combines a straightforward "configuration not coding" approach to integration, with a comprehensive set of management tools, so companies can complete and maintain projects more quickly and easily than ever before.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Shirky - Ontology is Overrated

The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview and Ontology is overrated

Before quoting from these pieces, I should admit to being someone very familiar with knowledge representation and ontology, and of languages such as Ontolingua and KIF. Having got that out of way, I found this diss of ontology one of the most intelligent around the 'net, especially as I know how an interest in products such as Endeca and Stratify. Isn't it ultimately about an argument about top down and bottom up? Shirky says "Today I want to talk about categorization, and I want to convince you that a lot of what we think we know about categorization is wrong. In particular, I want to convince you that many of the ways we're attempting to apply categorization to the electronic world are actually a bad fit, because we've adopted habits of mind that are left over from earlier strategies." Read on and learn.

Stratify - Discover More

www.stratify.com “Before you meta tag, you need a taxonomy,” says Ramana Venkata, Chief Technology Officer for Stratify (formerly known as Purple Yogi), a taxonomy software company. “So you bring in someone like KPMG and pay them a million dollars, but you still need to figure out how to create and insert the meta data.” In other words, the search process still relies on the meta data behind the content and the taxonomy rules (not to be confused with a taxonomy directory).

Stratify’s product, The Discovery Product, includes a taxonomy builder with auto categorization that automatically creates and inserts meta data in all of the content and then builds a portal presentation layer that is web-based or similar to the presentation of MS-Windows Explorer – in a matter of seconds.

Taxonomy products such as Stratify and Endeca work best when working in tandem with search engines.

Endeca - Guided Navigation, Search and Analysis

www.endeca.com Information overload is eroding employee productivity. Recent studies reveal that the average corporate employee spends 25-35 per cent of their productive time searching for information to do their day-to-day job. “Our ability to create information has substantially outpaced our ability to retrieve relevant information,” claims a recent Delphi Group report (Taxonomy & Content Classification, 2002). Some estimates claim that there now exists some 250 megabytes of information for every human being – and the glut is growing.

New taxonomy software products, like Endeca and Stratify, replace the traditional, manual methods that have a number of drawbacks. Manual classifying, directory building and meta tagging require significant expenditures in terms of people and time, the former which can be inconsistent and not very scaleable.

“Many organizations have spent many years just trying to get it right,” says Paul Whitelam, Product Manager for Endeca Technologies, a Cambridge-based software company that built the Tower Records Website. “Our approach negates this and it’s done automatically as people navigate through the set. Endeca auto-indexes rather than builds from scratch… leveraging content meta data to dynamically generate the taxonomy (directory).”

Endeca is a new technology, delivered as a platform that makes it possible to deploy applications that navigate, search, and analyze data from any source.

One IT services giant uses Endeca to build an "open marketplace for consulting services". Here they sort potential consultants instantly by any and every critrion and in any order. At a particular rate, by expertise in a geo, available next Thursday, etc.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

BackBase - AJAX - Rich Internet Applications

www.backbase.com Backbase provides Rich Internet Application (RIA) software that radically improves the usability and effectiveness of online applications, and increases developer productivity. With Backbase you can build web applications with a richer and more responsive user interface.

Although DHTML technology has been around for some years, Google’s new web applications (Google Suggest and Google Maps) have boosted the awareness of a model based on DHTML, AJAX and W3C standards for creating Rich Internet Applications. The Backbase Presentation Client (BPC) is an AJAX engine based entirely on AJAX technology, and differentiates itself via a generic User Interface declaration language (BXML). BXML is a XML application that also includes many XSLT and XPath functions. BXML is interpreted by the AJAX engine, and translated to native DOM commands in the browser. The Backbase AJAX Engine is developed in JavaScript, and it works in Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox and soon also in Opera and Safari. It does not require any type of plug-in, which differentiates Backbase from other RIA vendors.

Backbase software can be used to build more interactive websites and better user interfaces, web interfaces, web GUIs or web-based replacements for desktop rich clients. From a usability perspective Backbase has a noticable impact: people involved in Interaction Design and User Interface Design suddenly have much more possibilities than with regular websites. The software contains GUI builder functionality that speeds up GUI development significantly and developers are not confronted with the details of JavaScript, XML and XMLHttpRequest, but can just add extra tags to their HTML pages.

Backbase rich clients can be easily combined with Java & J2EE, .NET & ASP.NET, XML, XSLT and XPath. The .NET Server Edition offers drag-and-drop RIA development with Visual Studio.NET. Plug-ins for Eclipse and DreamWeaver are also available. The XML Server Edition can be installed on both Java platforms and on Microsoft Windows (Native .NET Application).

JackBe - AJAX for the Enterprise Web 2.0 Applications

www.jackbe.com JackBe Corporation is a pioneer and leading provider of enterprise AJAX software solutions and professional services. AJAX is a collection of technologies that allows browser-based applications to achieve the look, feel and interactivity of a desktop application. Using AJAX, organizations can make existing web applications much more user friendly and build new classes of applications for the web. AJAX can also reduce bandwidth and server utilization, thus reducing operating costs for the web services provider.

Innovators like Google have invested heavily in developing custom AJAX solutions for their consumer Web applications. JackBe has built a packaged AJAX development platform and offers lifecycle services such as training, design, implementation and support that make it easy for mainstream enterprises to AJAX-enable their own web applications.

JackBe counts over 30 large enterprises as customers, including Forbes.com, CitiGroup, Sears, and health care giant, McKesson Corporation. These companies all selected JackBe's platform and services instead of expensive internal development projects.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Zimbra - Enterprise Messaging and Collaboration

www.zimbra.com Zimbra is an open source server and client technology for next-generation enterprise messaging and collaboration. Zimbra delivers innovation for both the administrator and the end-user as well as compatibility with existing infrastructure and applications (both open source and proprietary).

Laszlo Systems - Advancing the Web 2.0 Experience

www.laszlosystems.com Laszlo Systems is developing an integrated suite of breakthrough Digital Life experiences. Built on the success of Laszlo Mail, these will enhance communications, enrich personal content and engage personal communities across the Web. The open, rich and portable nature of Laszlo's platform is ideal for 'triple-play' and 'home-run' scenarios that extend the user experience across voice, video, data and mobile services.

The Laszlo Digital Life Suite will be licensed to communication service providers seeking to enhance services to subscribers. These applications are designed to create lasting subscriber loyalty through the seamless integration of personal communications, content and community and they are easy and fun to use.

Morfik - Web applications: Unplugged

www.morfik.com Morfik offers a ground-breaking Javascript Synthesis Technology (‘JST’) that allows developers to use a visual design environment and a high-level language of their choice to create applications comprising only of HTML and Javascript. This revolutionary technology combined with its tight integration of the browser, a database and web server, uniquely offers developers the opportunity to create web applications that run on the desktop after being unplugged from the web. It is possible that this will usher in a new era that challenges the dominance of conventional software applications on the desktop. Morfik leverages modern Web 2.0 development paradigms, such as AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript with XML).

SocialText - Get everyone on the same page using Wiki

www.socialtext.com Socialtext is one of the first commercial wiki companies and a market leader in enterprise wiki solutions. Over 200 global organizations use Socialtext to accelerate project cycles and help groups communicate more effectively than with email, while fostering trust, transparency and group memory.

Sxip Identity, A Web 2.0 Identity Management Company

www.sxip.com On-Demand Identity Management: The next generation of identity architecture is emerging. Identity 2.0 will provide the online mechanism for authenticating and managing real-world user-centric identities. As critical customer data moves beyond your firewall, control over access and usage should not. The unique provisioning and single sign-on capabilities of Sxip Access extend the security and manageability of your corporate network to your hosted application.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Windows Workflow Foundation

In my 2002 book, BPM: The Third Wave, I said: "Business process management products are available from many vendors, in versions ranging from departmental workgroup solutions to enterprise-scale infrastructure—-a range of solutions to meet all needs. It is possible that personal BPM tools, akin to the commodity databases that form part of commonly used office productivity suites, will emerge. Imagine a “Process Office” suite, providing an integrated, process-centric approach to collaboration, computation, work manage-ment, process modeling and simulation. Such a vision is entirely realistic if based on a third-wave approach." In the Epilog to that book, I also said, "Over the last five years, delivering business applications has become much more complex, with layer upon layer of new infrastructure requirements and new features. While this has been good for IT industry players that sell new products for new layers, it is not necessarily so good for companies that use them as business tools. When complexity mounts and eventually becomes unmanageable, it’s time for action."

The book described the radical simplication of business process technology necessary, and, this month, Microsoft announced its technology to make this real for Windows users: Windows Workflow Foundation.

"Third wave" BPM features have been available in enterprise-class products for some time, in Workflow Management Systems (WFMS) and Business Process Management Systems (BPMS), and more recently, in expensive ERP products -- to one extent or another. Microsoft is now moving these features to the desktop, and by doing so, will make them a ubiquitous part of the everyday computing landscape, as they have done with Word Processing, Spreadsheets and Databases.

The foundations for this new technology lie in the field of Process Calculus, specifically, Pi Calculus and Join Calculus, as well as Petri Nets. These foundations were used by BPMI.org, over the period 1999 to 2003, to define BPML, the Business Process Modeling Language. They were also used by Microsoft to create XLANG, the foundation of BizTalk, and later by IBM to create BPEL (which some regard as a commercial copycat of BPML.)

I cannot say more about Windows Workflow Foundation until I have had time to study and understand what has achieved. A book about WWF is already available, and that page gives the BLOG addresses for those architects involved in the development of WWF, such as Dave Green. WWF will give both gorilla ERP vendors, and smaller workflow players, much to think about. BPM vendors have showed how to give business users control of the processes around them. Microsoft will do this in office productivity packages. As a result, productivity will take on new meaning for Office users. For knowledge workers are not just interested in personal productivity, but the productivity of the teams around them. Their work is not just in processes, but with processes, their discovery, design, deployment, operations, measurement and optimization.

Thursday, September 08, 2005



Imaginatik's Idea Central is selected as Trend-Setting Product - KM World - Sept 2005 - KM World announced its list of "trend-setting products" for 2005 with Idea Central as one of the award winners. The annual awards are KM World's way to acknowledge leading technology companies and their vision toward the future for knowledge and content management. The winning Trend-Setters are chosen by editorial writers as well as a host of analysts and users from C-level executives to entry-level knowledge workers. This panel reviewed more than 1,200 products from more than 200 vendors and judged on their usability, flexibility, adoption rate and total cost of ownership.

Imaginatik is the leading provider of Idea Management software and processes, with global clients in consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, finance, chemicals, manufacturing and government. Mark Turrell, CEO, is a leading thinker on innovation.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Visual Insight


A trend? Visual Insight works with leaders of organizations and industries who are pioneering the use of visual communication to engage, connect, and inspire people. We are unique in that we combine content expertise (in leadership process, organizational learning, and technology) with art (specifically, the use of symbols that cross cultures, geographies and time) and long experience in journalism (objective observation and concise reporting). We do not believe in giving advice; we have the conviction that good leaders, educators and knowledge workers already have the implicit wisdom to reach their goals. Our clients say that we help them clearly understand and immediately convey their own emerging ideas, enabling them to take action with effective new communication tools.

Visual Insight was founded by Eileen Clegg after discovering the value of bringing together her experience with three disciplines: journalism, art, and research in the future of learning. The practice she calls "visual journalism" began with documenting presentations and meetings she attended for her research.

Rather than recording everything that was said, she found herself selecting the key ideas and new concepts that fit together as a coherent story. Intuitively, the story would take a literal shape as an image, through interplay of intuition, logic and old fashioned objective reporting. She began receiving calls from think tanks, conference organizers, and leadership trainers who wanted her to visually document their events. Often, clients ask us to reflect back to them what we have heard, so they can objectively assess how their ideas sound and look to others.

Workflow Institute


These guys get it. The Workflow Institute serves decision-makers at the intersection of business results, enterprise systems, and human performance. We promote the understanding and use of real-time learning in industry and government worldwide. We Identify new developments and interpret technology trends. Our backgrounds in instructional design, cognitive science, enterprise computing, and software architectures, coupled with our passion for helping people make the most of technology, have positioned us at the forefront of the Workflow Learning movement.

Jay Cross is Managing Director of the Workflow Institute. A thought leader in learning technology, Jay coined the terms “eLearning” and "workflow learning." Gary J. Dickelman is a Fellow of the Workflow Institute. Gary leads our Performance-Centered Design practice. He applies knowledge management, human factors, learning technology, and business process engineering to creating systems that human beings can actually use. Gloria Gery is the first Fellow of the Workflow Institute. Gloria invented the field of Electronic Performance Support. She was a champion of performance-centered design twenty years before its current popularity. She has taught our industry to "give up the idea that competence must exist within the person and expand our view that whenever possible it should be built into the situation."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Talaris - Services Economy


Welcome to the Services Economy.
Each year, billions are spent on services. Package shipping. Conferencing. Dining. Travel. Entertainment. Mobile communications and much more. Despite the expenditures, most corporations don't have an effective way to manage the procurement of Employee Business Services (EBS). Here's why:

Unlike other procurement categories, EBS and other on-demand services have distinct characteristics that make them difficult to manage. They're schedule oriented. Acutely time sensitive. Enmeshed in the day-to-day work of your employees. They can't be represented in a catalog-based e-procurement application. And they can't be easily managed across the enterprise.

SleepyCat Software - Makers of Berkeley DB


Sleepycat Software makes Berkeley DB, the most widely used open source developer database in the world with over 200 million deployments. Profitable since it started in 1996, the company boasts some of the leading database experts in the world, including co-founder and CTO Dr. Margo Seltzer, the Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Computer Science and Engineering at Harvard University.

A privately-held company based in Massachusetts, Sleepycat Software has solutions deployed in mission-critical applications globally. Sleepycat customers range from telecom and networking leaders such as Cisco, Motorola and Ericsson, computing giants such as Sun, HP, Hitachi and Fujitsu, service providers such as Google, Amazon.com, AOL and Yahoo, and storage leaders such as EMC and VERITAS.

Covalent - Trusted Source for Complete Enterprise Open Sources Solutions


The Source for Apache & Tomcat and Now Axis!
Covalent is the leading provider of products and services for the Apache Tomcat Application Server, Apache HTTP, the world's leading Web server, and now, the Apache Axis Web Services Framework. The only source for full commercial support for Apache, Tomcat, and Axis, Covalent currently supports more than 50% of Fortune 500 and 70% of Fortune 100 companies.

Covalent has assembled the deepest talent pool of Apache experts in the industry. Through Covalent's products and services, Apache users receive all the flexibility and benefits of open source, with the support and reliability of a commercial enterprise fully dedicated to Apache, Tomcat, and Axis.

ActiveGrid LAMP Open Source Stack


The LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python) open source stack has been the technology of choice for a "scale out" architecture. LAMP provides a reliable way of deploying rich Web 2.0 applications on inexpensive clusters of commodity computers. Controlled by no single vendor and backed by broad open source global community, it now powers nearly 70% of the world’s web infrastructure.

Until now only organizations with significant expertise in handcrafting LAMP implementations could benefit from LAMP’s scalability and cost savings. The LAMP stack also lacks many of the enterprise features expected by corporate developers and deployers. ActiveGrid Enterprise LAMP applications can be flexibly deployed on grids of commodity machines or at virtually any ISP.

You’ll be up and running in less than 15 minutes. The ActiveGrid Application Builder comes with everything you need to start creating applications - including a built-in Web server, database, sample applications and a step-by-step tutorial so that you can build your first application quickly and easily. Both the ActiveGrid Application Builder and ActiveGrid LAMP Application Server are released under the flexible, open source Apache Software License 2.0.