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Tuesday 26 August 2008

There are good IT products and then there is the crap

I personally prefer the the good category. Usually those products are a bit more expensive than the crap category – but even that is not the case every time.

I was shopping for a new USB memory stick only a few days ago. And just before that, while having the daily press overview in the solitude, I had came across with an ad about a very well priced 8Gb stick in the physical junk mail. Ok, so I went to the store – just an ordinary home electronics store – thinking that the inexpensive stick will most probably have a sticker on it saying that I need a latest Windows with a service pack that is going to be released in October 2011. But no! And add the WOW effect here!

As you can see from the accompanying picture Kingston had really done a great job. Instead of saying that the stick works with Win95osr2 and above, they had actually included a full list of compatible operating systems – just the way every company should do! I am giving Kingston ten out of ten points for this. I happily purchased two memory sticks, one for my own use and one for my wife's use. For the clarity I think I should here add that we are both happy Ubuntu Linux users in our laptops.

Nowadays, I my opinion, every peripheral manufacturer should do exactly as Kingston had done: a) make clear declaration about the compatible operating systems and b) take good care that their devices work in all major OSes. The days of only-windows printers, adapters, scanner and so on are definitely over.

So what's the best way to ensure that this is going to happen? It's simple. You as a consumer should not ever buy a peripheral or other add-on device that requires you to possess some specific operating system or requires you to use “this and that appliance” to be able to benefit from the device. And trust me there are always those good category products available to choose from!

Double the sales
By the way, if Kingston had not printed the complete OS list to the package, I would most probably have purchased another brand memory stick. Or if no options would have been available, I'd have purchased just one stick to be sure that it works. And then later go back to the store for the other stick – or not, I am lazy.


- Jukka -


PS: Oh yes, the Kingston's memory sticks I purchased work perfectly!

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Asia's needs more open source contribution

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 07:59 PM

SINGAPORE--Open source software adoption is high in Asia, but the level of contribution from the region's open source developer community leaves much to be desired, says a prominent figure in the open source industry.

David Axmark, co-founder of the popular MySQL database, said during a media session here Tuesday that usage of open source software continues to grow significantly across the region.

However, not many Asian open source service providers have sprung up to match this interest, Axmark noted.

As a result, he added that enterprise users requiring software customization specific to the region, are unable to depend on the developer ecosystem. Instead, these businesses will have to rely on global open source vendors to build and package those features into their products.

"Supporting multi-region languages is something a small company can't [obtain] without spending a lot of money," Axmark said.

Urging the need for more open source vendors in Asia, he noted that these companies can rely on the global developer community to help translate and push out different languages more quickly.

Furthermore, open source vendors that are well-connected and closely attuned to the community are quicker to pick up on industry zeitgeist, compared to most closed-source software vendors that have to "spend money identifying trends in the market".

For instance, he noted, an individual developer from the open source community built an API (application programming interface) in Ruby for the MySQL database, even before MySQL engineers knew what Ruby was. "Someone made it and sent it to us," he said.

Axmark could not offer a reason for Asia's lack of participation in the open source developer community, but said the region does not lack relevant skills.

"I always thought it would be great for all the very talented engineers in the Asia-Pacific region to start [growing open source companies]," he said.

On his experience starting MySQL over a decade ago, Axmark said: "We didn't have a lot of support. We relied on a few computers and free bandwidth... We didn't have sales or marketing staff.

"To start an open source company, you just need to be good at what you do, and do good stuff. Keep costs down. It is possible to start extremely small," he said.

Software should also be user-friendly to boost its popularity, he added. "If you want people to adopt your software for free, you have to make it easy to use," he said.

MySQL was acquired by Sun Microsystems earlier this year, the company's open source database application is downloaded on average 70,000 times per day, Axmark said. According to Ovum research figures, MySQL held 49 percent of the open source database market in 2006.

Tuesday 13 May 2008

More Asian companies want code tested

Code testing is something that should have been taken care by a lot of companies a long time ago before their first software releases. Unfortunately that is not the case.

One thing that I have learned during the years is that if you do the software development in-house you should hire small group of excellent programmers instead of a large group of not so experienced people. This will save you time and money even it will cost a little bit more in the beginning. Good programmers are able to do the code testing for their own software modules at the same time when they program those. They also exchange modules to do cross testing which again decreases the possible flaws in the code. Seen it happen in the companies where I have been working previously.

If you outsource your code development then you better be sure about the quality of the software testing done in the programming side. I would use a third party company to do the testing instead of the company who has done the code. Just to make sure that there are now holes or flaws in the code.

I am not even going to touch the case of API testing as it is a whole new world when implementing a new code to a existing system which is not even yours...

and now the article:

By Vivian Yeo, ZDNet Asia
12/05/2008
URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/security/0,39044215,62041217,00.htm

Businesses in Asia are increasingly taking steps to ensure software code developed by third parties are as secure as can be.

Foo Meng Yiah, chief of business management office at NCS Group, told ZDNet Asia that the company has seen a rise in the number of requests from customers in Asia to perform mandatory code testing as well as build security features into the code.

Mandatory code testing, said NCS, is one way to verify if security policy requirements have been implemented in the code.

In addition, customers are also asking for their in-house IT security or audit teams to be involved in application development projects, Foo said in an e-mail. This helps to ensure compliance of the customer's security needs.

"Over the last few years, security concerns have been one of the areas raised in software development in Asia," noted Foo. "Customers, aware of the importance of application security, are seeking more information on security issues and how to build security in the source code during the development stage."

Foo said for software development projects, NCS has a team of specialists to test code using tools such as static source code analyzer.

"This team will scan the codes and a report will be sent to the project team to fix any security violations flagged," she said. "Any security violations will be resolved and the source codes passed to the test team to be analyzed again."

Over at Parkway Group Healthcare, Kenneth Thean, group vice president for IT and CIO, said the organization has a set of standard guidelines for application security and design that vendors need to adhere to.

Parkway is in the midst of rolling out its Enterprise Wide Hospital Information System integrated with Oracle E-Business Suite applications, which is undertaken by Tata Consultancy Services.

"We did not focus on malicious ware or backdoors being embedded within the application code itself, [mainly because] our applications are within the organization's internal network and there are stringent policies and audit measures in place to prevent any abuse by staff," said Thean, who is also the chief medical information officer of Parkway. "We also carry out regular internal and external audits to identify any flaws in the organization's system--including application environment and policies--and network security and quickly rectify them as and when they are found.

"Moving forward, Parkway does recognize that, as we expand our systems across the regions, a re-look at our existing policy [is necessary]," he added.

Upon completion of the project next year, Parkway will have full access to the source code, paving the way for in-house review and testing. But Thean pointed out that given the complexity and labor required for the task, the group will explore using tools to automate the processes.

Another issue to consider is the objectivity of security testing, said Thean. Testing done in-house or by the vendor engaged to deliver the applications may not be the best option; instead an independent third party audit should be commissioned.

Elsewhere, however, not all companies pay as much attention to application security testing. Referring to findings of a study of 250 C-level executives in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, application security testing company Veracode said last month that 60 percent of companies that outsource the development of critical applications do not demand for security to be built into their applications.

The report, released by U.K.-based business and IT analyst Quocirca, also noted that 90 percent of organizations outsource over 40 percent of their code.

Friday 4 April 2008

Asian firms not securing mobile devices well

Hi again. As the title says there is a growing pain in the mobile device field. If you compare your laptop against your mobile phone and think how much there is actually information in your mobile phone you will be surprised. Mine includes contacts, all the meetings and company/personal email.

Think about the situation that you somehow have lost your phone. Maybe a competing company has stolen it from you (these things happen). There is all the information they need to know. What are your plans and who you have been talking to. You mights loose cases just because they know who to talk to and what to offer. That would piss me off.

Companies must start thinking about modern day phones as laptops as they actually have as much information as laptops. Encryting data is not enough as most of the encrypting softwares still are bit too heavy to use. You can not deny users connection to Internet beacause that will prevent normal working. Firewall is ok and there are not enough viruses yet to be worried about. So what to do ?

What is the biggest security problem at the moment for companies ? Isn't that you loose/misplace your phone or someone steels it.
What to do then ? I do hope that you had a software installed which has backed up all information from your phone and enables you to erase, wipe and close the phone remotely. If you do not have it yet I do suggest that you contact at least us contact (at) arnora dot com that we can help you to find a provider who can help you.

Cheers,
Markus

now the article...

By Vivian Yeo, ZDNet Asia
04/04/2008
URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/security/0,39044215,62039840,00.htm

Businesses in Asia are still not paying enough attention to securing corporate mobile devices, according to findings of a recent Symantec survey.

Conducted between November 2007 and February 2008, the Web-based survey found that nearly half of the 560 respondents use mobile devices to access corporate e-mail accounts, but fewer than one-third of the enterprises had mobile security policies in place.

In addition, 27 percent indicated they did not have mobile antivirus software.

Conducted on businesses in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, the survey featured questions on e-mail security, backup and archival. A rating of the "health" of the respondent's corporate e-mail systems would be generated at the end of each completed questionnaire.

Don Ng, Symantec's director of enterprise security for the Asia-Pacific, told ZDNet Asia Friday that in terms of absolute numbers, mobile viruses are not as prevalent as Windows-based PCs.

However, the threat is "more significant" as mobile devices, and in particular smartphones, increasingly contain more personal data. For example, Ng said other than access to his corporate e-mail, his smartphone also contains passwords and banking credentials.

The value of a mobile device has gone beyond just a communication tool; it's a lifestyle companion with all our information on it," he noted.

Businesses need to treat mobile devices as PCs and implement the same protective measures, said Singapore-based Ng. "Whatever that [businesses] have accomplished in order to protect personal computers, workstations and servers within the corporate environment, [they] will need a similar infrastructure for mobile devices," he added.

Symantec highlighted three key ways to secure corporate mobile devices such as smartphones:

1. Put in place adequate protection measures
Ensure that there are multiple layers of security such as a firewall or antivirus software, and that they are able to run on different mobile platforms.

2. Encrypt data
Companies need to implement encryption technology to protect their mobile devices, especially if the users are entrusted with confidential information. This is to prevent important or sensitive data from being stolen.

3. Administer network access control
Identify access levels and classify users accordingly on a rigid basis to minimize the impact of data leakage.

Friday 28 March 2008

Companies ill-equipped to deliver better service

This is so true here in Asia. Unfortunately most of the companies I have had a
pleasure to call when I have had problems with devices, software etc have been
really poor on customer support. Most of the times I have fixed things myself
and a company called Lexmark has not even bothered to answer my support
request.

Customer support sucks here and companies which figure out first how to please
the customer will win on the long run. Even service delivery is not working
well which means that most things are done 2/3 ready and then the customer is
lef all alone.

Cheers,
Markus


and now the article...



By Sol E. Solomon, ZDNet Asia

26/03/2008

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62039382,00.htm

Communications executives say customers come
first, but many struggle to understand customer needs and feel ill-equipped to
provide better service, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Commissioned by Oracle, the survey was conducted by the Economist
Intelligence Unit and polled 164 senior executives globally from organizations
in the information, communications and media industries. The report, titled
Conquering Convergence, aimed to determine why companies are
intensifying their focus on customer needs amid the growing adoption of Web 2.0
tools and user-generated
content
, which have enabled customers to "exert influence" over
companies.

Survey respondents recognized the value of emerging technologies such as
blogs, home-produced commercials and personal videos. Some 68 percent said such
technologies offered an opportunity for businesses to increase revenues or
margins, while 39 percent said they were using these tools to achieve
customer-focus goals.

The respondents indicated their companies were increasingly focused on
becoming more customer-centric, but many said they felt poorly equipped to do
so, the study found.

Although 92 percent said their companies had a strategy in place to enhance
customer service, and 69 percent planned to be even more customer-centric, only
15 percent ranked their customer focus programs as highly successful.

Respondents said the low success rate was partly due to insufficient
technology
. Some 25 percent said their company's technology was inadequate
to enable them to stay abreast of customer preferences, and nearly one-third of
those surveyed struggled to deal with inaccurate customer data.

Only 25 percent said their companies developed methods to forecast patterns
of consumer purchases, and 26 percent revealed their companies were able to
produce customer analytics to facilitate up-selling or cross-selling at the
time of interaction with the customer.

Only 38 percent said they had a 360-degree view of the customers, which
included information on the customer's purchases, contact history, preferences
and demographics. About 25 percent of respondents said their companies had
developed predictive customer buying models.

Wednesday 26 March 2008

Companies ill-equipped to deliver better service

This is so true here in Asia. Unfortunately most of the companies I have had a pleasure to call when I have had problems with devices, software etc have been really poor on customer support. Most of the times I have fixed things myself and a company called Lexmark has not even bothered to answer my support request.



Customer support sucks here and companies which figure out first how to please the customer will win on the long run. Even service delivery is not working well which means that most things are done 2/3 ready and then the customer is lef all alone.


Cheers,
Markus

and now the article...

By Sol E. Solomon, ZDNet Asia
26/03/2008
URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62039382,00.htm

Communications executives say customers come first, but many struggle to understand customer needs and feel ill-equipped to provide better service, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Commissioned by Oracle, the survey was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and polled 164 senior executives globally from organizations in the information, communications and media industries. The report, titled Conquering Convergence, aimed to determine why companies are intensifying their focus on customer needs amid the growing adoption of Web 2.0 tools and user-generated content, which have enabled customers to "exert influence" over companies.

Survey respondents recognized the value of emerging technologies such as blogs, home-produced commercials and personal videos. Some 68 percent said such technologies offered an opportunity for businesses to increase revenues or margins, while 39 percent said they were using these tools to achieve customer-focus goals.

The respondents indicated their companies were increasingly focused on becoming more customer-centric, but many said they felt poorly equipped to do so, the study found.

Although 92 percent said their companies had a strategy in place to enhance customer service, and 69 percent planned to be even more customer-centric, only 15 percent ranked their customer focus programs as highly successful.

Respondents said the low success rate was partly due to insufficient technology. Some 25 percent said their company's technology was inadequate to enable them to stay abreast of customer preferences, and nearly one-third of those surveyed struggled to deal with inaccurate customer data.

Only 25 percent said their companies developed methods to forecast patterns of consumer purchases, and 26 percent revealed their companies were able to produce customer analytics to facilitate up-selling or cross-selling at the time of interaction with the customer.

Only 38 percent said they had a 360-degree view of the customers, which included information on the customer's purchases, contact history, preferences and demographics. About 25 percent of respondents said their companies had developed predictive customer buying models.


Monday 18 February 2008

Asia to have world's largest IT spend

By Sol E. Solomon, ZDNet Asia 15/02/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62037867,00.htm

Chief information officers (CIOs) in Asia are expecting strong IT budget growth in 2008, reveals a new Gartner survey which polled some 1,500 CIOs worldwide.

Global IT budgets are expected to rise by an average of 3.3 percent in 2008, but growth in Asia is significantly higher--with IT budgets projected to go up by an average 8.3 percent, according to the Gartner Executive Programs (Gartner EXP), a membership-based organization, which the research house said currently has over 3,600 CIOs worldwide.

Andrew Rowsell-Jones, Gartner EXP's vice president and research director for the survey, said the focus on growth in Asia is reflected in different technology priorities, as well as the impact of economic, social and other mega trends.

"Here, the focus is on building out IT infrastructure, rolling out new applications and finding the people and processes to make it all work," Rowsell-Jones said in a press release.

"IT budget growth is back and and almost at dot-com era levels," he said.

According to the Gartner survey, inflation topped the list of economic and social concerns in Asia, and government regulations came in second. However, these rankings were reversed in the global results, the survey found.

Concerns relating to staffing and skills are a universal theme among CIOs globally, noted Gartner.

"Everyone is suffering from resource problems," said Rowsell-Jones. "Only 27 percent of CIOs worldwide believe that they have the right number of skilled people to meet business needs, and the problem is slightly more acute in Asia. That is impacting both IT performance and IT's support for enterprise strategies."

CIO job stability The tenure of Asian CIOs has stabilized at an average of four-and-a-half years, slightly longer than their global counterparts of four years and four months. In addition, 43 percent of CIOs in the region report to the CEO.

Reflecting their enhanced business leadership position, 64 percent of Asian CIOs have responsibilities outside of traditional IT, where the most common additional responsibility is related to business process improvement.

The Gartner EXP report, Making the Difference: The 2008 CIO Agenda, encompasses more than US$132 billion of IT spending and the insights from more than 1,450 enterprises across 33 countries and 23 industries, according to Gartner. The survey included 121 CIOs from 11 countries in Asia, excluding Australia and Japan.

Thailand unveils five-year RFID roadmap

By Sasiwimon Boonruang, Bangkok Post 15/02/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/communications/0,39044192,62037858,00.htm

The National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec) has rolled out a five-year radio frequency identification (RFID) technology roadmap to promote the local RFID industry and to serve potential business sectors.

The five-year roadmap (from 2008 to 2012) focuses on RFID use in Thailand for tracking animals and food, logistics, transportation and in the financial sector.

Between 2007 and 2008, RFID applications in Thailand have been used for access control and for animal tracking, according to Nectec's research team. The technology will be expanded to cover supply chain management and logistics, as well as industrial and manufacturing automation. In the near future, RFID in Thailand is expected to be used in the transportation, financial and healthcare sectors.

Nectec noted that the basic technologies where development should be accelerated in the short term included wireless, embedded systems, micro controllers, microwave, multi-readers and software, such as databases, as well as developing an RFID knowledge base.

Currently, companies here that use logistics RFID applications include Western Digital (Thailand), PTT and SCG Logistics Management. However, no company is running RFID actively for wholesale and retail as they are studying the return on their investment.

RFID technology, meanwhile, has been used for electronic toll collection using dedicated short range communications.

The first-stage expressway has run an active tag system at 2.4GHz and expects that over the next two years, it will transfer to a passive tag system at 5.8GHz and would expand this to the second stage expressway.

In the future, RFID will be used in transportation for such applications as advanced traveler information, near-field communications and for non-transit payments.

Phaophak Siriruk, adviser for Nectec's roadmap development project, said the goals of the five-year roadmap include having more RFID use in animal tracking and food traceability for export within three years, more RFID use in logistics and supply chains within five years, to have at least an additional 10 projects involving RFID R&D and to have a bigger proportion of local RFID products and services.

Citing a report made by technology market researchers VDC, Drew Nathason, from the company's RFID practice, said that in 2008, RFID would grow to be worth over US$5 billion (157 billion baht) worldwide by 2008. The market's compound annual growth rate was estimated to be approximately 34 percent, of which software and services have the highest growth. The total services market by 2008 is over US$2 billion (62.7 billion baht).

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Top 10 Asian telecom predictions for 2008

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia 29/01/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/communications/0,39044192,62037124,00.htm

IDC has revealed its top 10 telecommunications predictions for the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan (APEJ) in 2008. These include greater demand for Web 2.0 and unified communications applications such as collaboration tools within the enterprise, as well as increasing awareness in IP-surveillance products.

In its report released earlier this month, the research house also identified green communication technologies as a priority among businesses in the region. As a result, products and services that are environmentally friendly, such as videoconferencing, are expected to gain traction.

Top 10 telecom trends in APEJ for 2008

1. Multimedia applications Enterprise adoption of WLAN (wireless LAN) is expected to grow when the 802.11n standard is ratified in 2008, IDC predicted. This is because the 802.11n standard will "remove obstacles that have previously impeded" enterprise-wide adoption of WLAN and is expected to pave the way for larger scale deployment.

In addition to improved security, bandwidth and range, the standard is likely to enable the "seamless delivery" of unified mobile applications--which the current combination of wired and wireless networks has problems tackling. As such, its technological strengths will drive greater usage of multimedia applications such as videoconferencing, IPTV (Internet Protocol TV), video-on-demand, multiroom DVR (digital video recorder) and voice over WLAN.

2. Streaming services IDC noted that although data streaming has been around for a while, its performance on GPRS (general packet radio service) and 3G networks has been "too slow and too inefficient". However, the arrival of HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access)which could deliver speeds of 3.6Mbps or greater"breathes new life" into music and video streaming, as well as "bring mobile TV into reality".

Streaming services are expected to enhance operators' revenues as long as tariff plans are simple and content has appeal, said the analyst firm.

3. All-IP mobile core network According to IDC, there will be more APEJ mobile operators migrating to an all-IP mobile core network in 2008. GSM operators that do not have a 3G license and are looking to roll out the next-generation wireless data services are expected to migrate their mobile switching center, base-station controllers, customer care and billing systems, SMS (short messaging service) and other value-added voice services to an all-IP core.

This is because an all-IP mobile core network provides operators with flexibility in scaling up to new bandwidth-hungry applications while preparing for a future 4G-network design at the same time, the report noted.

4. Mobile 2.0 applications The introduction of HSDPA, coupled with the rise of Web 2.0 technologiessuch as blogging and video sharingwill help create opportunities for mobile operators, IDC noted.

"Mobile versions of various Web 2.0 applications will accustom subscribers to use their mobile phones for communications and social networking purposes," the research house said. "As users become more comfortable and more compelled to use their phone to access the Internet, operators are posed to gain from greater data usage."

According to IDC, most Asian carriers recognize that creative content development could lead to enhanced revenue, and as such, mobile operators are expected to be "very active" in developing and pushing mobile 2.0 applications in 2008.

5. Opportunities in verticals As "highly customized service brings higher premium", the telecommunications industry has been placing great emphasis on delivering tailored products for various industry verticals, IDC said.

The study predicted that the gaming, healthcare, hospitality, off-shoring and retail sectors in APEJ will hold great revenue potential for telcos over the next few years.

6. Eco-friendly communication services While server and datacenter consolidation will be one of the immediate focus points of making IT environmentally friendly, videoconferencing is another area that will become increasingly popular as it "resonates well with "green IT", the report said.

"Enterprises will increase pressure on their partners and suppliers to provide 'green' solutions, not only for the purposes of meeting environmental compliance regulations, but also from genuine concern for the environment," IDC said. It expects more green initiatives in 2008 and beyond.

Wireless communication networks Wireless communication networks will become more popular in certain markets as mobile operators use the technology to offer unlimited voice call that resemble fixed-line services, IDC predicted. It added that fixed-line penetration remains low in a number of emerging markets such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

8. IP surveillance With IP-surveillance tools currently being deployed in Beijing, China, as part of the 2008 Olympics security plan, 2008 is set to be a "big" year for the technology. "Businesses will be receptive to IP surveillance due to increased security concerns, as well as IP surveillance's cost effectiveness," IDC said.

The emerging technology will become popular in the gaming, financial services and retail industries, the study noted, citing physical security as a primary concern for these vertical industries.

9. Unified communications and Web 2.0 As the gap between personal and business communication narrows, there is an emerging focus on Web 2.0 and unified communications (UC) offerings for the enterprise, IDC noted. "Enterprises will move beyond UC and start embracing Web 2.0 with a focus on collaboration, customer analytics and targeted smart search applications in 2008."

According to the report, the need for constant presence, information and more effective communication and collaborative workflows are factors driving the adoption of UC and Web 2.0 applications at the workplace. IDC predicted that 2008 will be the year where these services will gain traction in the enterprise space.

10. HSDPA and mobile WiMax HSDPA and mobile WiMax will "cooperate and compete" for market share in the APEJ wireless broadband markets--where HSDPA will be the "winner" for 3G carriers and mobile WiMax the "winner" for 2G carriers as well as fixed-line providers, predicted IDC.

It noted that wireless broadband technology is a cost-effective offering that could address the demand for connectivity in markets that have moderate to high broadband household penetration, as well as households that are still not connected to the Internet or even the analog telephony POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).

Thursday 17 January 2008

Asia's SaaS CRM market heating up

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia 16/01/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62036677,00.htm

The SaaS scene has been heating up with the introduction of new, larger entrants, but market leader Salesforce.com says it is not feeling threatened.

The SaaS (software-as-a-service) CRM (customer relationship management) market, a space long dominated by Salesforce.com, is now gaining the attention of large software houses looking to capture a piece of the lucrative small and midsize business (SMB) segment.

SAP last September introduced Business ByDesign, its SaaS offering for mid-market customers. Designed for companies with 100 to 500 employees, the hosted offering encompasses a CRM application and other tools, such as business analytics and human resources management.

Previously, SAP offered a standalone Web-based CRM product called CRM On Demand, but the software vendor touts Business ByDesign as an offering that is tightly integrated into its business suite.

Another software house Oracle, coins its SaaS offering CRM On Demand. After acquiring Siebel in a move to broaden its CRM portfolio, the company last August launched a new release of the platform. Last week, Oracle added social networking features to allow its users to share data with their business partners to facilitate joint sales and marketing campaigns.

Microsoft also joined the fray late last year with its hosted CRM offering, Dynamics CRM Live.

The AppExchange factor Despite the increasing competition, Salesforce.com remains confident its AppExchange plug-in database will keep its customers happy.

Jeremy Cooper, Salesforce.com's vice president of marketing for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said in an e-mail interview that there is "phenomenal demand" for AppExchange", which currently boasts some 35,000 customers and 300 independent software vendors (ISVs) worldwide. "Over time, yes, we will move 100 percent to SaaS." -- Steven Guggenheimer Microsoft

The popularity of the plug-in database, which extends the functionality of Salesforce.com's platform, stems from the variety of applications available and that many of the applications are available for free, Cooper said.

Sau Lam, an analyst with AMI-Partners, said in a research note released October 2007 that SAP will need a similar approach to make its Business ByDesign a success.

Lam said: "SAP needs to woo developers that can add vertical and other niche functionality to its base offering... SAP faces stiff competition from rivals, all of whom are heavily courting these kinds of high value-add partners."

Asia's growing SaaS appetite And the appeal of SaaS CRM looks set to continue growing in Asia.

AMI-Partners' Lam said: "Market demand for SaaS is snowballing... Spending on SaaS applications will outpace spending on packaged software by as much as three times over the next five years."

According to Springboard Research figures, the Asia-Pacific SaaS CRM market, excluding Japan, grew by an estimated 68 percent in 2007, and is expected to reach US$460 million by 2010, up from US$69 million in 2006.

Balaka Baruah Aggarwal, Springboard senior manager for emerging software said in a statement last month: "The market is set to witness unprecedented growth in the SMB sector as the vendors promote their CRM offerings.

"Springboard Research believes that a substantial portion of the growth in Asia-Pacific's SaaS CRM market will come from the SME segment. We expect SMBs to go for simpler CRM solutions that are not too complex," said Aggarwal, adding that this momentum will drive traditional licensed software companies to offer stripped-down, SMB-specific SaaS applications.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Salesforce.com president and CEO of Asia-Pacific, Steve Russell, explained the interest Asian SMBs has on its SaaS CRM product.

Asia has "very little legacy", Russell said, which means companies in the region have not invested in on-premise software and are therefore not compelled to use such products.

"Asian companies are also risk-averse and conservative," he noted, adding that SaaS's subscription-based model lowers the barrier to entry for SMBs. Two-thirds of Salesforce.com customers globally are SMBs.

Steven Guggenheimer, Microsoft's general manager for application platform and development marketing, said in an interview that for smaller businesses, "it is just easier for everything to be hosted.

"New expectations are going to challenge CIOs," he told ZDNet Asia. Businesses will look to their IT heads to better utilize the company's existing resources, and this is where Web-based offerings can be a viable replacement for packaged software, said Guggenheimer.

"Over time, yes, we will move 100 percent to SaaS," he said.

According to Salesforce.com's Russell, the next wave driving the hosted software market will focus on the ability to access applications via mobile devices.

"This is where the market's going," he said. "Mobile presents the best opportunity in the region."

Thursday 10 January 2008

Singapore's 40 Richest

Wanna see who really run Singapore ?

Check out http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/79/biz-cz_07singapore_Singapores-40-Richest_Rank_print.html

Cheers, Make

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Season Greetings

Merry Christmas 2007

Friday 14 December 2007

APAC to spend US$154B on IT

By Eileen Yu, ZDNet Asia
14/12/2007
URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62035588,00.htm

The Asia-Pacific region will fork out US$154 billion in ICT (information and communications technology) expenditure next year, with the world's two most populous countries--China and India--leading the charge.

Research firm IDC this week unveiled its key predictions for 2008, including forecasts that government spending and green IT initiatives will fuel some of the momentum.

"Government spending will accelerate due to digital inclusion and new digital demands from a more savvy population," Graeme Muller, head of Asia-Pacific Predictions Committee at IDC, said in a statement. "While governments will typically lead digital inclusion efforts, strong participation from ICT vendors is expected as part of their corporate social responsibility programs."

Often used to describe efforts in narrowing the digital divide, digital inclusion seeks to make ICT services affordable and accessible to communities that are socially or economically challenged.

IDC said it expects to see a host of projects involving combined efforts from the public and private sectors to address the digital divide. "2008 is expected to be the year where governments lead the way in deploying technologies to extend connectivity, and build toward a society of digital inclusion," the analyst said.

IDC estimates the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, will increase their ICT spending to US$154 billion in 2008, a 10 percent growth over last year. China and India will account for almost half of total expenditure, with India registering the fastest growth worldwide in terms of overall IT spending.

In particular, an increasing number of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in both countries will acquire more IT products and services. IDC noted that IT vendors must then tweak their existing sales model to cater specifically to this market segment, where customers may have "drastically different" business operations from larger companies.

The research house also believes business intelligence (BI) software is increasingly packaged and marketed as part of a larger product suite that can better address customer needs. Coining this trend intelligent process automation (IPA), IDC said 2007 was marked by several major acquisitions in the BI space, where these companies were snapped up by large software vendors that did not specialize in BI.

"These disruptions will alter the competitive landscape and affect the positioning and go-to-market strategies in 2008, as new segments appear from these new delivery models," IDC said.

The research firm also predicted that growing concerns about global warming will shift Asia's focus toward green IT and eco-friendly technologies. Expecting the "greenness" of ICT vendors to be an important component of a customer's purchasing decision, IDC said: "It is not surprising that while corporate social responsibility is an important reason for companies to adopt green IT, the underlying motivation is that of cost savings."

IT vendors, it added, will be challenged to demonstrate a business case for adopting, as well as sustaining a green IT strategy.

IDC's other predictions for 2008 include:

  • Increased adoption of enterprise collaboration. The desire for enhanced collaboration and effective communication will drive the adoption of unified communications amongst Asian companies. IDC believes unified communications and Web 2.0 tools will gain significant traction in the enterprise space next year.
  • Apple iPhone drives demand for multimedia phones. The expected introduction of iPhone in Asia next year, alongside new devices from handset makers such as Nokia and RIM, will stimulate the multimedia and converged devices market. Various new access capabilities, including downloading content over-the-air and peer-to-peer mechanisms, will also find their way into mobile devices in 2008.
  • WiMax versus HSDPA. Demand for wireless broadband access will fuel a fiery and complex competition for market share amongst carriers and service providers, and a battlefield between HSDPA and WiMax.


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Tuesday 27 November 2007

Red Hat gets all charged up in Asia

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia 26/11/2007 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62034857,00.htm

Gery Messer, Red Hat President APJ newsmaker For Gery Messer, the people factor is key to success.

In a role created for him in February this year, Red Hat's president for the Asia-Pacific region is vocal about the power of "talent attracting talent" which, he believes, is vital to growing the business.

"Since I joined the company earlier this year, we've brought in some executives who are veterans. We want this leadership to attract high-profile executives, to inspire, set the direction and to talk with key clients," Messer said.

An industry veteran with more than 20 years of management consulting and sales experience, Messer has held several senior executive positions at EMC, SAP and Deloitte Consulting.

ZDNet Asia sat down with Messer recently to discuss the rate of Linux adoption and his vision for Red Hat in Asia.

How is the adoption of Linux in the region's server space from your perspective? If you look at the major organizations, more and more are running mission-critical applications on a Linux platform, because its reliability is not disputed anymore. With open source, we've gone through the emotional phase, about innovation and building a strong community. Then the next phase benchmarked its performance to show it was proven and scalableand safe. Now we're leveraging that. CIOs are telling us that open source is becoming mainstream and isn't deemed risky anymore. There's so much more technology available from when we started, like virtualization and data storage managementnow all integrated into the operating system.

Gartner recently predicted that 80 percent of all commercial software will include open source standards and solutions by 2011. It was a US$18 billion market in 2005, and we're looking at US$41 billion by 2010. With the CIOs today, it's not a question of whether they'll use Linux or open-source solutions, but more of how quickly they will adapt, and what percentage of their overall IT structure will be on open-source platforms.

How do you see Linux on the desktop shaping up? Internally, we're running operations on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, of course, and personally, coming from a background working with a popular proprietary operating system, I can tell you that the experience is almost the same. People don't seem to have problems adapting to its look and feel.

The trend we're seeing is toward having different desktops for different users. Linux's flexibility means that we see it on a variety of devices like thin clients or the OLPC, for example. I'm expecting widespread deployment of Linux on the desktop fairly soon.

Red Hat recently hired several members of its top management in the region. Are you looking to grow your staff further? Absolutely. We're focusing our efforts on building a strong management and support team, to attract talent in the region. We have a strong presence here, in nine different countries. And since I joined the company earlier this year, we've brought in some executives who are veterans. We want this leadership to attract high-profile executives, to inspire, set the direction and to talk with key clients. Eventually, we hope these people can go out and be thought leaders in the community.

I really believe in hiring people to grow and retain them. It's a great passion of mine.

What are your plans for Red Hat's business here? For our growth strategy and plans, we're looking to expand our partner ecosystem: channel partners and those with middleware skills, too. We want to pose a value proposition not just to customers but also our partners, so that they can build a sustainable business model around our partnership, providing extra work and support.

Companies spend 60 percent of their budgets on support and maintenance. This is where we can come in and offer a price comparison.

Globally, Red Hat is seeing 40 percent of revenues coming from outside of the United States. In two years, we're looking at raising that to 50 percent, with the aim of eventually hitting 60 percent. The Asia-Pacific region is a significant contributor to our international revenue stream, and it's just a matter of time before we go into more markets in the region.

Friday 9 November 2007

MobileMonday Singapore 28th of November

Ok, here is the deal. I will be attending MobileMonday Singapore 28th of November as attendee and as A Master of Ceremonies. So if you are interested about mobile business or just want to meet member of Arnora and other mobile business people please come and enjoy free drinks and snacks.

Beyond 3G - How Japan continues to lead in mobile innovation

You are invited to the 11th MobileMonday Singapore session, a monthly informal gathering of mobile industry professionals.

starting at 18:30 at Microsoft Auditorium @ One Marina Boulevard (22nd Flr)

This open society promotes the mobile industry and fosters cooperation and
networking amongst those who work in it by providing opportunities for
personal and virtual contacts in an entertaining and casual environment.

Japan is arguably the world's most advanced mobile market. The huge popularity and stunning revenues generated by Japan's
mobile Internet ecosystem have been widely reported, but the reasons
behind the success and how these lessons apply to other markets are
little understood outside of Japan.
In this talk, we will take a peek into the future of mobile and learn
about the trends that are bound to soon hit other markets as well.

Please take a moment to register at: www.mobilemonday.sg

Cheer and see you at the MobileMonday Singapore,
Markus


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Wednesday 7 November 2007

Internationalization and Exporting Live!


Arnora has today participated in an “Internationalization and Exporting Live!” seminar at Lappeenranta, Finland. The main focus of the seminar was on the practical approach on SME companies' internationalization. In addition to the formal presentations there was also an “Internationalization market place”, where participants could familiarize themselves with the business development and internationalization service companies' offerings.

The happening was arranged by the Federation of Finnish Industries (EK) and finnish Employment and Economic Development Centre (TE-keskus).

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Tuesday 6 November 2007

Google Announces Android - New Open Source Phone Platform

Google announced the Open Handset Alliance and its first product, the open source Android mobile phone platform, which is based upon Linux. Android consists of an OS, middleware, a user interface, and applications.

Thank god Google did not try to do a mobile phone. They should stick with the software as that is the "thing" they know how to do. There are too many things to take care of when dealing with hardware.

It is good to see that there is going to be competition in the mobile OS field. Players like OpenMoko, Maemo, Ubuntu and other Linux based operating systems have already made a way for Google but Linux has still lacked credibility. Now there is THE major Internet company moving to the same direction. Now if anyone says that Linux is not going to be one of the mobile OS players they should recheck their wirings.

Check the link: http://www.openhandsetalliance.com/

Markus from rainy Singapore

Sunday 28 October 2007

Red Hat: avoimella koodilla kasvuapajat Aasiassa

Sorry folks. This is in Finnish...

Toimitusjohtaja: julkishallinnossa positiivisia kokemuksia

Red Hat: avoimella koodilla kasvuapajat Aasiassa

Toimitusjohtaja Matthew Szulikin mukaan avoin koodi houkuttaa Aasian maita.

28.10. klo 07:26 Linux-yhtiö Red Hatin toimitusjohtajan Matthew Szulikin mukaan avoimen lähdekoodin houkutus on selvästi kasvamaan päin Aasian ja Tyynenmeren alueella. Apua on ollut monen maan julkishallinnon positiivisista kokemuksista.

Avoimen koodin puolestapuhujia ovat olleet Etelä-Korean, Japanin, Australian ja Kiinan julkishallinnon edustajat, kertoi toimitusjohtaja Matthew Szulik IDG Newsille.

Avoin koodi nähdään Szulikin mukaan nyt monessa Aasian maassa taloutta kohentavana ratkaisuna ja tapana lisätä innovointia. 

Yhdysvaltalaisella Red Hatilla on pyrkimyksenä kasvattaa merkittävästi kotimaansa ulkopuolista liiketoimintaa. Yhtiö pyrkii nostamaan ulkomaiden osuuden liikevaihdostaan 60 prosenttiin vuoden 2009 loppuun mennessä. 

Red Hatin kasvu Aasiassa ja muuallakin perustuu enimmäkseen yrityksiin, jotka haluavat siirtyä Unixista tai vanhoista järjestelmistä Linuxiin. Szulikin mukaan tyypillisiä asiakkaita ovat rahoitusalan, televiestinnän, teknologian ja julkishallinnon organisaatiot.



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Thursday 18 October 2007

Asia warms up to IT as a service

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia 17/10/2007 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62033422,00.htm

SINGAPORE--Technology as a service is emerging as an alternative IT delivery model, offering businesses in the Asia-Pacific region a strong value proposition, according to Gartner.

At a Gartner seminar held here Tuesday, Rolf Jester, Gartner's vice president and distinguished analyst of global IT services research, highlighted several new ways to deliver IT. They include software as a service (SaaS), storage as a service, grid computing, and business process utility.

Jester described these as examples of technology as a service, where the technology asset, such as the hardware and software, is owned, housed and managed by a service provider who charges on a usage basis.

He noted that while the best known example of technology as a service is SaaS, which has been adopted by large enterprises, as well as "many small companies", storage as a service is starting to emerge, particularly in the area of backup.

"Everyone knows they need to do it (backup), but many people don't have good processes for backup, and they haven't really invested in that," Jester said.

While companies today may want to own their storage products, a backup and archiving service provider can offer greater security, the Gartner analyst noted. For example, businesses can tap on the storage service for archiving e-mail, which is important for certain compliance regulations.

Hoping to tap on this emerging opportunity are HDS and Symantec which announced this year their storage as a service strategies, dubbed Services Oriented Storage Solutions and Storage United, respectively.

Jester also noted the emergence of other technologies being delivered as a service. "We have witnessed some companies providing a server environment across the Internet to small and midsize businesses (SMBs), as well as companies providing a hub for transaction processing," he said.

"Business processes are already available as a utility in some cases," he added.

Looking beyond the short-term potential, Jester said "just about every business" will be attracted to some of these models in the long term.

According to Jester, the Asia-Pacific region and Eastern Europe are the early adopters of these alternative delivery models, particularly countries with high economic growth.

"High growth countries, such as India and China, will adopt the model for their own domestic markets, but not for their export markets," he noted.

"In China for instance, retailing, transportation, banking and insurance are going through such rapid growth that the companies investing in those businesses don't have the time nor the inclination to worry about building a lot of customized IT," Jester said. "If they can find it, they would very happily adopt technology as a service in many cases."

Monday 1 October 2007

Asia finds security in open source

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia 28/09/2007 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62032771,00.htm

Better security protection tops the list of buying criteria for open source software, reveals a new study conducted on Australia, China, India and Korea.

According to IDC's latest study released Friday on open source trends and challenges, security was the top reason for deploying open source technology, followed by budget constraints and the availability of better management tools and utilities.

"The results indicate that organizations perceived open source technology as providing better security compared to proprietary products," said Prianka Srinivasan, a market analyst for IDC Asia-Pacific.

The study also concluded that more SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) were using open source compared to large businesses, while India and China seemed to be the bigger adopters of open source compared to Australia and Korea.

Although cost-efficiency remained a key decision factor, Srinivasan said, the results also suggested that organizations looked to primarily fulfill their requirements for specific functionalities.

The study also revealed a growing interest in the adoption of open source versions of "higher-end" software beyond the current infrastructure and database applications.

According to Srinivasan, survey respondents showed an interest in open source versions of CRM (customer relationship management) and BPM (business performance management) tools. This, she said, suggested that "organizations will increasingly incorporate open source technology in more mission-critical applications".

The analyst firm also advised commercial vendors of open source software to focus on support services and ensure interoperability between their products and others in the market, so as to take advantage of the growing market.

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