Business & Technology Nexus

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OOW 2011

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Tomorrow San Francisco will get crazy with OOW’ers. I’m excited to be there for two reasons:

1- To share more of the Sun systems integration story and to talk publicly about our work at Oracle Applications Labs

2- To witness the unveiling of a project we’ve kept under wraps for quite some time @ Larry Ellison’s Wednesday keynote

The OOW event is so gigantic now it is hard to fathom. I think attendance is around 50K and there will be another 100K online.

See you there!


Written by Dave Stephens

10/1/11 8:20 PM at 8:20 pm

Posted in IT, Software

Transfigured Open Source

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A few years ago, Linux appeared to be headed towards dominance in the server OS market. At the same time, MySQL “broke out” and seemed on its way towards making databases free. At layer after layer in the technology stack, open source was cool & moving forward.

So much so that vc-backed companies formed and grew taking traditional enterprise software or technology areas and professionally building and running open source project versions.

Here in 2009 the scene has changed. It feels very different.

For open source software companies expecting customers to choose to “pay” for “free” software, the bait-and-switch mindset which was so inevitable is more exposed. Imho, this is a good thing, as it frees the open source movement from a moral gray area where companies offered products for free but were incented to somehow cause those products to need other services or support to make them complete & functional.

Microsoft’s server OS seems to be faring better than expected vs. Linux. And Oracle has been very active, acquiring InnoDB (the jugular of MySQL), offering enterprise support for RedHat Linux (exposing the lack of intellectual property in RedHat’s business model), and then swallowing Sun to take Java & MySQL in full.

This leaves us in an interesting spot, where we seem to have only 2 viable technology stacks left – one from Microsoft and the other from open source + Oracle / IBM. IBM has growing gaps while Oracle seems strengthened in the enterprise.

As a fan of Ruby on Rails and other script-based languages, it will be a telling 2010 to see whether the market will consolidate around .Net and Java or whether choice continues & the tools market remains fragmented…

Written by Dave Stephens

07/25/09 9:17 PM at 9:17 pm

Posted in IT, Open Source, Opinion

The Coming $19B “Obama Flood” in EMR Software?

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My wife is a family practice physician. Her clinic, FINALLY, is installing an electronic medical records system. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt sick to my stomach while walking through her clinic looking at wall after wall of floor-to-ceiling files. It’s an in-your-face visual reminder of the information silos that prevent physicians from understanding a patient’s condition holistically & achieving better patient outcomes.

That’s why I’m a pretty big fan of Obama “calling the US healthcare system out” on being antiquated and ill-equipped to meet the needs of patients. From petty bickering keeping physicians from establishing common standards of care and treatment, to their all-to-often allergic reponse to technology, the time has long-since come for change.

And change does indeed seem to be on its way. In  fact, the mandates for change seem to be translating into a $19B “Obama Flood” of business for EMR software vendors and implementation specialists. And since often these systems are implemented (even at a small clinic) for more than $100K USD, there’s a lot of money about to change hands in pursuit of a much-needed modernization of our healthcare infrastructure.

I’ve been intrigued, as a procurement guy, how clinics and hospitals and other points-of-care are going about choosing their new systems. There seem to be a good number of website “lists” of EMR software systems available – and I think that’s a good thing. But I wonder if decisions like these are made more through face-to-face referrals from sources of trust. Even if so, some basic research by IT staff and clinic managers can ensure that organizations find the system that offers the best value and best matches their requirements.

How to buy complex systems in an opaque market, where vendors do not necessarily disclose complete information about their capabilities or their price, can be quite challenging. If you are currently researching an EMR system for your point-of-care facility, what are you doing to make sure you’ve found the right one?

Written by Dave Stephens

02/16/09 12:53 PM at 12:53 pm

Jyte Is Pretty Cool

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Every once and awhile I tune in to JanRain’s broadcast – they are the team behind the Open Source project OpenID. (Which is timely to share since I think WordPress is now OpenID compatible.) I’ve written on OpenID in the past – but to recap it allows you to use your login credentials from your favorite trusted site when logging into other sites. (i.e. use your Yahoo! login to log in to WordPress, etc). It’s like a simple version of LDAP that any site in the world can tune into.

Now the guys over at JanRain has also baked up some Jyte. It’s like an open version of MySpace (without friendship rings, etc) with a little of Wikipedia thrown in. Its special sauce is that you or others can make claims about you – and then people get to vote on whether they believe or agree with your claim.


What if we all started using this for suppliers? And what if suppliers could use it for their customers?

For example: GE Pays Really, Really Late (Thumbs Up, +1000, Thumbs Down, 0). Or how about: Grainger’s Emergency Repair Part Service Is Inexpensive (Thumbs Up, 0, Thumbs Down, 321). Fun stuff!

Written by Dave Stephens

03/11/07 8:42 AM at 8:42 am

Posted in IT, Opinion, Technology

US Government Bans Vista & Internet Explorer 7

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As a Mac enthusiast who also uses PC’s, I thought this Business 2.0 article was pretty funny. DOT bans Vista! Also Internet Explorer 7. Well, I do have some insight on the IE 7 trouble. IE 6 so blatantly violated browser standards that it required some serious coding to support. Plus it was so dominate in the market that people just wrote apps that worked on IE 6 – forget browser compatibility, it’s not important when you get 90% of the market with just 1.

Internet Explorer 7 is far more standards friendly. Said another way, it works NOTHING LIKE IE6. So as I visit Windows IT shops most of them have “No IE7” policies in place b/c they find all their production web applications are broken. There’s a lot of short term pain here, but in the end IE7 will behave a lot closer to Firefox and other browsers who respect standards, and so these same IT shops will have more choice moving forward.

Microsoft should have produced some sort of help for IT departments needing to migrate their web applications from IE6 to IE7. And who knows, maybe they did – so by all means point me to it if it’s out there.

Written by Dave Stephens

03/5/07 8:42 AM at 8:42 am

Posted in IT

Belated Post On EPEAT and US Federal Government

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I received a heads-up in late January from Scot Case over at the Green Electronics Council that President Bush had signed an Executive Order requiring all federal agencies to buy EPEAT registered “green” computers.

Given that estimates are US federal agencies buy 7% of the world’s computers, this is a big deal. And I think it’s great!

Now someone needs to explain to me, in small words please, how on Earth US federal agencies can possibly need 7% of the world’s computers…

Written by Dave Stephens

03/3/07 7:31 PM at 7:31 pm

Posted in IT, Procurement

The Creepy-Cool SalesGenius Experience

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As Coupa grows we’re getting serious about prospect followup, etc. One aspect of this is evaluating the quality of leads. In CRM terms, suffice it to say “quality” can mean whatever you want – in this case let’s say it measures interest-level (vs. budget-approved, is-the-right-sized-firm, etc).

For small firms like Coupa, the SalesGenius service seems pretty interesting. At its core, it tracks what prospects do with email you send them. It’s very cool, but in a creepy, big-brotherish kind of way..

Say I email Joe Schmo at fictitious company MotoRo with a nice email explaining my product offering. If Joe chooses to read the email I’ll get a real-time pop-up on my desktop saying “Joe is reading your email!”. The pop-up will include Joe’s contact information if I’ve added it to the system. If I embed a link in the email, say back to my website, and Joe clicks the link – voila, the SalesGenius service will shoot a message to my desktop: “Joe is on your website!”.

The thinking behind the tracking, which is clever and inescapably logical, is that if Joe is reading the email or perusing the website it might be a very, very good time to call him. The question I have is whether this crosses some sort of privacy boundary. A good test of whether it does is whether you’d be comfortable calling Joe and saying “Hey, I noticed you were reading my email 2 minutes ago and had clicked to our website so I figured I’d call in case you had any questions.” Now I’m no sales guy, but my gut tells me that wouldn’t be the best ice breaker.

…But hey, if you’re a sales guy and you think your competitors might be effectively using tools like SalesGenius to increase their close % it may be time to keep-up-with-the-Jones’. And on the surface, it seems pretty neat

I’d be interested in your feedback on other lead followup tools you like! Add your thoughts as comments below.

Written by Dave Stephens

02/27/07 9:08 PM at 9:08 pm

Posted in Coupa, IT, Opinion