Cricket, long tails, podcasting….

I’ve just left City airport in London – homeward bound should get home at midnight.  I left Frankfurt on the 7.00am flight, a long day for vendorprisey, so this post will say nothing of significance.  (Actually I’m finishing this up at home now)

If you were expecting a tussle with Vinnie or Nicholas Carr you will be disappointed.   I’ve noticed there is a bucket load of commentary to digest about the SAP analyst meeting, some positive, some not. I’ll return to that tomorrow.

On  the flight out I listened to the test match day 4 summary podcast from the BBC.  By the time I’d landed,  day 5 was over, and In case you are wondering, the Australians beat England again, exposing England’s long tail. Not much has changed since 1882

The highlight of Harris’ tour was a game billed as an “English XI” against “Dave Gregory’s Australian XI”; it was this game that later got recognised as a Test. Lord Harris’ side was weak, with a long tail. 

That folks, is the original meaning of the long tail.  

The Aussie commentator, former wicketkeeper, Ian Healy  summarises the 5th day  here.  

My German and American colleagues are amazed-baffled that I can get pleasure from a game that lasts five days, but the Indian colleagues  and I lament the lack of legal cricket coverage in Germany, despite the power of Internet radio and TV.  Clicking refresh on the cricinfo text based coverage is not quite as good.  I have been known to read a whole test match though. 

BBC, Channel 9,  if you are reading this the  long tail of cricket fans is in Walldorf.  I reckon we could even pick a side. I will be scorer and 12th man. 

I also listened to two of the recent  Redmonk podcasts. The combination of James and Cote is always interesting.  It a blast of contrasts.  James is all fireworks, Cote all silkysmoothlaidbackness.  James managed to remind me about CICS.  Cote interviewed the Rednun, Anne. I look forward to hearing and reading more from her. Her blog is in my RSS feed.

 I would like Cote to do a podcast of a  bedtime stories for geeks who can’t put down their blackberries at night.

“Hi, this is Cote on Redmonk Radio,  put down your blackberry now, close your eyes, and listen to the story of the three elastic cloud servers and the declarative ajax fairy.”

“Tomorrow, if you are very good, I’ll tell you the tale of how Ruby found her rails.”


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Walking the walk, broccoli ice cream and 2.0

I posted a rather cynical comment about the cluetrain a couple of days ago, and Doc Searls got back to me very quickly. It turned out it was an issue with domain name renewal. Glad to see the train is back on the rails, and thanks for the speedy comment.

I’m  impressed and often gobsmacked with a lot of the innovation and off the wall thinking that is happening with this whole web 2.0 thing, what with clues and tails, spheres and memes I’m like Alice in Wonderland, every day is an unbirthday. 

But the cluetrain incident, Zoli’s concerns with gmail  and other services and Redmonk’s sometimes rather iffy blog infrastructure remind me of a saying that we use at home a lot. “You can’t have your ice cream until you have eaten your broccoli.”

The 2.0 crowd is merciless in its criticism of 1.0 and of things enterprisey as dull and boring and closed. We all dig the the cool stuff, but unless the basics work, the plot is lost. Being 2.0 is no excuse for being offline, any 1.0 business will tell you that. I guess to innovate well, you need to do boring well too.

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breakfast and compliance…anything James can do I can do …..

James wrote a useful post about CA compliance positioning. CA is an interesting case, they have had compliance challenges themselves, but as a business they really seem to be getting their house in order. I found this presentation via good old google this morning. (hope CA is okay with me linking to it) Check out slide 9, about the reduction in costs that they have achieved. At the event James attended CA  obviously pushed its part of the continuous compliance story, but that is only part of the picture.

If you look to the presentation above, you’ll see that a core ERP platform and control tools are a key part of the story. In this case, SAP ERP, and Virsa. (now SAP GRC) Slide 19 gives a good view of how the CA and SAP compliance messages fit together.

I like it when software companies walk the talk. CA is one of them. So is SAP.

Coincidentally I had compliance for breakfast this morning too. I met up in in Heidelberg, with Jan Nordhagen.  We had breakfast on a terrace in the early morning sunshine loooking out over the Neckar. (lousy job this)

Jan was the MD of Virsa in Europe, and now heads up the GRC sales efforts in Europe at SAP. Bright guy, really driven and has a passion for compliance. We talked about compliance, kids, mergers and why he should sponsor our charity bike ride. There is some real momentum behind the SAP compliance story here in Europe, it isn’t at all like Vinnie makes it out to be, vendors chasing the SOX gravy.

Compliance is less of a “new trendy thing” here in old europe, and opening a sales pitch with SOX is often the quickest way to the door.  There is a strong belief in many customers here that compliance is just good business practice, and we are seeing great traction for the SAP compliance suite from companies that dont have anything to do with SOX, for instance in the public sector. We also see great interest from private companies.  Companies are looking to reduce the cost of audit, but the main goal is to embed compliance in core business processes, and not to see compliance as a reporting after thought, or as an evil government burden. There is a real belief in many companies here that transparency and real time controls are just good business practice. Q2 for compliance was very strong here, despite a generally slow market. It wasn’t all about SOX….

There is also a lot of interest in the Risk and Governance bit of the GRC story. There is a lot of cool stuff in development at the moment on risk management, based partly on the risk desktop that we developed internally for the CFO and the CEO here at SAP. There is lots of great stuff going on in this space. If SOX was the spark that made SAP..

1) dust off stuff embedded in the depths of boring boring erp and actively tell people about it. (Like the Audit Information System for instance)

2) Acquire Virsa, and expand the solutions..

3) Build partnerships with auditors and SIs to drive down the cost of compliance.

Then maybe things arent so bad as Vinnie makes out.

Virsa surveyed 93 customers; and found that customers report significant reductions in compliance cost and labour.

Reduction time of spent on internal audit                       35%
Reduction in internal external audit costs                       28%
Reduction in time spent managing authorisation risk       44%
Recduction in costs for managing authorisation risk        36%
Reduction in audit report findings for security                41%
Reduction in time required to clean up audit findings       39% 

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Links and the law…Gartner, Redmonk and a url….

There is nothing like a bit of IP law to spice up the blogsphere. Scobleizer and co picked up on this too, so James is probably getting more hits than an italian defender. I hope that this doesnt become another web 2.0 O’Reilly type fiasco though. I’m not sure we need a bunch of copyright vigilantes so soon after the trademark lot.

James of Redmonk has been asked-told-demanded etc by Gartner to remove a link from his blog, because it may contravene the Gartner licensing conditions. (I haven’t seen the Gartner letter though)

As part of my LLM a few years ago, we looked at linking, framing and copyright, and I recently heard an excellent talk on this at the computer law group in London. That said, I’m no expert in copyright law.

I browsed through my notes, and came across this.

links are references to Internet addresses, i.e. statements of locations without original content, which fall under the category of facts. As such, they cannot be copyrightable according to the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) or any other copyright legislation, for that matter.

If James merely linked to the url, then it seems there is no grounds for any kind of copyright infringement. If I remember rightly, James’ post linked to the copy of the report on the SAS website. (I’m assuming that SAS have the right to post the report. If they don’t, then that is a different can of worms, SAS’ use of the report would be governed by the Gartner terms   There was a case in the US with Apple that is worth a look at.)

A couple of years ago the German courts ruled that

The court stressed the importance of deep links for the internet and held that it is up to the plaintiffs to prevent deep links with technical measures, if they don’t like them.

I’m not a lawyer, but I really cant see how Gartner can stop you linking to a url.

The out-law site is a great source of legal related stuff, run by a major law firm. Well worth a visit. The editor made the following comment about the apple case, it applies here too.

There are only a few situations where linking causes a problem. Linking to dodgy material is one of them. Another is when the linking is systematic, as with news aggregation or ‘scraping’ services. But most other objections to deep linking will find little or no support in law.

I find the Gartner stuff useful in my job, it is often insightful, and helps me understand the market better. When I get a report via email though, I sometimes wonder, “am I actually allowed to be reading this?” I don’t like that feeling.

BTW. The report costs 495 dollars if you buy it from the Gartner site, but is free on the SAS site?.

I find their licensing and quoting process so complicated that I just don’t bother using it with customers anymore. Life is too short to get approval for quotes.

I started to read James’ stuff because it was free, and easy to access. No walls. See more on that here. I carry on reading it because it is insightful and grammatically refreshing.

The blogsphere is good for independent analysts. I read more blog stuff now than I do traditional analysts.  You should also check out Dale Vile from Freeform Dynamics.  My must reads from Dale.

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