Friday Apr 03, 2009

Open Source and the Enterprise

I keep hearing from customers that I visit that cost is becoming (or has become) THE issue to deal with in 2009. More and more of these customers (and they are the large enterprises) are opening the dialog with "How do we save by using Open Source?" It is amazing that just 3-6 months ago open source was a hit and miss topic, but now it seems to be firmly in the mainstream. 

Most enterprises that are considering open-source software typically want the best product from the different categories to make up a complete Web application platform: a Web server (like Apache), an application server (like GlassFish or JBoss), scripting (like PHP and Ruby), an Enterprise Service Bus (like OpenESB or MuleSource) and a portal (like LifeRay). Adopting this approach has some significant benefits but also presents its own challenges:

  • Cost/time to integrate the disparate projects together
  • Ability to effectively patch and maintain the disparate projects
  • Support of the product if/when problems arise and who can provide a fix for the product to address business critical issues

I would love to year how you are trying to handle these challenges. I know my colleges working with the proprietary vendors have decided to declare open source more expensive than proprietary, but I find that argument nonsensical. 

I promise to publish any results here as well as how we are trying to solve this at Sun. Our approach might surprise you.. more to come...

Tuesday Apr 08, 2008

Stop Treating Your Customer as Sibel!

I have just had quite a fight with my financial institution who did not think it appropriate to contact me to tell me my stock sale had not been completed as I had requested. The customer service representative didn't know that I had other dealing with the bank and treated me, I suppose like they do with all new customers, with a high degree of "who cares!" and told me that it must be my mistake. I escalated to the management and when they realized that I had other dealing with them -- mortgage, investment, savings, etc. they were suddenly all apologetic and refunded me the difference between what the stock was sold incorrectly for and what it should have been sold for. Maybe in the initial rep had known all my relationships they would have done a better job at making me happy

Straight after this episode, I was standing in line at a security gate at my local airport where they allow frequent flyers from one particular airline the ability to bypass the security line. Again I was astonished that this airport didn't see my business across multiple airlines important to them, the fact that I travel almost weekly didn't seem to matter, but because I wasn't on some super-elite status of a particular airline I was relegated to the "standard line."

These although trivial examples brought home to me the business need for a single view of the customer. Harrods had exactly this problem until they implemented Java CAPS. Now they can view their customer as one.

Not seeing the customer as one entity sometimes have dire consequences. There has been much written about drug interactions and patients dying because the doctor and the pharmacist didn't know about other medications that the patient was on. I am glad there is a solution to this as well, and Cleveland Clinic is a great example of an organization who had implemented a technological solution to address these needs.

I urge you all to consider making your customer happier by ensuring you see one 1 customer -- not the 24 isolated interactions you currently have. If you need help, check out the white paper on what we can do to help.

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Musings from Mark Herring at Sun...

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