Entries from October 2008 ↓

Kevin Cochrane joins Day

I just saw the official announcement that Kevin Cochrane has joined Day Software as CMO.  Kevin was an early Interwoven employee, then left Interwoven for Alfresco where he ran product management.  John Newton blogged back in June that Kevin was leaving Alfresco as he wanted to move back to the Bay Area.

Bringing Kevin on board is a coup for Day, but not all that surprising given that Day’s new CEO (since May) Erik Hansen is also ex-Interwoven.  And there are some similarities between Day and Alfresco, as Day does have open source efforts and credibility via the Apache Jackrabbit project and associated Day CRX product.

Still, Day is first and foremost a commercial software vendor with a traditional licensing model, though we have expected for some time that the company might start to more aggressively pursue open source from a business perspective.  Will Kevin lead Day in that direction?

ChangeWave survey points to ECM spending decline

Our survey partner ChangeWave Research released its latest corporate software survey late last week with new data from its alliance group on software purchasing.  The ChangeWave Alliance Research Network is a group of about 20,000 business, technology, and medical professionals that participate in ChangeWave’s surveys as part of the company’s primary research efforts.

The title of this month’s report is Corporate Software Spending: 90 Day Outlook, Sharpest Decline for Software Purchasing on Record.  Sounds cheery, doesn’t it?  The report notes that “the spending decline is now hitting all software categories – the first time this has occurred in a ChangeWave survey.”

You’ll have contact ChangeWave for all the data, but I wanted to pull out the stats on the ECM specifically.  31% of those surveyed expect to decrease spending on document and enterprise content management software in the next 90 days versus only 5% expecting an increase, for a net decrease of 26%.  This was the largest decrease of any one software category included in the survey.

This surprises me somewhat as ECM generally includes a good deal of compliance, governance and risk management-related technologies, along with core business process enablement, not things that can be easily cut or postponed.  But perhaps other content management areas, like a customer website overhaul or intranet / internal collab platform do-over, are being seen as non-critical and put off.

Debating enterprise Twitter

Thanks to a heads up from @jstorerj at Mzinga, I watched the debate last night on Current TV.  It streamed Twitter updates marked #current or #Debate08 at the bottom of the scream. This Wired article has the details and video that shows what it looked like during one of the earlier debates.

It was the most fascinating application of Twitter I have seen yet.  Sure, it was full of all kinds of random comments, some hilarious, some obnoxious, but it gave a great vibe of what people were thinking during the debate, at least within the self-selecting population of Twitter users.  It made me feel like I wasn’t watching the debate alone, even though I was.

We’ve been doing some research here on Twitter-for-the-enterprise services, including Yammer, Intridea’s Present.ly, and the recent Signals announcement from Socialtext.  We’ve been playing with Yammer internally, so far mostly as a time waster but I can see its utility and I am interested to see what value we end up getting from it as more users join.

That said, I’m struggling to see how and where the technology eventually ends up in the enterprise.  Is it a stand-alone service that becomes a communication hub?  What will be the relationship with broader RSS aggregation in the enterprise?  Updates made to social software tools or ‘activity streams’?  And what about our current use of IM?  Does this replace, co-exist or intersect in some way with IM?

We’re interested in your comments, since we’re all playing around with this one at the same time it seems.  Has your company started using Yammer or Present.ly internally?  Where do you see it going?

Jive talk and social software

I was glad to see this post from Tony Byrne this morning with a more practical reaction to Jive’s layoffs.  I had been meaning to get something similar up myself.  Jive has grown quickly– from 43 employees when we first profiled the company in March 2007 to 160 in August of this year.  Maybe that growth was too far out ahead of revenue, but I can’t say that for sure and I don’t think anyone really foresaw how radically things were going to change economically or how quickly.

Staffing up for anticipated future growth and then scaling back when that growth is expected to be slow due to overall (unprecedented) market conditions seems like prudence to me, however unfortunate for those involved.  Jive took $15m in venture funds from Sequoia in September 2007 and unless your Internet was unplugged last week, you know how Sequoia is advising its portfolio companies.

More generally, I agree with Tony when he says “I don’t foresee a decline in the social software space that’s any steeper than we’ll see in other software categories.”  That is to say, it’s going to take a hit — most everything and everyone is really — but it’s not going to disappear.  I don’t really buy the rah-rah outlook either (no real irony intended by linking to a post from Jive’s Sam Lawrence here, it’s just a good exmaple) that says social software will let us work more cost effectively and transparently and thus do more with less. This may be true in some cases, but growth is going to slow all the same.  I think companies like Jive that have started to gain real name reconigition in the enterprise market, with many big name customers, will come through ok, though I’m not forecasting here which will remain independent.

I may not be quite as optimistic as Tony though. We make a particular effort here at The 451 Group to talk to all the start-ups, and there are too many of them with too similar “community” or social networking platforms for the enterprise.  Sometimes after I meet with a company, I decide not to write it up because it just sounds too similar to XYZ company I profiled last week.  I think this was generally felt by most everyone that walked the show floor at Enterprise 2.0 here in Boston last June.  As funding becomes more scarce and IT spending slows, some of these won’t make it, plain and simple, which is probably as it should be.

Autonomy and eDiscovery

Amidst the usual explanations of margins, day sales outstanding, average deal sizes, organic growth rates and other financial minutiae (which we like, btw), Autonomy used the following slide during its Q3 earnings call yesterday, ramming home the importance to it and other software companies like it of eDiscovery and the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), from which this is adapted:

And these ducks in a row sat there while the management took questions from the financial analysts, while berating a few of them in the process for questioning its organic growth model, which Autonomy laid out for all to see. Our quick take on Autonomy’s earnings is here for 451 clients.

EDRM also, in part the basis of our upcoming eDiscovery report, which will take a thorough look at the current future states of the eDiscovery and eDisclosure (as it’s known in the UK) software and services market.

Please get in touch with me if you would like to know more about that.