Big ideas heard at the InformationWeek 500 conference include a renewed focus on innovation, the importance of data visualization, and the ongoing agony of maintenance fees.
Maintenance fees will remain a point of contention. The largest single sunk cost for businesses, after personnel, is software. Tens of thousands of dollars here, tens of thousands of dollars there, and pretty soon you're talking real money -- money enterprises resent paying. (Jeopardy question: Who am I paraphrasing?)
At InformationWeek 500, I heard from Rimini Street, which has carved out a business model based on undercutting maintenance-contract fees by as much as 90%. Currently, Oracle and Rimini are in a court battle. Oracle sued Rimini for intellectual-property theft and Rimini countersued; read Bob's Global CIO: Oracle's Dazzling Profit Machine Threatened By Rimini Suit, for more details.
This is a legal drama which bears watching, because if Rimini prevails, it means the market for cut-rate support is just beginning. This is Rimini's conundrum. If it loses, it's probably out of business. And if it wins, it's just opened the market up to dozens of competitors.
For CIOs who might be pulling for Rimini, there's also some angst, because opting for cheap maintenance could come at the cost of ticking off your primary software vendor. Rimini suggests that perhaps you don't want to be pulled along into product upgrades you might not want just because they're needed to get you aligned with a vendor's support cycle. So I'll cut it off here, but the outro is that this issue will be a big one during the next 12 to 24 months.
Enterprise 2.0 is a way of thinking as much as it is a product(s). I'm a big supporter of social tools in the enterprise, but not so big that I can't see there are some issues attendant to the mad adoption rush. (I've recounted some of these in my column, Wolfe's Den: Top 5 Enterprise 2.0 Roadblocks.)
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.