What do mobility, social analytics, collaboration, and cloud computing have in common? They're the hottest topics in technology and also the subjects of the April 24 episode of Valley View, our monthly, live Web TV show.
My colleague David Berlind and I will be joined by top executives from SAP's SuccessFactors, ARM, DataSift, ProtonMedia, and Zynga.
SuccessFactors has been the source of a great deal of industry attention since SAP paid a whopping $3.4 billion for the talent management company last December, after which SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott told InformationWeek that his company was now the No. 1 SaaS company (by subscribers, and No. 2 by revenue).
If that deal surprised many industry watchers (and SAP customers), it might have come as a bigger surprise a year ago when SuccessFactors snapped up Jambok, a SaaS-based social learning company, with the intention of integrating rich-media training tools into its human capital management platform. Jambok's Jam provides Facebook-like social sharing, but its specialty extends to incorporating screencasts, videos, slideshows, and other documents. SuccessFactors just announced that it's making Jam free for SuccessFactors customers, a move similar to what Salesforce.com did with its Chatter service.
We'll have SuccessFactors CMO Kara Wilson on Valley View, where she'll be demonstrating the latest from Jam.
We'll also be diving deeper into the cloud, featuring one of the biggest names in gaming (specifically social gaming): Zynga, makers of FarmVille, CityVille, Mafia Wars, and the white hot Draw Something, from Zynga's acquisition of OMGPOP.
But Zynga isn't just fun and games; it's serious business, and it's serious about the cloud, which it uses to manage the unpredictable nature of its data center loads, especially when it's rolling out a new game. InformationWeek detailed Zynga's cloud mechanics early last year in "Lessons From FarmVille: How Zynga Uses The Cloud". But the company has since made significant investments to move its operations to a private cloud, detailed in Charles Babcock's recent piece, "Inside Zynga's Big move To Private Cloud."
On Valley View, we'll be talking with Zynga CTO of Infrastructure Engineering Allan Leinwand about those moves and a few other topics, like how the company is tackling the big data problem, how it's integrating OMGPOP, and how it's creating a cloud service of its own.
This episode of Valley View will also focus on one the companies whose technology underpins most of the mobile devices we now take for granted, ARM, a company whose system-on-a-chip design licensees include NVIDIA (makers of the Tegra 3 quad-core processor), Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm. Windows 8 will also run on ARM, and there are ARM chips for servers, washing machines--no kidding--and more. The company's lead mobile strategist, James Bruce, will join InformationWeek's Art Wittmann at the whiteboard to explore some aspects of ARM's technology that may fall under the radar but promise to usher in some substantial changes--like support for virtualization in hardware, and security enhancements at the chip level. (Note: ARM was scheduled for our March 28 Valley View but has been rescheduled for the April 24 show.)
But that's not all. While the "social" part of the social enterprise has garnered much attention of late, there's still good old-fashioned collaboration at the root of business communications. It includes everything from enterprise instant messaging and presence to videoconferencing and screen sharing. Apparently there's still plenty of innovation left there--at least when you look at what ProtonMedia is doing with its ProtoSphere application, a SaaS-based immersive collaboration environment that's stunningly visual. It will be interesting to see if corporate end users take to this 3D, avatar-based platform, which can be integrated with Microsoft's SharePoint. We'll get a demonstration of the technology, courtesy of ProtonMedia's CEO, Ron Burns.
All this talk of social may leave you longing for something a bit more crunchy. That's where DataSift comes in. It's an up-and-coming player in the exploding arena of social analytics. The ability to listen to customers in every Web-based medium, synthesize the data, and make sense of it is a lofty goal, but many big-name companies--Starbucks, Best Buy, Kia Motors, Comcast--are crafting entire strategies based on those learnings. (To acquire a deep understanding of what's important in these products, I highly recommend Seth Grimes' thought-provoking piece "What I Look For In A Social Analysis Tool". That piece is a year old but still relevant.)
DataSift CEO Rob Bailey will join us on Valley View, providing a hands-on demonstration of the technology. Just for fun, we'll try to center our demonstration on some of the big happenings of the day (April 24).
Don't forget to register for Valley View, because at the end of our show we'll hold a drawing for a couple of nice prizes. We'll give some prizes to our live audience as well (please drop by if you're in the area of UBM's TechWeb headquarters)--we'll have refreshments, and you can come mingle with our editors and other Silicon Valley folks. We're inviting our in-studio guests to bring along some of their executives as well, and we're going to randomly select two of them to talk with us on the spot--this, for the Elevator Pitch session of Valley View.