Unfortunately I could not make it to the west coast for the Vortex or Web 2.0 conferences. However, I have been following Vortex via Jeff Nolan and Web 2.0 through a variety of bloggers. As I read through Jeff Nolan’s notes on the enterprise and thoughts from the gorillas in the market, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, HP, etc., it is clear that they are all pointed in the same direction, and the vendors are aggressively pushing towards a service-oriented world where you have management software that allocates resources on the fly and componentized software consumed as services on demand. The major disruption will be how we get there. This is in line with an earlier post I made about opportunities for enterprise software investments. As you hear from the horses’ mouths via Jeff’s notes, Cisco will try to creep in from the network (it does not want to be a dumb router) and embed intelligence on the edge and move into the enterprise (security, voip apps, etc). Microsoft is trying to move from the desktop to the edge (btw, I still think that if Microsoft wants to get security right it not only needs to fix its OS but also needs to either partner or aquire someone that can help lock down the perimeter). In the software stack itself, SAP on the enterprise app side does not want to give the plumbing away to Microsoft or BEA and has gone off and built its own platform, Netweaver. Then you have IBM wrapping services around its middleware stack. With this disruption and dislocation in the enterprise market, the great news is that all of these gorillas are aggressively out there looking to acquire companies that help push their trademarked vision of a service-oriented world. The only issue with all of this is that enterprises still don’t seem that willing to spend right now so maybe this vendor-led revolution will take a lot longer.
Despite my interest level in the enterprise, it is clear that the speed of innovation in the web world is happening at a much faster pace. There are lots of great speakers and content at the Web 2.0 conference so I encourage you to stay updated through the RSS feeds on the news page. As I read through all of the notes from the conferences, it is clear that one of the unifying themes is the proliferation of XML and the way people are using it (RSS, common APIs, componentized software, assembly of services to create composite applications, etc). For more on XML, I suggest reading Bill Burnham’s excellent post from the other day.