Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The new management platforms

It seems like all of these new platforms are a bunch of best of breed products glued together so that data flows between the components. I know for a fact that HP has been pushing and building its products to work in this manner.

Why build a better mousetrap, and not just put the mousetrap into your product and get the end result and apply it to another input (kill a mouse and feed it to your cat, sorry that's kind of gross).

Its good because I often pick these best of breed companies and execute on them, only to find other companies OEMing the products. This has happened on several occasions to me in the last 6 months. Its funny because the vendor doesn't reveal the OEM, but I can tell either by wording, literature, or by seeing the product and the integration they did.

Companies that are the best in this approach are either learning how to do it (BEA, Bladelogic) or have been doing that for many years (EMC). It should be interesting anyways in the area of Enterprise Architecture.

Monday, May 15, 2006

CRM messes - Ticketing systems

I was meeting with the guy that is in charge of the CRM stuff here. He does most of the support, upgrades, and projects around them all. We use some big ugly CRM system (leaving out the name, because I don't like them at all). I have asked his boss a couple times about moving to salesforce.com. It would save us a lot of money and time. Its taken 2 years, but they finally listened and are making the plunge. Its good to see that they are finally evolving off the crap they currently support, upgrade and deploy. The project is estimated to take 5 years. They are also moving parts of it (accounting) onto SAP, which is a great move too.

We have a lot of different ticketing systems too. We are trying to consolidate them into one set, but people seem to be moving in different directions. I deal with 5 systems currently. Each of them are pretty poor and overly complex IMHO. Some have bad workflow, some have bad reporting, and none seem to integrate with email.

If i spend most of my time in email or on the web, why can't I integrate those systems into my existing workflow (browser extension, or email based workflows). They all just generate an email and you have to login to see what's happening.

I prefer something nice with email integration like Cerebrus Helpdesk - http://www.cerberusweb.com/

Its cheap too!
Technical Documentation

Some companies do excellent documentation. Some companies do poor documentation. I really wish that for these analytical products that will have "business" users, "technical" users, and "between" users would write documentation to suit them.

For example

technical docs - highly detailed, extensive, going into admin
business docs - not very detailed, just going into analytics
between users - probably a mix of the two

The data can be the same, just tagged with meta-data that allows you to compiled 3 versions off the same dataset. I'm sure companies like Documentum (EMC) can do this stuff easily. It would save me from writing documentation for all of these products I buy and use. I end up writing the "business" docs up for people to save me from answering the same questions over and over.

We have a lot of people who spider some of the public sites we use. People ignore robots.txt and other types of limiters we put on the thousands of public websites we host for corporations. Some of them are hitting us 2-3 times a second, and you multiple that by a couple dozen and its a lot of web traffic that is essentially not being used properly.

Thank goodness we use Akamai, who is our savior. They are setting up a agent based limiter that will limit the "freshness" of the content based on the type of user.

what's going to be next, these spiders posing as IE?

I wouldn't think we are too far off.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Good to see a company I have liked and supported for about 8 years now got bought by Microsoft. They have a great cheap product, that beats webtrends for 1/10th the price. Good buy for Microsoft for sure.
Vacation - SOA, App mapping

Sorry for the delays in my posting. A lot has been going on here. I was out of the country for a few days as well.

On the SOA front, I have started and gotten agreement for the first part of our POCs with Amberpoint and Actional. This is good news, as these tools will help us a lot in managing our web of services that we use internally and externally. The POC is focused on internal APIs in use.

As for nlayers, I had an interesting POC, that I was working on but its turning out to be more complex. We are having issues getting the correct machines and span ports configured to use the tool properly. Dealing with 10 spans in an environment is just not effective. There has to be a better way to handle these kinds of things. Hopefully the span issues will get resolved this week.