Archive for July, 2011

Microsoft Office 365: Could security be the differentiator?

July 25th, 2011

Since the release of Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud-based service, the pros and cons of how it stacks up against its competitors in terms of cost and usability have been hotly debated, but it is Office 365′s security credentials that really sets it apart, according to the company’s Trustworthy Computing Group.

Microsoft, the group says, is the only cloud services provider that addresses security at every level in the stack, starting with the underlying infrastructure, which is certified as complying with the ISO 27001 information security management standard.

Certainly something to consider when comparing Microsoft Office 365 to its rivals.

UK software vendors are betting their business on Salesforce.com

July 18th, 2011

Salesforce.com has long been a pioneer of the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry. And as many of the larger software vendors have now started getting on the SaaS bandwagon, they have found that SaaS is not as easy to deliver as they expected. SAP has struggled and in 2010 only 100 users wereusing their SaaS offering. UK accounting software provider Sage scrapped its first attempt at SaaS owing to security flaws. Other vendors have decided to follow a different route following the old mantra ‘if you can’t beat them join them’. In 2007 Salesforce.com launched Force.com, a platform as a service (PaaS) offering that allows third parties to build their own applications on top of the salesforce.com core. This gave a way for independant software vendors a way to ‘go SaaS’ without having to build or host the platform themselves.

One of the first companies to do this was CODA, a UK based accounting software provider that has since been acquired by the Ducth software company Unit4. Since then many more have followed the path to PaaS as a low cost way to deliver SaaS. According to Forrester there may be as many as 25,000 organisations currently using Force.com to build their applications.

So you can’t ignore the Cloud and SaaS and you should include it in your technology roadmaps. Top tip: don’t sign long term traditional licensing deals with any software supplier as their current pricing model will be replaced with something better within the next few years.

Oracle Offers Heavy Discounts On Its Exadata Hardware And Software

July 11th, 2011

Oracle is offering heavy discounts on the software and hardware for its Exadata database platform in a bid to drive sales. In the past few months, Oracle has offered discounts of up to 70 percent and 30 percent on its Exadata software and hardware respectively.

We believe that the discounts offered by the company were due to the fact that it wanted to drive sales before the fiscal quarter ended on May 31. One source told us that the discount offered by Oracle is based on the list price of the software license deal. For example, for a software license deal worth £250,000, the company offered a discount of 45 percent to 50 percent.

While the discounts and Oracle’s pricing plans for Sun servers and its own database software can be negotiated to a reasonable level for large organisations, many mid-sized and small companies that rely on Oracle’s database services are planning to move to Microsoft SQL due to the large maintenance and support fees being charged by Oracle.

Negotiation Strategy: Four Common Pitfalls to Avoid

July 3rd, 2011

Sometimes negotiators fall into traps and leave resources on the table because they can’t see that silver lining. Some common pitfalls are:

Poor planning
Successful negotiators make detailed plans. They know their priorities —  and alternatives, should they fail to reach an agreement. You must know your bottom line, your walkaway point. In addition, you need to understand time constraints and know whether this is the only time you will see your opponents in negotiation. After preparing your own agenda, outline the same for your opponents: What are their preferences, alternatives, and bottom line? Once at the bargaining table, test your hypotheses to determine what the opposition’s priorities really are. Prepare a written goal and analysis sheet for yourself.

Failing to pay attention to your opponent
Negotiators need to analyze the biases their opponents bring to the table.  One way to get inside your opponent’s head and influence his attitude is to shape the issues for him, a technique called “framing.” If you get your opponent to accept your view of the situation, then you can influence the amount of risk he is willing to take.

Caving in too quickly
Accepting a well-priced deal too quickly can cause anger on the other side, too. If you list a used car for £5,000, you might really be thinking of accepting £4,500. But when your first buyer has it checked by a mechanic and then immediately writes you a check for £5,000 without trying to bargain, how do you feel? Disappointed. You’ll think you sold it for too little. The lesson is: No matter what the price, even if it’s fair, always offer less — if only to make your opponent feel good about the deal. You may come up to full price in the end, but at least your opponent will feel as if he made you work for it.

Don’t Gloat
Finally, when you’ve cut a sweet deal, never do the dance of joy in public by turning to your opponents and telling them you would have done it for less. Gloating will only drive your opponent to extract the difference from you sometime in the future. Today, flagging corporate allegiances and rampant job hopping make it essential to keep on professional terms with your negotiating opponents. You may find yourself on the same side of the bargaining table one day.