When it came to holiday shopping this year I had only two questions: “is it possible to avoid real stores and do it all online this year?” and “where the heck can I find a Nintendo Wii?”. As promos for “Black Friday” begin showing up as early as October and an abundance of stories emerge in the papers highlighting the joys of holiday shopping - excruciating lines and fights with fellow shoppers over merchandise, it is clear to many that the holiday shopping experience can be a burden.
CRM Buyer recently ran an article “Tips for Surviving the Holiday Shopping Experience” outlining what consumers are looking for to get the most out of a shopping experience. These tips aim to help both consumers and the companies out there - looking for ways to improve time spent in stores.
Red Hat's recently announced support of the Sun OpenJDK project is a huge win for both the open source and Java developer communities. In the past, Sun's licensing practices kept it from being fully embraced by the open source community. To date, Sun's Java—which is obviously the gold standard—has never been included in a Linux distribution. As a result, open source developers in the past may well have adopted other languages and architectures because of this. As of today, Java comes fully into the open source mainstream. Given its technical superiority including a great security architecture and unrivaled suitability for enterprise-class applications, there is no longer any excuse for open source developers not to choose Java as their platform of choice. I suspect we will see a flood of new open source applications developed on Java. At Centric CRM, we fully embraced Java many years ago and have never regretted our choice. Today's announcement by Sun and Red Hat only increases our commitment to both the open source and Java-based paths that we are on.
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Google’s recent announcement of Android, the open source development platform for mobile devices, is a fascinating new move in mobile software and as I see it, an important step in the ongoing evolution of next generation CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
Take a look at Mobile Opportunity’s post which breaks down the details of Android.
From a technical standpoint, I think it makes a lot of sense that Android’s fundamental platform architecture is Linux and Java, with a SQL database, because of its advantages with security, cross-platform portability, and general robustness. From a business standpoint, I’m thrilled that Google chose this platform because it is precisely the same architecture that we used to build Centric CRM. With all the advantages of the Java platform, there’s no question why we--and Google--chose it as the basis for enterprise-level applications.
Here at Centric we have several rules of thumb. One of my favorites is never cast your beta net too wide, which seems to be happening in the CRM market recently.
The beta testing system is about bringing a select number of users into the vendor's fold in order to get a close communication between user and the developers. This not only helps the vendor with the trickier aspects of fine-tuning, it also ensures that end users are crystal clear on what they are using at the stage it is at. The final version might be right round the corner, but what if the company responsible for the beta keeps moving the corner? Without complete insider knowledge, customers simply can’t predict what will and won’t break when the final code ships.
Open source software can justifiably claim to have spawned one of the most vibrant and intelligent communities in existence. The main tenet of the open source community—and this should go without saying—is openness, running from the decisions made by the higher echelons of management at open source software companies down to the very bedrock of the code itself. This tenet has turned the traditional marketing cycle on its head.
As more companies embrace an open culture, there are fewer rumors about potential deals, releases and products, and this positively affects the quality of products. This is not to say that rumor mongering no longer exists: gossip and speculation accompany all healthy communities—it comes with the territory. There is, however, more knowledge of what is happening internally within each company in the open source space, than in other sectors. Dana Blankenhorn recently pointed out in a blog posting;
“What passes for rumor is speculation over the importance of things which have, in fact, happened. Even among proprietary vendors.”
The waves from this week's OSCON in Portland, Oregon, are still rippling through the open source community. As you would expect from an O'Reilly event, there was plenty of debate at the conference, not least about 'badgeware' licenses.
There aren’t many serious, high growth, venture-backed technology companies here in Hampton Roads, VA.
We’re a military town. Heck, a military region! Hampton Roads is actually a group of seven cities: Norfolk, VA Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Newport News, and Suffolk, encompassing the entire southeast Virginia region of the Chesapeake Bay. Hampton Roads is home to Norfolk Naval Base, the largest naval installation in the world, Langley Air Force Base, NASA Langley
, several army bases, and the Oceana Naval Air Station
. We are the largest metropolitan area without a professional baseball team, a fun but otherwise useless factoid. There are a lot of (1.7 million) people here, but the federal government is by far the largest employer. We are home only to Norfolk Southern Railroad
, Stihl Chainsaws
, and Ferguson Enterprises
As background, I'm the CEO of Centric CRM, one of the vendors of open source software that has been at the fulcrum of a heated discussion centered around which vendors can rightly use the term "open source" when describing their products. While I normally stay out of such verbal jousts, I decided I ought to share our view point if only given the tone of some of the recent postings. Specifically, to address the sentiment of some that vendors using the term “open source”, whose offerings differ from the strict OSI definition, are either disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst.
Over the last few days there has been some controversy about what open source is, which started with a post from Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet, and a reply from Michael Tiemann, the president of the OSI.
As the open source community breaks into two groups for a face-off about this (see DIGG, and SlashDot), I would like to offer our point of view.
At Centric CRM, we are dedicated to delivering value to our end customers. Our products are developed to satisfy their business needs and to provide them with the innovation, freedom and control they need for the software their business depends on.