Monthly Archive for July, 2011

Enterprise Software is Dead! Long Live Enterprise Software!

Just imagine if someone approached you with a ‘brand new idea’ for CRM software.  It would cost millions-of-dollars, install in 3-6 months and takes a team of consultants to do most of the work.  Of course you would laugh and rightly so after all it’s such a 2001 idea… How times change.

The idea sounds preposterous now because our expectations have changed.  I can get SalesForce.com up and running and the only real skill I need is to know how to enter a credit card number. Everyone is talking about the cloud and trying to cram the word “cloud” into their new company names as we all did with “.com” back in the heady days of 1998 when the dot com typhoon first hit us.  I think it’s very easy to get carried away, just as we did at the millennium, and throw rational business thinking out of the window.  Back then we forgot that you still actually needed to sell and fulfill orders just like any other business – that doesn’t change.  What does change is the relationship the consumer has with the retailer.  I can’t remember the last time that I purchased an airline ticket inside a travel agent’s office for example.

Let’s look at the reasons why enterprises are moving some software to the cloud. A recent IDC study found the top reason was easy-fast deployment.  The other reasons (see picture below) are associated with cost (less in house IT, pay for use, low monthly subscription) or getting latest functionality.  The converse of this is that traditional enterprise software is difficult and slow to deploy, expensive and complex to update.

I really don’t believe that cloud computing is as revolutionary as the industry would have us believe but what it is doing is changing our expectations in the way in which we consume applications.  Applications do not necessarily need to be in the cloud but they must:

  • Be easy to Install (in less than 15 minutes)
  • Have no special skills to get up and running
  • Be cost effective
  • Just work every time

When we designed uberSVN, we did so with these principles in mind.  That’s why we got tens-of-thousands of successful installs of the product in the first couple of months. So what’s next for uberSVN?  Well we believe that enterprise will take a leaf out of the consumer book.  Almost 3 years ago today Apple updated iTunes and in that update was an app store.  That changed the mobile device into a platform where, with just 1 click you can deploy sophisticated applications for just about everything you need and some things you probably don’t.  Again it’s successful because it’s incredibly easy, fast and cost effective.

Just imagine enterprise IT departments could do this with enterprise applications… enter uberApps.

uberSVN was launched in response to demand from enterprises to be empowered to choose ALM tools to meet their business goals be it price or functionality, open source or closed source.

The concept of an app store means that not only can users get incredibly easy automatic updates and simple (single click) installation but also incredibly fast and efficient discovery of applications.  In a software tools context imagine if you wanted a build engine, a wiki and defect tracker.  There is a plethora of open source, closed source, expensive and free products out there to go and research.   Who even knows if they are all going to work together?

uberApps solves that problem.  The applications are certified to work with the uberSVN platform – that means complete integration and testing by our QA team.  How do you know if it’s any good?  First off you can read reviews from other users and then you can try it out.  Installation is only a mouse click away and if you don’t like it or don’t need it then you can simply uninstall just like you do on an iPhone.

There is one critical difference with iPhone apps though.  There is clearly a balance between fast discovery of applications by users and empowerment to deploy them. uberApps models the process that enterprises use today where departments can request products from IT and then go through a standard approval process.  It’s pretty cool because it means that this is centralized rather than having to get a separate arrangement with dozens of different vendors.

uberApps may be groundbreaking but it’s simply modeling the new way that enterprises expect to consume software today. Which one would you choose –  An app store or a stereotypical software sales guy with his Porsche, golf clubs and Armani suit (all of which you’re eventually going to pay for)?

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies. Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth. With over 15 years' executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards. David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Specialties:IPO's, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A

Hot news coming at OSCON 2011 & a bit of politics on the Subversion Dev list

At WANdisco we have been looking forward to OSCON 2011 for quite some time. Anyone who knows our company will know that we invest heavily in open source projects, in particular Apache Subversion, which is central to many of the enterprise services that we provide. Subversion (SVN) is used by a vast array of users for source code management, from individual innovators to multinational blue chip companies. But SVN is just one of countless potentially world-changing open source applications.

So it’s always invigorating to catch up with a broad spectrum of open source luminaries to share experiences, explore new ideas, draw inspiration and share mutual aspiration. This highlight of the open source calendar is being held from July 25-29 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.

This year we are even more excited about OSCON because we have some big announcements of our own. We believe that these announcements in the coming days will dramatically change the landscape of how developer tools are purchased, deployed and used.

In late April we released our own freely available open ALM platform – uberSVN – which has transformed Subversion into an extensible platform, empowering software developers by enabling them to use a wider choice of toolsets, which can be combined to best fit specific business requirements.  The reviews, across the board, have been fantastic; I keep telling people that I have never been involved in such a successful launch.

Also incorporating social coding into Subversion for the first time, uberSVN has clocked up tens of thousands of installations in less than three months and rave reviews keep coming, usually highlighting the ease of installation and excellent usability that the platform provides.

Those attending OSCON 2011 have a great opportunity to win $2,500 by downloading uberSVN from a USB stick being handed out at the conference. We are pretty certain that you will be impressed with the platform whether you win the cash or not! Failing that you can grab one of our cool t-shirts or stickers.

uberSVN was a factor in WANdisco being included in the Red Herring Top 100 North America list and we have been working hard to ensure that the platform keeps up with the expectation of the massive SVN user community and, working on feedback from Subversion users we are now able to reveal some major new enhancements.

Software developers have been keen to find quicker and easier ways to deploy the tools they need and considerably reduce costs at the same time. And WANdisco has a solution…

Interested? We’ll be revealing full details very soon so keep your eyes peeled!

In addition to this major development we have a major partnership announcement looming large on the horizon too! As you would expect from WANdisco we will be hooking up with an organization regarded as the best at what they do. We pride ourselves on the quality, functionality and reliability of the services and products that we supply and we partner with companies who are held in the same regard by users of SVN. The announcement we have later in the week will also herald another significant leap forward for the capabilities of uberSVN!

We look forward to interacting with conference goers at OSCON and open source users around the world that are increasingly discovering the power that uberSVN delivers. Make sure you keep up with our upcoming announcements on this groundbreaking platform and its associated products including training, consulting services and support.

Finally, a bit of politics from the Subversion open source project.  As you may be aware we committed to improving branching & merging several months ago.  With Subversion 1.7 close to release we have been working for several weeks with Andy Singleton and his team at Assembla.  Andy has some interesting ideas that we have been exploring to “fix Subversion merge”.  Frankly the reaction of some and I mean some on the Subversion Dev list is, to put it mildly, disappointing.  If someone new appears with fresh ideas why should the first reaction be a passive-aggressive “no you can’t do that”.  It’s strange how the naysayers all derive from the same place as Harold Evans once famously said of journalism “it is simpler to sound off than it is to find out. It is more elegant to pontificate than it is to sweat.”  Well we are going to sweat!  We will not be derailed or distracted and our core Subversion guys like the idea so we are planning to build a prototype.  This is something we see as vital for Subversion users. Watch this space!

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About David Richards

David is CEO, President and co-founder of WANdisco and has quickly established WANdisco as one of the world’s most promising technology companies. Since co-founding the company in Silicon Valley in 2005, David has led WANdisco on a course for rapid international expansion, opening offices in the UK, Japan and China. David spearheaded the acquisition of Altostor, which accelerated the development of WANdisco’s first products for the Big Data market. The majority of WANdisco’s core technology is now produced out of the company’s flourishing software development base in David’s hometown of Sheffield, England and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. David has become recognised as a champion of British technology and entrepreneurship. In 2012, he led WANdisco to a hugely successful listing on London Stock Exchange (WAND:LSE), raising over £24m to drive business growth. With over 15 years' executive experience in the software industry, David sits on a number of advisory and executive boards of Silicon Valley start-up ventures. A passionate advocate of entrepreneurship, he has established many successful start-up companies in Enterprise Software and is recognised as an industry leader in Enterprise Application Integration and its standards. David is a frequent commentator on a range of business and technology issues, appearing regularly on Bloomberg and CNBC. Profiles of David have appeared in a range of leading publications including the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Specialties:IPO's, Startups, Entrepreneurship, CEO, Visionary, Investor, ceo, board member, advisor, venture capital, offshore development, financing, M&A

Update on Apache Subversion 1.7

I’ve been spending most of my time recently working on getting the 1.7.0 release of Apache Subversion out the door.  Bugs are getting squished, due to the efforts of the entire open source development community, and we’re focusing on stabilization and bug fixing.  Last week, the release branch was created, meaning that any more changes to what will become 1.7.0 now get extra scrutiny to ensure they don’t introduce any additional bugs.

Most of the feedback we’re getting from early testers is encouraging.  There are certainly bugs, but most are fairly benign and easily fixed.  What’s getting most of the testers excited is the performance benefits they experience, particularly on the client.  There will certainly be bottlenecks and areas for improvement after 1.7.0 ships, but the early results are encouraging.  (As for timing, I’ve been telling people late August, but that may very well get pushed into September.)

Even though we’re focused on completing Subversion 1.7.0, some of the developers are already looking forward to the next feature release: Subversion 1.8.  While it’s still a long way away, and nothing is set in stone, some of the suggestions being bandied about include improving merge correctness and performance, automating tree conflict resolution, and allowing more offline operations.  Of course, it’s an open source community, so the features people want to implement are the ones which will be addressed.

So take the 1.7 prereleases for a spin—you can find binaries for your platform at WANdisco’s download page—and let us know what you like, or don’t like, about the next release.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.