Sunday, November 23, 2008

S2 Muses on the technology potpourri i.e. SOA, Cloud Computing, Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Mash-Ups

Today world is filled with the next big wave of technology solutions, frameworks and panacea. But as we are seeing with the financial sector creating fancy instruments, complex deals don't take away the inherent risk and complexity of the situation. The same applies to the technology market. From client server to now SOA the technology market has been churning these solutions like crazy and yet the situation has not fundamentally changed.  For everything that Larry Ellison from Oracle says, this quote is a gem (was said in reference to cloud computing)

"The software industry is more fashion driven than ladies apparel!!!"

Recently on a Gartner blog, the State of the SOA was summarized in a letter which highlighed the following

"To the CIO, CEO, CFO, CTO and shareholders,

As a result of the following I can now only deduce that SOA is a failure and any attempts at SOA will result in failure. Under my direction:

* I have failed to associate our SOA initiatives with our business needs, therefore I cannot show any value for the hundreds of services we have created ,
* I have failed to properly create and support an SOA Center of Excellence, Steering Committee or Competency Center,
* I have failed to enlist the executive staff as true supporters and evangelistscfor our SOA efforts.
* I chose to buy an ESB prior to truly understanding our SOA infrastructure needs (In reality this wasn’t my fault, the vendor said it was super duper necessary)
* I have failed to provide my developers incentives to reuse artifacts,
* It was not my responsibility to follow what was going on next door where there was a separate team dealing with BPM, I mean they are two different initiatives,
* I firmly believe that SOA is nothing more than fancy CORBA or COM.

Despite all of the things I have NOT done, SOA has failed. My additional failure to recognize and implement best practices that have been proven successful in many other companies worldwide also play into the failure of SOA.

Oh well, we should move on and try something new. On the bright side 70% of our initiatives fail anyway. The failure of SOA is SOA’s fault not mine.

Thanks for understanding and I’d like to declare in advance that Cloud Computing, Virtualization and SaaS will be failures under my direction as well.


All I can say is the need to go back to fundamentals like the financial services sector and solve the underlying business problem (process or otherwise). So next time you hear about SOA, Cloud Computing just remember it is not about IT but business.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

S2: Review of White Tiger

I am not much of fiction reader but took some courage when I bought the book 'White Tiger' by Aravind Adiga.  Well for starters it is written by an Indian. Well let me correct myself. Aravind is a journalist and author, who holds dual Indian and Australian citizenship. The White Tiger, won the 2008 Man Booker Prize. Quite an achievement for your first novel. Back to the novel. I am not a fiction reader so the very fact that I was hooked on to the book is a reflection of some good writing by the author. Let me clarify, I  could relate better with the story since I come from India. I  not only associated myself with the overall concept but literally visualized the characters in my real life from India. Yes it shows the inequality, political corruption, greed, disillusionment  within the story but there is a lot of truth and substance to that. The rawness in description of certain settings and encounters between the protagonist and the cast of characters add more realness to the story. Its a must read for anyone who comes from Northern part of India and a good read for everyone else.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Zero Sum Game : Debate Continues

My last blog on stock market was commented to remind me of the fundamentals of capitalism and that I was drifting to the dark side. Further I was reminded of the following


Stocks on the other hand represent ownership in a company. Value is created as the company's value increases. Yes there are speculative runs on stocks that are not based on the underlying company value, but they are always corrected. In the end the value of the company is reflected in the value of the stock. By investing in the company you are providing much needed capital to increase productivity and create more value.


Well stocks represent ownership. Correct! Organizations create value.  Correct! Stock market prices these organizations values. Correct! However the very fact that pricing the true value or judging the potential value becomes an issue. yes the market pundits say that the collective group wisdom establishes the right market price. Without getting into a debate on that the stock market in this process creates two parties. The first party who anticipates that the stock is over priced and the other who thinks otherwise. Subsequent to the initial IPO (for the most part), the subsequent trades and transactions are based on continuous betting on the potential movement of the stock market value. And there starts the zero sum game. Stock markets are definitely a mechanism to create a market of willing investors for the initial offering (may that's where it creates a value for the organization). However at that time and subsequent to the initial IPO event  the average investor is not aware of the information to adequately price a stock and subsequently follows biased set of information to make ill conceived decisions. I am sure that the market correction in the recent months (Dow now sitting below 7500) makes every one reassess that the theory of acceptable multiples of P/E. Regardless the average player in this market is definitely playing with odds stack against him or her and more than likely is working against a similarly handicapped investor on the other side.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

S2 Muses the Stock Debacle : A Zero Sum Game has no winners...

A lot has been made about the recent Dow Jones crash in the last 30-45 days. I as like millions of others has observed and come with  their own theories of this debacle (wasteful spending on wars, poor credit market, sub prime mortgage mess. But instead of thinking and justifying the events in retrospective, I  thought and  tried to analyze the crystal ball from a different perspective. It stuck me!  Stock market is a zero sum game.  By making that statement, I am challenging the premise that does stock market really create value? Because behind every transaction (profit or loss) there are two parties that offset each other ( one who sells more than the intrinsic value of the stock wins and the one who buys it is a looser).  So technically there is no real value being created but a steady amount of movement of cash in different hands  and hence giving a perception of wealth creation. The reason this is difficult to recognize this basic phenomenon, is the macro representation of the economy that there is  potential growth involved and hence the potential upside movement of the stock. I am sure the converse is true in the bear market.  I think the sooner we realize that stock market was created as a a mechanism for ensuring easy and cheap credit and not a value/money creation manufacturing plant the better of we all will be. Yes there are economist pundits that will belly this whole theory and tell me that this is a typical myth of the common man but I thought i wanted to challenge the so called  day trader champions (you will make millions of dollar by following the technical analysis) who imply there is someone out there who is on the receiving end of this strategy. Also in the midst of all these transactions, the financial service companies eat their brokerage fees. Wow, on top of not creating value, we have just reduced the pie every time. In my mind the only thing that counters this zero sum equation  is that future holds more potential than the current or let me say future is not the same as present and hence the potential of change. What is the time horizon? Where is the present ending and future beginning is a debate in itself  but for now the next time you think you cracked the stock market movement and hence made a buck or two (thousands and millions for the big league) remember there is someone sitting on the other side of the world or coast loosing the same amount.