The Software Arms Race
In the retreat like conditions of the Greenlands Campus, Henley Business School, I had the opportunity to learn and reflect during my time studying for an MBA.
I still live a short distance away, in Marlow, and a 30 minute drive away, across the Chiltern Hills, is the HQ of Micro Focus where I work in the SUSE business unit.
It was especially interesting and useful at Henley BS to analyse case studies with examples of both failure and success. It is no surprise that marketing and PR focus on success.
PESTLE Analysis, (a mnemonic which in its expanded form denotes Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal & Environmental), is a useful tool for companies to track the environment they are operating in or are planning to launch a new project/product/service.
While there are many forces at play and associated stakeholders, the best formulated strategy can be exposed by a weak link. Technology can be a catalytic platform for growth and stability or a frustration and inhibitor.
In a recent success, a Global FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Good) company invested in SUSE Linux for SAP. For the Indian IT services company entire outsourced arrangement was struck at over $200m with SUSE subscriptions representing a small fraction of that amount. However SUSE provides a solid base for this 5 year investment program relied upon by SAP itself.
My first experience of significant business failure was on a UNIX project for Reuters in the mid 90’s. Project Armstrong was technically the most challenging undertaking in Reuters’ history, (akin to putting Armstrong on the moon). The objective was to create a third pillar to the business, which was focused on news origination and real-time financial feeds, by adding a queryable historic data platform for historic analysis and projections.
Reuter’s then CEO Sir Peter Job’s documented ambition was to kill Bloomberg. The project was underpinned with a NCR’s Teradata 3600, utilising one of the largest databases in commercial world at over 40 terabytes, (which some people have for domestic use now). Each Teradata box cost $15m and Reuters bought 3 for the doomed project. The first machine literally blew up when it was installed at Reuters gleaming MTC (Main Technical Centre) in Docklands. Fire sprinklers doused the fans, which were overheating and it was out of action for months.
The technology was well suited for a supermarket and a recognised success for Walmart. For Reuters it was an unmitigated disaster. Reuters is a much less dominant force than it was in 1995. I was with the project less than a year.
Soon after I met my wife to be and we married some years later in Japan pictured above. I was dressed in a Yukata for this picture and for the reception. The ceremonial sword I used was actually a safe plastic replica. There are many customs and strict social codes in Japan. I have broken a few! At our reception in Takarazuka I started to unsheathe my sword to the gasps of the Japanese family and guests. It is tradition to only unsheathe a sword if you intend to use it and is a very provocative act. I didn’t fully reveal the sword and replaced quickly in the scabbard.
One of my favourite movies is The Last Samurai. The Samurai use the Imperial Army’s overconfidence to lure their soldiers into a trap and deprives them of artillery support. The ensuing mêlée battle inflicts massive casualties on both sides. However when they rush through the Imperial Army’s line they are quickly mowed down by gatling guns. The step change in technology caught the Samurai short.
SUSE is increasingly the right solution based on open source development and refined with German engineering. A smooth and functioning IT platform can be relied upon like a utility. Performing software is often overlooked and taken for granted.
Do not get caught out by the step change in technology. Is it time for you to consider SUSE? War is the starkest competition. As I mentioned in my blog last week, in the highly competitive but less terminal world of business, technology is changing rapidly. However those that do not keep up will be exposed.
SUSE is relied upon by more businesses and appliances than you may realise.
It may be the right choice for your organisation whether considering new workloads to run on the SUSE Linux distribution, archived storage requirements with SUSE Enterprise Storage, or moving workloads to a private cloud with SUSE OpenStack Cloud.
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