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IBM SWG: The Dead Horse Hosted

As mentioned just previous to this, I’m up in Stamford for the annual IBM software group (SWG) briefing even. It’s always nice to go into a conference or “summit” with a theory to or question to test out, as Jon said this year’s MMS. My constant concern with mature software companies (or “groups” in this instance) is always how they’re moving along the two paths of open source and offering hosted services rather than packaged software. The first is usually “taken care of,” while the second is typically a stickier issue.

The issue tends to be that vendors want to create a whole seperate part of the company that offers hosted services and keep the software group “pure,” or, the same. I encountered this myself at BMC as the hosted SiteAngel-cum-GuardianAngel-cum-PATROL Express was handed off to a separate group while the core software itself was rolled into the current BMC Performance Manager.

Instead of keeping the hosted (or “managed services”) and software groups separate, I’d rather see vendors make them one and the same. As most of you, dear readers, know, I’m a big fan of Conway’s Law and the more abstract philosophy that the organization and culture that built an application will drive it’s architecture and feature set. In my mind, the further the group and people writing the software are away from the way that software is “packaged” and used, the more dissonance you’ll have in the over-all system.

On the extreme end, you have the Amazon example: “[t]here is no separate operations department at Amazon: you build it; you run it.” That works “fine” when you’re running everything for all your users. More moderately, for existing, large organizations the answer is more along the lines of mingling the software and ops group rather than keeping them separate. This is something I understand Microsoft is struggling to figure out and I’d hope that most of The Elder Companies, like IBM are noodling on it as well.

We’ll find out.

Disclaimer: IBM is a client and is paying for my room at the Marriott in lovely Stamford, CT.

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Categories: Companies, Conferences, Enterprise Software, Programming.