For as long as I have been associated with large vendors, and I count companies like Nixdorf Computers, Tandem Computers, and even ACI Worldwide in this category, not forgetting IBM, of course, who plucked me from the campus of Sydney University more decades ago than I care to recall. Innovation rarely surfaces from the big vendors’ laboratories. That’s not to say there aren’t innovative folks working for large vendors or that there aren’t numerous projects fully staffed at all times, it’s just that the potential for innovation to make it out of the labs is pretty remote. And for good reason, in many instances, the perceived risks to the company are just too high, just as the very thought of change frightens many of the high-placed executives.
I have been reminded of this once again having just read an interesting Op-Ed piece by Len Rust, a former executive with IDC, who now publishes the newsletter, The Rust Report. In that May 4, 2015, column New era, new strategies, Rust writes that, “The large vendors, however, are often hard pressed or appear so, to make changes. If they hope to outgrow and/or out-profit the industry they typically must take one, or a combination of three paths. The paths are: product line extensions, up selling and cross-selling of related products and services to the same or similar customers; or by market extension, leveraging existing capabilities into new demographic markets; and also extending their partner programs.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to read that much of the work being done in support of Big Data is by smaller, more innovative, companies. Just do a Google search on Big Data Vendors today and check out how many responses include the names of companies and their products that few in IT had even heard of a decade ago – at the time I made the inquiry, Google responded with “About 28,500,000 results (0.57 seconds). Take for instance the site that appeared close to the top of the page Google returned, bigdatavendors.com that says it “is an ecosystem of over 100+ BigData companies with proven products and quick ROI in shortest possible time”. And this was just one site I clicked on.
Established NonStop Roots and Innovative Technology
So much is changing and it’s hard to keep up, but fortunately for the HP NonStop community, we have WebAction with roots that can be traced back to GoldenGate, Insession Technologies and yes, ACI. “And why wouldn’t we support NonStop,” asks WebAction EVP and cofounder. “It’s not just because of a shared history but rather, because so much of the world’s financial transactions pass through NonStop, in realtime, that NonStop simply cannot be ignored.”
HP is about to split – we have already seen the early signs of the split progressing beyond press releases. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has a new logo and a new color scheme, but more importantly, its business goals remain squarely focused on Mobility, Security Clouds and Big Data. Just as important, though, is it’s shift in deliverables towards industry standard and open source – the former proprietary days of HP are left behind. As with every large vendor, to continue to innovate and to move forward with this change, it too is going to need partners.
It was Len Rust who wrote “The paths are … extending their partner programs” and the reference above to ACI is a clear example of one big vendor who scored big on the strength of their partners. As a vendor, if you truly are afraid of change, let the little guy test the waters, a basic fundamental of IT vendors for as long as I can recall and a basic premise that fuels the VC community. And yes, for those in the NonStop community considering Big Data and Big Data Analytics including the “High-Velocity Stream Analytics” that come with running some of the world’s largest transactional environments, to know a vendor knowledgeable in the ways of NonStop is tackling the challenge of obtaining meaningful metadata from all that passes through a NonStop is a welcome news.
Big Data Analytics “boutiques”
“Change is the major factor in today’s IT economy. Every sector of our society is affected – governments at all levels, health care, business, not-for-profit organizations, education, financial services and many more,” concludes Rust. “There are no exceptions – the change is both sweeping and dramatic … Effective communication has never been more important for IT vendors.” Sweeping and dramatic are clearly anathema to large vendors and yet, the user community needs to know (what’s happening to user behavior) simply to stay in business. Yes, it’s the highly-focused, knowledgeable Big Data Analytics “boutiques” specializing in the needs of very special communities where the breakthroughs will come and the progress WebAction continues to make, likewise, isn’t lost on anyone in the HP NonStop community.