My year of work is finished. I am leaving for a three week vacation with my wonderful family, returning January 17. Before I head off, though, I’ll leave you with my thoughts about the top 10 events of the year.
1. Microsoft’s Exchange Roadmap Fiasco. The Exchange team flip flopped like a dying fish over the future of Exchange Server. Until May there was a new version scheduled for 2006 code named Kodiak, then the strategy was for a series of add-on capabilities, then the add-on capability that was scheduled was delayed, and then yesterday the Exchange team announced that a 2006 version is back on the books. I’m unimpressed. Whenever this next version of the roadmap is announced – and it sounds like something is scheduled for mid next month – it had better be clear, concise and compelling.
2. Microsoft’s Roadmap Fiasco Take 2. Exchange is now only one component of Microsoft’s strategy for enabling customers to collaborate and communicate, with Windows SharePoint Services, SharePoint Portal Server, Live Communications Server, Live Meeting, a potential future InfoPath Server, and other servers adding additional capabilities. Customers need to know what is coming down the pike for these servers, and how they will be able to develop and deploy a coherent approach to team collaboration across the enterprise. So do Microsoft’s partners. Microsoft doesn’t have 3-5 year roadmaps for these products … and that’s just pathetic.
3. Groove Networks Fairly Solid. Groove has made important strides toward securing a place in the enterprise. The third major version of its team collaboration product delivered solid benefits, and as a company Groove is being much more forthright about the importance of aligning with ISVs and VARs to drive the penetration of its platform components into the enterprise. In my view, Groove has distinguished itself from the wider rabble of collaborative workspace vendors.
4. Wireless Messaging Gains Ground. More and more people are embracing the productivity benefits gained by having wireless access to their messaging and collaboration systems. RIM has doubled its subscriber base to 2 million during 2004, and Good Technology, Visto, SEVEN and Intellisync have each delivered solid new products.
5. IBM Lotus and the Future of Notes/Domino. IBM invested considerable effort and resources in making its roadmap for Notes and Domino clear in light of its Workplace initiative. Notes and Domino aren’t going away.
6. The Death of Kubi. I was very impressed with Kubi Software’s original idea about adding collaborative workspace capabilities to Notes Mail and Outlook, enabling enhanced ways of sharing common data between users. So it was a surprise when Kubi fired most of its people and hunkered down to build out another approach to the market. All has been fairly quiet from Kubi since February, although there is a small insight on their web site as to what they are working on.
7. One-Day Wonder Collaborative Workspace Vendors. A number of vendors have released a press release signaling the availability of a new collaborative workspace offering, and then gone totally quiet. For example, I’ve only heard about Kunami and FolderShare once during the year … which, is blatantly insufficient for getting established as a serious contender in this space.
8. Parlano MindAlign Wins Support. MindAlign is another product that I think is doing well. Parlano has won a string of new customers during 2004, and has begun the process of being more “enterprise-friendly”. Parlano is shifting away from an architecture that it totally controls to one that is more friendly to key infrastructure from other important vendors, eg, Live Communications Server from Microsoft.
9. Minor Advances in Wireless Devices. No one delivered a breakthrough device running Palm OS or Microsoft Pocket PC during 2004. Palm delivered an incremental upgrade to its Treo smartphone, and HP released a combined PDA and phone in its iPAQ range. I’m not -- yawn -- rushing out to buy either.
10. Credibility of Research Firms Questioned. A couple of research firms wore egg after doing dependent work that was positioned as independent analysis. The bigger of the two has a good reputation in the market, and should have known better.
11. Friendships Abound. 2004 has been a banner year for meeting new people. I have appreciated the opportunities to engage with colleagues in California, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, UK, Germany and Switzerland, among others, and not to mention new and continuing friends in various cities in New Zealand. Thanks to all who talked to me, left comments on my site, and engaged with me in common areas of interest. Merry Christmas.
What were your “top 10” for 2004?