Box.net vs SharePoint on Highway 101

What’s going on in the workgroup collaboration and file sharing space in 2009?

If anybody drove southbound near Redwood Shores on Highway 101 (in Silicon Valley for those who are not local) lately, you would have noticed a big billboard put up by Box.net challenging SharePoint to a simplicity match.  This challenge was apparently launched during Enterprise 2.0.

Box.net vs SharePoint

Box.net vs SharePoint

ReadWriteWeb also has an article on this topic, titled The Gloves Come Off in The Box.net vs. SharePoint Challenge.  There are people who argued that SharePoint is much more feature rich while others argued that SharePoint is too complex (rightly so, I might say from personal experience) to the detriment of its users who are just trying to collaborate on some documents.

While this drama is going on, you might notice that there are other players in this space.  As Microsoft’s SharePoint revenue exceeds $1 Billion in FY2008, startups know that they can grow to a good size by just grabbing a small part of this growing file sharing / collaboration market.  At that point, bigger players such as IBM Lotus and Adobe may ride in and buy them up.

Here is another blog which provided some description on 13 other file sharing/sending services in this space: YouSendIt, Send6, TransferBigFiles, BigFileBox, PipeBytes, DropSend, MailBigFile, SendFile, SendThisFile, Pando, HotShare, Driveway and LeapFILE.   Though each targets a slightly different group of audience, there seems to be a lot of overlap even just looking at the names.  Thoughts?

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Twitter Tweets as the New Internet?

Is real time search of Twitter tweets a harbinger of a new Google?

At the SDForum International SIG Private Equity Panel this week, Jay Choi of Partech said that they look at the sea of tweets that everybody generates like the websites people create in the 90s.  He thought there is an opportunity to treat these tweets as data that you can mine for not just real-time search but also for generating trend reports, predictive analysis of opinions, supporting eCommerce, etc.  Partech has actually invested in that space.  He didn’t think Twitter is the big one but instead somebody using the tweet data would gain huge commercial success like Google did with the internet.

This is an interesting perspective which can lead to the possible emergence of a real time Google, among other things.  From there, there could be numerous commercial opportunities.  The ones cited by this Mashable post, 5 More Twitter Related Trends, might just be the beginning.

If this prognosis is right, then comparing Twitter to Google may be a little premature.  Any comments from the readers?

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IBM and SPSS predictive of further analytics M&A?

It looks like the consolidation of analytics vendors are continuing – IBM announced the purchase of public company SPSS today for $1.2 billion, less than 2 years after they bought Cognos for $4.9 billion.

According to other responses on the article on techcrunch, there were a couple more mergers recently in Europe with AG buying IDS Sheer and SAP buying up SAF of Switzerland (blog entry in German) as well.

This may be an indication that big software companies realize analytics software is a great services cash cow that they can milk for consulting revenues. After all, analytics is one of these technologies that needs to be implemented for your particular business and your set of data to drive your business decision making.

I hope beyond service revenue, these mergers are also driven by a recognition that enterprises are moving beyond reporting and actually taking advantage of the predictive aspects of analytics.  If true, this will indeed help companies  transform into intelligent business. Do you see that starting to happen in your space?

Along the same line, I am reading a book Smart (Enough) Systems by James Taylor and Neil Raden and hope to have more to say about the predictive analytics space later.

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