Office 2.0 – got it in Winweb?

by admin on September 18, 2006

in Innovation

I was trawling through the Winweb site when it suddenly struck me – why am I going to Office 2.0? Stefan’s done it already, hasn’t he? Or am I kidding myself? Take a look at the checklist and then compare with this chart (reproduced below)

Bizoffice

OK – so I’m bending the rules a bit because I’m more concerned about doing business than having all of Ismael’s application types. Maybe some of those will come later. And some can be added into or are part of the applications Winweb already uses. Some might argue it’s a kludge. I’d argue that having all that Winweb offers, delivered portal style makes huge sense.

What makes Winweb different is its Live option. There is no way that a start up or early stage business can find that anywhere else. That’s because Stefan knows this isn’t just for geeks. He talks a lot about facilitating business survival. I see it as a whole lot more. But then I’m biased. I know it.

Just as Ismael’s vision is evolving, so is Stefan’s. I hope the conference deals with some of the business realities at both the SME and enterprise levels. The schedule looks very promising. And less than 25 places left.

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Al September 19, 2006 at 10:50 am

Unfortunately one of the most important checklist items is missing – Competition.

That means I should be able to swap out the different features from different vendors to keep them honest. Not only that but competition makes the individual functions better, just like real market places. THus for our customers WinWeb wouldn't cut it, it seeems to be all or nothing approach (Web 1.0 if you like). That doesn't mean it isn't good for some sectors like practices which like that kind of closed, stable single stop solution, but for Office 2.0 the competition part would be essential to avoid lock in and maximise performance/options

I like the mix and match or mashup approach and would hate to send our customers back to the bad old days of you can only choose Sage or only choose Microsoft. Things have changed now and the customer is winning back control, we need to make sure we deliver what they want.

regards
Al

Dennis Howlett September 19, 2006 at 11:18 am

Don't need competition on the list, it already exists. See Ismael's list – pretty extensive.

Nice idea but methinks you miss the point. It isn't a matter of whether it's Web 1,2 or 999 – it's about providing people with what they need to survive and prosper. Mashups are fine for ad hoc – but not for running your business.

No-one but no-one is going to swap business critical apps in and out simply because something else better (questionable) has come along – that's for geeky boys and girls only and the implied logic of your argument.

End users don't really care where the tools come from but business owners do. That's about trust. At present we've got lots of fragments – which is fine if you need a Backpack. Not much good if you want to run your business. And guess what? All the vendors are desperate to build brand.

What everyone needs right now is an easy way to tie the apps together at the data level (check tags/RSS) but we're already past that and thinking process. Remember there is a big ecosystem out there and the real benefits of this stuff come when the apps all 'talk' endto end process. Requires a LOT of stability and heavy lifting. WW does that through the portal idea. It works. It's innovative even if you think it doesn't look like it is.

Competition ultimately wittles choice back so this is about making temporary bets now but with the object of cementing relationships over time with the survivors – whomever they may be. Which could be M$/Sage. First movers rarely win.

Sorry. Nice try but no cigar. Logic doesn't stand up.

Al September 19, 2006 at 11:52 am

I quoted it because it was on Ismael’s list, but because it wasn't on your comparison.

Here are some example things that we should be able to swap out:
Choosing which spreadsheet to use EditGrid/NumSum/GSpreadsheet etc…
Choosing which blog to use
Wordpress, Typepad etc..
Choosing E-Invoicing
BlinkSale, Fresh books
Linking up with the company website by choosing e-commerce tools and multiple payment systems like checkout as well as Paypal
Choosing from the market places/metaplaces
eBay, Gdata, Microsofts coming market place etc..
Choosing which calendar service:
GCal,Zoho, Microsofts live services..
Choosing VOIP
SIP, Skype etc..

The list goes on, but the point is most business's are complex, a one model fits all approach will be a jack of all trades. Ultimately I beleive solutions will be acheived by integrators, forget the web 2.0 label thats deceptive, but newere integrators are on the horizon to help real businesses solve real world problems.

I certainly don't disagree with the Connecting comment you make "data level (check tags/RSS)" as this is essential to the approach and this is something we have been wroking on for some time. In fact the connection stuff with integrator glue is what we hope will hold the answers to some of these issues.

PS this has nothing to do with Geeky/Girl boy stuff, it has much more to do with the so called Enterprise 2.0 meme, It is also being persued by hardened business professionals solving real issues for real companies. So I won't accept the cigar statement as I don't smoke and have'nt for decades ;)

Actually I think our customers may be after the same thing..

regards
Al

Al September 19, 2006 at 12:42 pm

I will also just clarify the 'Mash-up statement'

In the old days we used to mashup inside the business using things like the follwoing :
1) Macros and VB inside Excell to produce reports and plans etc..
2) ODBC/JDBC between databases and sources
3) Intranets to provide unified views accross our Oracle and Access databases
4) Crystal Reports and similar products to achieve aggregated summaries/analysis

You get the picture, these were the internal corporate mashups we all had to deal with on a regular basis.

When I use the term mashup now, it's about integrating internet based services and data that a business uses. Being able to work in that space is now a prerequesite for business, it's not just internal anymore, hence the statement.

regards
Al

Stefan TÃ&par September 22, 2006 at 12:20 pm

Al,

I think turning the fact that you can not offer certain functionality into a marketing statement like I like to mash-up, etc. is not bad, have to remember that one.

Unfortunately, you just prove my point, that most software vendors have no idea about the SOHO market. Saying this is for SOHOs, is not enough. If you think that small businesses have the time to search, find and evaluate everything new on the internet, than you are mistaken.

Maybe you need to deal less in slogans and more in down to earth small business issues of poeple who do not care about
Office 2.0, RSS, etc. but more about "How can I improve my cash-flow?" or "How do I get my data secure?".

WinWeb has an open API and as you can see ebay, paypal, NCR, etc. are already using it. We welcome anyone with additional products that we can offer to our clients. We also offer competitive products and services in our OnlineOffice, like wed-design from tribal internet for example. All data can be exported and you have no minimum contract term, to compare that with the old software model is not correct. Please get your facts right, before you make statements like this.

Al September 22, 2006 at 4:39 pm

Hi Stefan

First of all let me apologise, I in no way intended offending you or your colleague at WinWeb. I have looked at WinWeb on more than one occasion bothe personally and as part of a requirements anaysis for one of our clients. I like WinWeb I think you guys have created an awesome and comprehensive wide ranging product. IT is as Dennis indicated an end to end product excellent for those seeking end to end solutions from a single vendor.

My comment however was focussed on Dennis's post which was focused on Office 2.0 and asks is WinWeb there already :

"I was trawling through the Winweb site when it suddenly struck me – why am I going to Office 2.0? Stefan’s done it already, hasn’t he? Or am I kidding myself?"

My comments therefore are in respect of this supposition, primarily in that the way I and some of my clients, inteperate Office 2.0 or Business 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 is that it is made up of multiple loosely joined web services. This is in preference to single vendor end to end solutions.

It is not that one is right and the other is wrong. Far from it, all of that is still up for discussion.

But the point of my comment was to say because it is not loosely joined multiple vendor it follows the original web meme. One of the chracteristics of the new web or what ever anyone wishes to call it, is that it can be meshed together. One no longer has to tie oneself into a single vendor (web based or not). Not only that but in many cases it is rarely possible to switch to a single system, in my experience businesses use old and new technologies and have to make them work together.

I am also not suggesting that small businesses go out there and start randomly picking services from what is on offer. This is were the new kind of Integrator steps in, analysing the business requirement and integrating the optimum solution for that business. For the integrator (masher!) to achieve this he will need business engine glue and connectors ect.. This is something we are focusing on, hence the discussion.

It is not that we are at odds with each over, it is just we envisage fundamentally different ways of tackling the problem.

And just to answer a couple of your points ;
“How can I improve my cash-flow?” yup very familiar with this problem although most of our clients don't say it's a cash flow problem they just know they are not selling enough which results in the cash problem (Again just my own limited experience with ourr clients).

“How do I get my data secure?” This is always one of the biggest questions from customers particularly in the financial space. I don not think thios will change over night business will take some time to get used to this. I have direct experience with this. One of my previous companies (I sold my interests in) performed rick analysis and compliance on sales and financial ledgers. Due to the service base nature of the technology we had to house this securely on the public internet behind firewalls/VPNs and encryped and redundant systems. This was particularly critical as the client paying for the services was finance houses and banks, they have serious proceedures and security process that have to be met and tested before they will consider using them.

I am pleased that WinWeb has an API and it was something I was not aware of, I would like to look into this as Folknology is considering all vendors in this space.

I would love to have a discussion with ypou to carify my position and to explain what we are working on as there could be some opportunity moving forward. email me if you are interested al at folknology dot com

regards
Al

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