Dion Hinchcliffe

Dion Hinchcliffe is an expert in information technology, business strategy, and next-generation enterprises.

Latest Posts

Social networking makes a play for the enterprise

While surely inevitable, investors have taken a recent interest in capitalizing on the social network phenomenon, as represented today by the likes of online social giants MySpace and Facebook. MySpace alone has been absorbing the daily attentions of tens of millions of young people over the last year, and is growing at a truly staggering rate. Facebook actually just launched in January and is already one of the leading social networking sites.

April 19, 2006 by


Web-based software: Not for prime-time yet?

I read with interest the recent CNet interview with SAP CEO Henning Kagermann where he was asked more questions about on-demand software and social software than not. Kagermann isn't overly impressed with the on-demand model and crisply defends what SAP, one of the largest software companies in the world, is doing with their hybrid model. He makes the point that their customers run their core businesses on SAP and would be out of business if their SAP implementation goes down.

April 17, 2006 by


Running a business on Web-based software

One premise of Enterprise Web 2.0 is that Web-based software is beginning to credibly encroach on many solution areas that traditional software previously addressed. According to proponents, this maturing method of online software delivery provides more usability, convenience, and value. The flexibility, mobility, and sheer connectedness of Web software is indeed increasingly hard to ignore. And many of us, consciously or not, are doing more and more of our daily work in the browser, either using applications hosted on the Web, or inside our organizations using Web technology.

April 14, 2006 by


Outlook on software in 2006: Healthy, disruptive

An increasing amount of attention is being given to the new Software 2006 Industry Report from the respected Mckinsey and Company (along with the Sandhill group). The report is a high level look at the overall state of the software industry and is chock full of interesting and informative tidbits. You can read it for yourself as they have kindly made it available online in PDF form. Some of information isn't too surprising, namely that we're just now fully recovering from Bubble 1.0 and that software is increasingly moving online. Others are more bold and include...

April 10, 2006 by


The intangible aspects of mashups matter most

National Public Radio had a really good story yesterday about Platial and the Google Maps world of mashups. Putting aside the fascinating aspects of this heretofore previously obscure phenomenon being increasingly spotted in mainstream media, the story actually got a lot of the spirit of the mashups world right. As part of this, I've been looking at the various mashup APIs and components, watching how they get used, and also which ones are getting adopted most and why. Some interesting trends have begun to emerge.

April 8, 2006 by


The next generation of Web components

Easy software assembly out of pre-existing pieces has been a holy grail of software development for decades. Along these lights, many of us have been tracking the mashup phenomenon and the associated innovation including the bustling mashup ecosystem that has been one of the big stories of the last year so. You can see the results yourself by visiting the terrific MashupFeed directory of current mashups, or just the raw material by looking at all the reusable Web services listed on Programmable Web.

April 5, 2006 by


The SOA with reach: Web-Oriented Architecture

I recently had the pleasure of watching Nick Garr give his take on something he describes as Web-Oriented Architecture or WOA. There are a lot of ways to view Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and this particular lightweight vision of SOA is well worth watching. This is because WOA is more of an emerging best practice from the battle-hardened folks in the field than it is from ivory tower architects or the analyst group notebook, which always lends an idea more credence in my book.

April 1, 2006 by

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IT Commandment: Put thy users first, above all else

While the concept of IT commandments sounds rigid and inflexible to me, I will admit there are some core truths that should almost never be violated. Fellow ZDNetter Paul Murphy has recently blazed this trail and it's an interesting experiment in seeing what people believe is fundamentallly important in IT if nothing else, and spark useful debates. IT commandments will be part of a ZDNet blog series over the next week or so.

March 27, 2006 by


The growing primacy of data over software

I've been studying the transcript of this week's public conversation between Bill Gates and Tim O'Reilly at MIX 06. I was at the conversation and yet even at the time I couldn't help thinking that O'Reilly and Gates were talking past each other on several key points, particularly the increasing value of data and its potential as biggest source of lock-in and disruption in the future. Looking at transcript now, it seems pretty clear that was the case.

March 24, 2006 by


SPARK and MIX: Bounding the future of the Web

The last few days here at SPARK and MIX 06 have been a miniature version of the whirlwind of forces that are remaking and reshaping the Web today. Setting the stage for the week was SPARK, Microsoft's workshop on the future of software architecture. With an emphasis on the convergence of Web 2.0, Software as a Service (SaaS), and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), the event brought together 28 of the top people in IT architecture to brainstorm about the near-term future direction of software architecture.

March 21, 2006 by