Ronnie05's Blog

Facebook’s Glory days:No Company in recent history has had a run like FB!

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on January 16, 2011

Facebook and Zuckerberg are adhesived on-to headlines now, whether it be due to the movie: The Social Network, or Mark Zuckerberg being judged as person of the year by Time, Facebook Messages (that heralds a bold move for FB from social networks to full-fledged communication system) , Social gaming through Facebook, Facebook Credits and Online Currency, Goldman Sach’s $50 billion or a $70 billion valuation @ $28.26 per share or 100 million users on Cityville 43 days after launch or the impending “shut down” of Facebook come March 15th 2011.

In October 2010, Facebook acknowledged that some applications on its site, including the popular game FarmVille (by Zynga), had improperly shared identifying information about users, and in some cases their friends, with advertisers and Web tracking companies. The company said it was talking to application developers about how they handled personal information, and was looking at ways to prevent this from happening again.News and Controversies apart, Facebook is the toast of the year and continues to promise more.

FB has grown at a meteoric pace, doubling in size since 2009 and pushing international competitors aside. Its policies, more than those of any other company, are helping to define standards for privacy in the Internet age. FB has also come to be seen as one of the new titans of the Internet, challenging even Google with a vision of a web tied together through personal relationships and recommendations, rather than by search algorithms. In a major expansion, Facebook has spread itself across other websites by offering members the chance to “Like” something — share it with their network — without leaving the web page they’re on. Analysts see Facebook as the “default platform” of a new age of information organized around personal relationships.

FB is pacing its reach globally. Interestingly enough, after it biggest market US (with 146 million users), FB is most popular in Indonesia (34 million users) and then UK (27 million users). The interesting bit about Indonesia here is that, it has an online population of 40 million, which means Facebook connects more than 85% of the online Indonesian population. Asia houses 112 million Facebook users, contributing one-fifth of Facebook’s total user count. The raising number of Facebook users mainly comes from 3 fast growing countries that saw 4 digits growth rate in the last 24 months – Malaysia (1,000 percent), Thailand (4,000 percent) and Taiwan (7,500 percent). Facebook’s secret sauce toward success in Asia is mainly due to its quick adaptability to different cultures and languages. The originally English-based social network allows non-English speaking users to translate the site’s description to their native language.

The other factor that has helped Facebook extend its reach in Asian countries is the use of Gaming as a penetration strategy. Farmville and now Cityville are pilling on users who necessarily have to get a Facebook account to access these games.

The only frontier unchartered by Facebook is China. FB remains banned in the Chinese community while Renren has grown to have more than 150 million users. Nonetheless, Facebook still has about 300,000 Chinese national users accessing it through proxy server or when overseas. But the value of the Facebook network is weak among Chinese nations.
FB has had better luck in Russia as it recorded a 376 percent increase in users from January to August last year, according to comScore data. It currently has more than 4.5 million users in Russia but is still far behind VKontakte, which has about 28 million users. The Silver-lining henceforth: If Facebook has succeeded in penetrating the Russian market, it might have a shot at doing the same in China.IN TIME!

To wrap up, heres an interesting presentation from Amodiovalerio Verde on the demographics of FB!


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Why would enterprise apps be non-starters (for now)

Posted in Enterprise Computing by Manas Ganguly on January 16, 2011

Apps are the IN thing: here and now. Apple’s “There is an app for that” commercial says it all about the ubiquitousness of apps. With the huge success of apps stores for consumers, one idea that every app store is mulling around is extending the “app store” concept to enterprises.

Consumers love Apps because it allows them to find, purchase, deploy, use and maintain applications in an amazingly easy way. And because the consumers are searching and buying, they’re likely to frequently use and buy more applications. The concept has been wildly successful for Apple, and now it’s being extended to people with other brands of smartphones. This success has raised an obvious question from consumers who are also users of enterprise software: Why can’t it be this easy at work?

Most organizations have more applications than they know what to do with. Wouldn’t this conceptual model help us organize, deploy and maintain apps more easily? And wouldn’t being able to track downloads and usage help us plan better for the apps in which we should invest more, perhaps even the ones we should be sunsetting? It’s a very compelling idea, one that software vendors and service providers are thinking about to help sell more software and/or services.

However, the field realities for a consumer versus enterprise app store are vastly different. There are a few hurdles that must be overcome to make this idea work which stem from the differences between how the consumer app-store model works and the reality of enterprise apps for most organizations:

The issue of Homogeneity versus Heterogeneity
Much of consumer app popularity is possible because one company (Android, Apple, Ovi, RIM) controls just about every aspect, except for the actual code development. Unfortunately, enterprise software doesn’t work that way — companies have a wide variety of platforms and technologies underpinning their app portfolios. The first hurdle is to try to replicate the app-store usability in a heterogeneous environment without breaking the bank on development and integration costs. It would also require a level of cooperation between vendors that, to say the least, has been difficult to achieve.

Independent versus Integrated Apps
While there is no necessity what so ever to integrate apps for consumer use (why to integrate Calorie Count with TV times?), in an enterprise environment, it is very important to combine apps much the same way as different parts of an ERP chain. So the app store must accommodate the need for information sharing across discrete applications and maintain it seamlessly for end users. Maintaining integrations between enterprise apps is hard enough when IT controls the release cycles.

Deployment Issues
How to aggregate and deploy the content in an enterprise app store? The mobile app-store model has a very controlled deployment model, where the provisioning, billing and maintenance are handled by one vendor. Most organizations today, are likely to have a mix of apps that are on premises and in the cloud. Those wanting to pursue an enterprise app store must develop a standardized approach for provisioning these apps to end users when the apps may reside in distributed locations and have very different license agreements. Keeping track and ensuring license compliance will be critical to make sure your app vendor doesn’t come knocking at the end of the year with a huge bill

Summary
The goals and intentions behind an enterprise app store are good ones: Make software easier to deploy and consume for end users. The reality of making this work is another matter entirely. Many software vendors are using platform as a service (PaaS) as a way to deliver their and their partners’ apps in a consistent and structured way. Service providers are exploring what some call “service marketplaces” to deliver more choices and easier consumption for customers. It is expected that vendor and service provider communities to drive some interesting innovations in the next 12 months to start clearing some of these hurdles. However, in the current scenario there is little or nothing to drive Enterprise apps and its adoption, very unlike the consumer apps.

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