Supply-Chain Management

Upside story on Catching Up With SCM’s Vision:

Today, the real buzz is about connecting suppliers in virtual companies via the Internet…The boundaries between companies become blurred and the virtual enterprise becomes a more widespread form of business organization. Executives are slowly moving away from “command and control” modes of management to collaborative and persuasive modes, where the tone of their communication becomes key.

This collaborative mind-set is part and parcel of diminishing boundaries that are more than physical or technological; they are knowledge-based and psychological as well. Since the advent of the Internet, it has become increasingly apparent that business enterprises must be seen as part of an extended ecosystem. The completely independent enterprise will soon become an extinct species in an increasingly integrated and interconnected world.

Microsoft Desktop Alternative

John-Thomas Richards asks Do We Still Need Microsoft?. His response:

Years ago Microsoft made a marketing decision to bundle together its desktop productivity software in a new product called Microsoft Office…With each successive release of Office, and Word in particular, Microsoft changed the file formats, making it especially difficult for competitors to write filters to make their software work with Microsoft’s. Thus, compatibility with Office required running Office and running Office required running Windows. This is no longer the case.

In January, 2002, OpenOffice.org release OpenOffice 1.0. The developers improved upon the already impressive compatibility with Microsoft Office. I have personally used OpenOffice and StarOffice for everything from simple memoranda to complex loan amortization spreadsheets and was able to use the files in Microsoft Office. I, like many others, have discovered that compatibility with Microsoft Office no longer requires Microsoft software – including Windows, because OpenOffice runs on Windows and Linux. Barring specialty hardware or software that will only run in a Windows environment, the average corporate desktop user simply does not need to run Microsoft Windows. Thus it is that Microsoft’s grip on the desktop has been broken.

Given the license fees (including a forced subscription with XP) for Microsoft software, the never ending flood of viruses spread via Outlook, and the ever dangerous remote exploits, businesses have begun to look elsewhere for their desktop computing environment. Linux, with OpenOffice and/or StarOffice, is set to take over the corporate market. There is no longer a compelling reason to run Microsoft software. The reasons for running Linux are just getting better.

I agree. The combination of the open source alternatives (Evolution, OpenOffice and Mozilla) is now more than good enough. A Digital Dashboard to aggregate information and applications together is what is needed next on the desktop. In fact, if one think about it, there really has been no desktop innovation over the past decade other than the various Windows releases. Much of the innovation has been directed on the Web. This is where the Digital Dashboard can make a big difference.

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PC as PVR?

Writes Rafe Needleman in Business2.0: “Most PCs are more powerful than a TiVo, and more connected (to the Internet, to PDAs, etc.). So why not put a TiVo in a PC? This is what SnapStream Media does, with its Personal Video Station software, a TiVo-like program for your computer. But unfortunately, for most people, it’s a nice program that runs on the wrong box.”

Concludes Needleman: “With Microsoft, TiVo, and the cable box companies pushing PVR technology via consumer electronic channels, and into the right rooms (living rooms, not offices), I don’t see a big breakout coming soon for PC-based PVRs.”

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