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Sunday, June 03, 2007

At the NYSE with Don Tapscott

If you’ve never heard Don Tapscott speak, try to do so. Not only is he the author of the world’s number one bestselling business book (Wikinomics), but he is also a fantastic speaker. I had the opportunity to speak with him at a CIO Breakfast meeting in the Club Room at the New York Stock Exchange.

Don presented the Web 2.0 phenomenon and its impact on business. I followed his pitch with specific challenges going on in the world of financial services and how modernization and open source are creating opportunities for dramatic enhancements to business. It was great speaking with some of the executives of the largest financial institutions in the world, discussing their challenges and opportunities for future growth.

After the presentation, the NYSE folks gave us a tour of the stock exchange floor. It was the first time I had ever been on the floor. I walked up to the Unisys market maker and jokingly asked him if I could buy a share of stock. Although the place was packed and scraps of paper were littered all over the floor, they told us that traffic has greatly reduced over the past few years due to electronic trading. Although security to get into the NYSE building was incredibly tight (took me over 15 minutes to get through the security checks), it was worth the wait. Thanks much to Laura Prescuitti and the folks at Ziff-Davis for a great event in NY.

Following this, I hopped a train to Washington DC to present to the General Services Administration (GSA) and Small Business Administration (SBA) folks on the current and future states of mass collaboration and how it can help them. It was a great event setup by my friend and colleague Andy Gordon. And, although the public sector space is a lot different than financial services, many of their underlying challenges are the same: most of their IT dollars spent supporting existing (lot of legacy) stuff, business functions duplicated all over the place in monolithic applications, declining budgets, a need to add new features or enhancements to existing applications, a need to provide better services to end users, and so forth.


In each presentation, I spoke about the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) and its role in helping drive the interoperability standards and reference architectures required to drive the impact and consumption of open source and open solutions on addressing the business challenges noted above. In the public sector space, you have additional groups such as The Open Group and the OTD. The OTD roadmap is used by the Department of Defense for its future technology strategy. And, check out this quote, lifted straight from the OTD roadmap: “This report recommends shifts in the process of technology acquisition from closed, locked-in black box systems to open and modular approaches. These open approaches are based on open standards, services based architecture, open source collaboration, and reference open source implementations. These shifts, in turn, enable a business process migration from proprietary products that can only be changed by one vendor, towards a marketplace for professional services to extend and adapt capabilities on demand.”