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SpringSource + Hyperic = Better Together

May 4th, 2009 Comments off

Hi all,

This is the post I accidentally posted prematurely a couple weeks ago. Since its now relevant – I decided to repost it. Congrats to the team once again!

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SpringSource + HypericRumors have been circulating for a while now, and today it is official. I’d like to congratulate all my friends at Hyperic on this new marriage. I’d also like to offer some outsider-former-insider perspective on why I think this is a great thing for both companies.

First, a short reminder on its history. Hyperic was born from a previous company called Covalent. Covalent (v1 as we like to refer to it), simply put was formed to commoditize the Apache project. It built tools and contributed modules to Apache that helped users deploy it faster, improve reliability, and ease management of the performance of the applications running on it. This last bit was what would become Hyperic. Hyperic grew the project as a separate entity to leverage its modular architecture to cover even more technologies. More than 75 in fact, including JBoss, BEA WebLogic, MySQL, Red Hat, Microsoft technologies, VMware, Citrix XenServer and more. A few years ago, while Interface 21–the previous moniker for SpringSource–was expanding their capabilities to make Java Application development faster, more reliable and more scalable, they looked at Hyperic to embed as their management project. Working at Hyperic at the time, the Spring engineers quickly earned the respect and admiration of the Hyperic engineers. They did nothing short of an awesome job extending and improving the embedded Hyperic application for Spring. Last year, SpringSource aquired Covalent Technologies (also sometimes called v2 internally) to add its products to their portfolio – adding commercial support for Apache and Tomcat in the process. An aquisition that has been met with resounding success from Spring’s customers and the Apache and Tomcat projects as well.

With this in mind, here are the top 5 reasons why I think this new arrangement for Hyperic and Spring is good for all.

  1. Java. At its core, Hyperic is a java application. I haven’t seen a code audit recently, but would guess its 95% java. A lot of the projects such as Hibernate, ehCache and others that Hyperic uses, Spring has tremendous depth in and will help the Hyperic application grow. While Hyperic supports lots of technologies well, including .NET, I would guess that 80% of Hyperic’s install base uses it to manage Java. They may manage more than Java as well, but 80% of them have Java applications under management with Hyperic. Spring, while definitely a Java company has also been having big success in .NET and other environments. I think this will ensure that the Java interoperability in the overall data center will be more secure, stable and faster to develop and deploy and that Hyperic’s coverage and capabilities will only expand.
  2. People. Between working with the Spring engineers on the OEM project, and the Covalent folks on the original Hyperic project, there really isn’t a better marriage out there for Hyperic to hit the ground running and develop really cool products fast. At Siebel, I went through several aquisitions. They were long and painful, mostly because whole new groups of people were inserted into a product development team that didn’t understand the core technologies. Not so here at all. Also, worth noting, all of Hyperic will stay intact in engineering, sales and support. Javier included, and in fact – he’s going to get back to working on product, and that dude has a lot of pent up creativity he is about to unleash. This will be good.
  3. Open Source. Building on the previous statement, a lot of the core dependencies for the project are based in open source. These components, like MySQL, Tomcat, Hibernate and others have a wide pool of talent in the marketplace already. Sure, the specific applications may be slightly different, but there is a lot of shared knowledge here, so it usually isn’t too hard to get anyone not familiar with the project familiar quickly. I assume its the same for the other Spring products as well.
  4. Groovy and Grails. Hyperic added some new functionality about a year ago to do live scripting and integration using Groovy. Our engineers loved it. So did Hyperic users. In fact, they’re regularly asking when Hyperic is going to provide native management for Groovy. Groovy is growing amazing popularity in the cloud, and Hyperic has been focused on this area for a while now. Spring bought the Groovy company a year and a half ago. While likely not the intent to just marry Groovy and Hyperic, I think that it makes the likelihood that Hyperic plays even better with Groovy soon.
  5. Money. Two years ago, I cringed while watching Javier be interviewed at JavaOne by Cote. I cringed at the part where Javier was saying that Hyperic is the cash register of open source. I shouldn’t have cringed. It was true. Open Source companies are making money for the most part by selling either two things – better manageability and predictability of their software, or better intelligence analytics. So they looked to OEM either a management platform like Hyperic, or a reporting/analytics platform like JasperSoft. Hyperic OEMed JasperSoft with its Operations IQ product. Spring now has full reign for both of these very lucrative offerings to their customers.

All in all, I am feeling pretty proud today of my fellow Hypericans: Javier, Morgan, Sachs, Doug, Charles, Trav, Marty, Chip and all the rest of the A-list team back there at 609 Mission Street. I may be far away, and no longer an employee, but I am feeling pumped about this new development and am excited to see how it unfolds. Who would’ve thought that the whole old gang of Covalent v1 would be back together again today?

Note: While I am a former employee of Hyperic, and they are a client, this note is entirely my own thoughts and not that of Hyperic. I, of course, was not part of the conversations of putting this deal together – nor do I know if I fully represented the opportunities here.

Designing Your Market Presence for Twitter

April 6th, 2009 Comments off
Twitter

Twitter

The internet is all a-flutter over Twitter these days, and the consensus is that its here to stay. The tool helps companies promote thought leadership, improve reputation and monitor brand. That is, of course, if you know how to use it. For most marketers, Twitter seems too amorphous of a tool to really harness. Truth is though, its really not that hard. Here are the basics to getting your company Twitter-fied:

  1. Sign up as your company. Create your twitter name as the same name your company has for a URL. This is how people will search for you and also secures your Twitter presence as the official company profile. While a lot of individual users, like the CEO, CMO, CTO or whatever other personalities you may harbor at your company may also have accounts and presence on Twitter, you should not make the mistake of having any of them as your official voice. Individual accounts will no doubt get cluttered with messages to and from people in that individuals life – from old college friends with inappropriate memories, creepy cousins, and the random troll from your last job. While entertaining, conversations will digress from your business. Keep your official presence all about your company.
  2. Maintain a constant presence. Twitter can seem intimidating to some companies because of the time it takes to maintain. In today’s world, everyone is strapped – how can a marketer justify dedicating headcount to monitor something like Twitter? In today’s internet landscape, it may be better to ask how can you not justify it? Twitter offers companies an invaluable tool to help navigate leads and improve customer service.  Prospects that may not have reached out to you yet ask their peers before contacting sales – you have the opportunity to find them and convert to a lead. Leads evaluating your product or customers considering renewing again may indicate to their friends and colleagues about problems they are having, and you have the opportunity to provide assistance proactively to help the sale or save the account. In short, Twitter is a sales tool. So, As a generic company account, remember that this account can be monitored and updated by a team of company spokespeople from marketing to sales to tech support.  Spreading the work around may help to keep up with constant activity. Another common fear is how much time to spend trolling on Twitter. You can mitigate this too to a manageable level. In fact, rarely is it important for you to respond in minutes. While impressive, nettiquette is closer to the daily level, so build it into your daily routine for when you check out news or go through your email inbox. To make doubly sure important tweets aren’t missed, sign up for TweetBeep, and get alerted by email whenever a specific word or phrase is tweeted, such as your company name or product name. Send the alert to an internal email alias so more people are kept abreast of the types of tweets that are happening and can respond. And don’t hesitate to follow your competitors terms as well – any problems with people trying to use their products could be an opportunity for you to reach out to them to offer an alternative, as well as help keep abreast of current concerns in the market at large.
  3. Make your Twitter page professional. Your twitter page isn’t part of your core website, but you should think of it as an extension of it. Spend the time to create a web design that is consistent with your website. Add your website URL, and company description to the page and be sure to include ‘contact us’ information. While the only clickable text is the standard Twitter fields, don’t hesitate to use the background image for additional information. Check out how software provider, Hyperic, uses the custom image background to enhance their Twitter page with sales and product information.(Editors note: Hyperic is a former employer of mine, and a current client.)

    Hyperic's Twitter page

    Hyperic's Twitter page

  4. Follow the leader. Twitter is a useful tool to proactively find prospects and problems, but to use it as a thought leadership and news tool you need to have a following to be speaking to. Follow the people you want to follow you. Go through your main contacts and see who they are following – you may find media contacts, other related contacts in their company, or thought leaders on your industry out there. On a weekly basis, check out all your new followers and see if they have any more followers you want. Twitter notifies the account owners whose new and following them, which will bring to their attention that your Twitter presence is out there. Also, a growing trend is to reach out and thank new followers for selecting to follow you. Use the @ reply to make sure they get the message, and personalize it for their interest. All your posts are public, so a generic greeting is pretty transparent. Another alternative is to direct message (DM) the new follower in private, but then you miss on promoting the new relationship and publically welcoming the new follower. And don’t forget, they may choose to re-tweet (RT) your message and comment on it. So in general, its best to treat all twitter messages as public.
  5. Monitor your popularity. Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t allow you to see your number of page views or tweet-views. Followers is a good measure of how many people are interested in your company, but link views is a really good measure for how useful your twittering actually is. Use links in your tweets to other content to measure how often your tweets are clicked. TweetBurner is a free service that helps you shorten your URLs, freeing up precious character space, and measure how many times your links were clicked. Design your tweets to reference other content – from blog posts, to product documentation, use it to generate interest in larger content as well as measure how interesting your content actually is. Set goals to increase the average click-throughs over time, and keep an eye on what content works, and build followers to up this number.
  6. Advertise your Twitter feed. Make sure people visiting you the ‘old-fashioned’ way know about your Twitter feed. This works well to show that you are a modern company, and that you are easily accessible. The name of the game is to get followers, so you can build a regular dialogue with a community at large. Advertise your corporate Twitter page on your website, email signatures, and company newsletters. Make it easy and obvious for people to check out your feed, and subscribe.

In short, by making Twitter a company-wide initiative, you can easily harness all the benefits of reputation management, prospect building, lead conversion, customer support and competitive intelligence with minimal effort. It does take some diligence, but the benefits can be outstanding. Try it, you’ll see.

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Stacey Schneider is a marketing consultant who specializes in helping companies transform their internet presence into a sales tool that helps lower cost of sales and improve pipeline performance. Schneider has over 12 years of advising companies of all sizes on sales and marketing automation, public relations and website development. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sparkystacey.

Getting Started…

February 3rd, 2009 Comments off

Hello world! I am just getting my site and my blog started today, so pardon the construction…

As a way of introduction, my name is Stacey Schneider, and I have about 15 years of experience working for some of the smallest and largest, successful companies in the world. I have worked as a business consultant, a services delivery manager, an engineering manager, a product manager, a product marketing director, and finally a marketing director. That seems like a lot of jobs, but really they all shared a common theme: to bring the science of technology to market. From companies like Siebel, Nokia, Fujitsu-Siemens, Southwire, Bell South, Embratel, TechData, Hyperic, Unisys, and more – I have worked to help bridge the gap between business and technology, usually using technology to do it.

So why start a consulting business now? The answer is – I like my work. While I have had tremendous experiences working for long periods of time at both Siebel and Hyperic, I really enjoyed my consulting days. I am a student of my own work. I am a problem solver. I love the spark that you get by working with different people. So, with my lessons learned in hand – I intend to work with several teams on several different problems over the course of the years. Some may be long term, but I shall not have a singular focus. And that will present me, I believe, with many more skills in my back pocket to share with all my future clients and co-workers.

Enough about me though! I promise from here on out – you’ll get more marketing thoughts than self-evaluation.

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