7.29.2008

Attention U.S. developers: You're too caught up in complexity

According to Alex Neihaus, VP of marketing for Active Endpoints, "US companies have become too caught up in the complexity of their current systems." Why? Because you haven't download a trial version of his company's business process management software — and companies in Asia have.

As Alex wrote to me, "Since we shifted in March from focusing on OEM sales of our visual orchestration system to marketing it directly to end users, downloads have been dominated by emerging economies like India and China. Informal conversations with my colleagues with similar models confirm the pattern is industry-wide. We’re not trying to be jingoistic. Instead, we think, as we said in the message below, that this should be a wake-up call to the US development community that change is risky, but stasis is fatal."

He sent me an "open letter" that Active Endpoints is sending to 30,000 U.S. developers. Here it is, unaltered. What do you think of his admittedly self-interested message?

Dear Developer,

We are emailing you because we are concerned about you. We’ve learned something about the state of middleware technology in the US, its impact on outsourcing and US business competitiveness that we felt strongly we should share with you.

Since early March, we have been offering downloads of our new ActiveVOS visual orchestration system at www.activevos.com. With ActiveVOS, you can automate, control, adapt and manage your services-based applications in ways you never dreamed were possible. And, you do it in a 100%-standards based environment, at breakthrough pricing.

As you might imagine, we watch our download statistics very carefully… sometime hourly. We expected to have downloads from all over the world, but the shocking truth is that a majority of our downloads are coming from outside the US, especially from India and China. A conversation I had with a marketing director at a major open-source ESB provider confirmed that company is seeing fully half of its downloads from India and China.

At first, we couldn’t believe it. And we were surprised, because the US market for app dev products is several orders of magnitude larger than in these developing markets. Then, we started asking ourselves questions like “Why is this so pronounced a trend?” And “what do these developers, business analysts and companies know that US enterprises don’t?”

The answers are clear. US companies have become too caught up in the complexity of their current systems... too content to be dictated to by proprietary middleware vendors... too comfortable with their status quo. Meanwhile, companies without legacy issues – and without the temptation to use those issues as inertia – adopt the most effective and modern middleware technologies rapidly.

Is it any wonder, then, that US developers are increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of change, the threat to their jobs, and the technical and political paralysis created by so-called enterprise architectures?

Clearly, we hope you will be the agent for change in your company and download ActiveVOS at www.activevos.com. We hope you will take advantage of our education center to update your skills. We hope you will join the hundreds of developers who have watched the replay of webinar we hosted called “BPEL for Java Developers.” (You can find it on our blog at www.vosibilities.com or in our podcast feed in the iTunes Store; search for “VOSibilities.”)

But mostly, we hope you will carefully consider the fact that the status quo in application development in your company is a very dangerous proposition. No matter how daunting change may seem, it’s better than the alternative: a world in which your company and you personally have been eclipsed by external competitors.

Thank you.

Alex Neihaus
VP Marketing
Active Endpoints, Inc.
editor@activevos.com

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Co-founder and editorial director of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. Founder of SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference, AnDevCon: The Android Developer Conference, and Big Data TechCon. Also president and principal analyst of Camden Associates, an IT consulting and analyst firm.