Last week on Research: mobile disruptors and GM’s IT strategy

This week, all eyes have been on mobile, as Twitter filed for its IPO and we launched our series of posts written by the mobile industry’s leaders and innovators. It’s all a perfect opening to our Mobilize conference, which hits San Francisco on October 16-17. Our GigaOM Research analysts are also keeping their eyes on the mobile industry, noting a new batch of disruptors that could impact this country’s major wireless carriers. This week, we’re also featuring research content about the automotive IT industry and new trends in collaborative enterprise software.

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Cloud: What the enterprise can learn from GM’s mega data center
Martin Piszczalski

Analyst Martin Piszczalski latest report presents a case study of GM, who elected to break ranks with typical automotive company IT strategies and build two of its own mega data centers near its Michigan headquarters – an investment of at least $388 million. Because, like many of its automotive and Fortune 100 cohorts, the company had been heavily outsourcing its IT (GM outsourced 90% of its IT needs to vendors like HP, IBM, and Capgemini), the company was able to take “an almost clean-slate opportunity to do something radically new.” As a result, GM’s story is a valuable example for CIOs, data center managers, and vendors. Piszczalski dives into GM’s decision to pursue its own data centers, and provides a background of the company’s IT strategy to date, noting that ” GM now views IT as a strategic competitive advantage.” He analyzes the company’s decision not to pursue the public cloud and takes a look at the decisions made about hardware, software, and physical infrastructure within GM’s mega data center in Warren, MI, which sets the model for GM’s future facilities. Lastly, he closes with takeaways that other Fortune 100 companies and industry leaders can use when overhauling their own IT strategy, and additional steps to consider beyond those that GM is taking.

Mobile: Real disruption is here in mobile. And it’s growing
Colin Gibbs

In his latest weekly post, analyst Colin Gibbs takes an opportunity to rail against the wireless industry. The major US carriers have long exploited their freedom to charge early termination penalties, handset subsidies, and various other contractual fees, relying on the fact that “the massive price of building and operating a mobile network is high enough to stifle almost any new competition.” But this year, a couple new upstarts in the US have launched freemium model plans based on innovative IP-voice and data service models, which rely on a combination of specially modified handsets and some clever routing across 3G, 4G, WiMAX and even CDMA data networks. Gibbs hails these models – already in place across Europe – as a sorely-needed antidote to the existing wireless options in the States. And he hopes they’ll prove to be a valid threat to the current major providers, noting T-Mobile’s move from the subsidized handset model as a promising sign of things to come.

Social: Transforming the enterprise with collaborative ERP
Laura Stuart

In her latest report, analyst Laura Stuart takes a look at collaborative enterprise resource planning (ERP) software – something she identifies as “the original social business software.” Early ERP adopters in the 1980s included large manufacturers, who implemented common databases (powered by the likes of SAP and Oracle) to store financial, manufacturing, engineering and HR data. Collaborative ERP is often referred to as work media or enterprise social networking (a term that is unfairly stigmatized by many executives), but “is based more on the sharing of operational data than the incorporation of social media data,” and is heavily dependent on cloud technologies. Stuart identifies and analyzes the three key technological developments that ERP is dependent upon, and provides an overview of applications for collaborative ERP across multiple industries. She also highlights considerations and strategies for buyers to follow when assessing vendors and platforms, as well as the impact upon end users, before concluding with takeaways and additional items to consider as collaborative ERP continues to evolve.