Hub and Spoke

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-04-07 Print this article Print

Its striking that youre not aware of RSS.
Believe me, Im going to Google it the minute were done.
Microsoft has difficulty playing outside their desktop sandbox. Thats why I keep coming back to the relationship between the nodes of this network fabric that youre building. Youre hitting on an interesting point. The big question is: What becomes the hub and what becomes the spoke? One of the models that could emerge is that the hub would become your personal device that you carry on your hip, and the spoke would be any desktop device you get close to—becomes your extension of your hub. The chip inside this [Nokia] phone is in fact a Java card. But these guys are not yet capturing my identity in a meaningful way. They have a lot of identity, but they do not become the identity. It may not actually be that device, even though Nokia is probably one of the most advanced in that arena. But at some point in time, that may be your one and only device, one and only identifier. And potentially it alerts … Some more high-bandwidth-connected device and says, OK, I take over. How does that plug into what youre doing? Because these events propagate to you not when youre next to your desk. These events propagate to you when youre everywhere, and what you need is a device that can help you resolve the event, maybe getting less context or less ability to display the context when youre looking at it on this type of device. But if its a big event, you dont want to go and find a machine, figure out how to install something on a machine, and then…. You want to go to the small machine in the corner of the room, put your phone next to it and say, Let me deal with this thing—sorry, Ive got some emergency, or let me run to any hub around it. Now, are we there? No. Are we going to be there? Yes. Theres a unification of identity across the personal and professional space. You only have a certain amount of time. There is a certain amount of identity in the systems themselves. Systems will talk to one another. Context will be distributed. Yet at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: Who can give me the context? Define context. When an event comes to me, I get an e-mail. Name a company—Whirlpool. Whirlpool wants to buy more software from us. Theyve asked about the following products. They have the following different stuff in their shop. They have a time limit of X time, and here is the estimated budget that we think they have. When you get this e-mail, if I could get around it immediately—Who are the people at Whirlpool that weve met with? What have been the conversations? What have they bought already? Whats their tendency—do they buy quickly or slowly? All these things—where you find them—thats your data. Its the master data and the analytics around master data. Now, do you find that in the technology platform or the application platform? My claim is that the master data management—the brain of the business—is in the applications today. And you cant take that out of the application and serve it from somewhere else because its no longer the truth. Its a version of the truth. Its a snapshot. And its not true anymore. The minute that you take it out, its no longer true. You cant have the person and the brain in two different places. It has to be together. Who has the ability to actually create a true brain for the applications, to have enough gravity to serve master data to the whole organization? What about a is a really interesting question, but its a derivative of its infrastructure. If I have a big infrastructure that allows me to serve these things, do I need Big question. Can give me the fluidity and transparency and context that kind of a business event network can give me? No, they give me just this one aspect—my view of the sales pipeline—nothing else in the business. When I get an event, I have zero information, zero ability to help. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at for more on IM and other collaboration technologies. Be sure to add our messaging and collaboration news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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