Saturday, September 20, 2008

On EPTS and coopetition

Hello from Bedford, MA, to where I have driven earlier today from Stamford (3.5 hours with one stop in the way).
Louis Lovas from Apama is a newcomer in the EPTS meetings (though other Progress/Apama persons participated in all the meetings). He summarizes his impressions in an amusing blog posting called "a truce in the CEP Front", where he finds out surprisingly that his competitors are persons and one can sit and drink wine with them (well - Louis drank beer, if my memory does not mislead me). I think that most of us have gone through this process earlier, when I have proposed that IBM will host the first symposium, I came to marketing and explained them the idea, they did not quite get it; The dialogue on the phone was something like:
- I give a 2 minutes speech explaining the idea of community building event
- The marketing guy says: you mean conference for customers, sure we can do it.
- I answer: there may be also customers, but also others - everybody that belongs to the community.
- The marketing guy says: Ah, now I understand you, you mean conference for IBM business partners.
- I answer: we can also have business partners, but we should also have companies like TIBCO, Oracle, Progress and some others...
- The marketing guy: I don't get it, you want to invite competitors? you must be kidding...
Well - I have been just a guy from a small province (IBM Haifa) and could not convince the almighty marketing to agree to fund this symposium, thus I had to wait a little bit more and find another sponsor (the IBM Academy of Technology eventually funded it)... in the first meeting, most people did not know each other, and there were low expectations about any concrete results.
However, now in the fourth meeting most people in the meeting know each other, and from the amount of work-groups that people suggested, it seems that there is now more confidence in the usefulness of EPTS as a community, and it seems that there will be step-function in the activities.
The co-opetition idea is interesting, the picture above illustrates, of course, co-opetition in the open source (the famous penguin), there are many co-opetitions in life, for example in Israel there is a central clearing-house to transfer money between the various competing banks, there are many other examples.
In the "Event Processing" area, we have barely scratched the surface of its potential, and if we'll succeed to help better understand the foundations, establish some standards, advance the awareness to this area, and better understand various ways to gain business value -- we'll all earn from that. I think that the activities done so far has already influence on individual vendors and customers.
Of course, in the daily life, the different vendors will continue to fight on deals and customers as usual - that is the beauty of co-opetition.
BTW - Louis, congratulations for your new role as Apama's representative in the EPTS steering committee, hope that you'll be as contributor to the cooperation side of the co-opetition as your two predecessors - Mark Palmer and John Bates.

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