The Bourse Identity

Foxconn’s prospectus to issue a public offering to raise money for its nascent foray in to cloud computing is less revealing for what it proposes than where the offering will take place.

Rather than leverage its newfound admiration in the US (or at least, in a couple pf offices in Washington) by accessing the Nasdaq or NYSE, instead Foxconn is opting for a far less prominent bourse: the Shanghai Exchange.

The reasons are obvious: The Shanghai bourse lacks the capital controls and oversight of the world’s dominant financial exchanges. A company, even one as large as Foxconn, can get away with a lot more, since reporting requirements and level of scrutiny are so less rigorous than in New York or Munich or London. Foxconn’s financial picture is opaque: even reporting on its revenues and profits remains an uncertain undertaking. Staying offshore makes that possible.

Finally, Shanghai is a Chinese exchange and Foxconn is a Chinese company. (Yes, I know it’s based in Taiwan. But look where the bulk of its facilities, workers, investment and attention is. And keep in mind that for many Taiwanese, China is still the motherland.) This latest move underscores that fact.

35% Will Outsource to SaaS (or Cloud)

In the next 12 to 18 months, 35% of companies say they will outsource more application hosting to cloud vendors, according to the Wall Street Journal in a recent article by Rachel King.  Bear in mind that Software as a Service (more on SaaS here) is often lumped in the “cloud” category.  We will follow that convention here.

If you are thinking of outsourcing GHS, chemical management and compliance assurance in a supply chain environment, it may be useful to consider this (alphabetical) list of “cloud” players:

  1. Actio Corporation
  2. CA ecoSoftware
  3. Dakota
  4. Enablon
  5. Enviance
  6. Foresite
  7. Hara
  8. i2 / JDA
  9. IHS Global Insight
  10. Intelex
  11. Kinaxis S&OP
  12. PTC Windchill “Business Process Management”
  13. Qumas
  14. SAP EHS (Atrion)
  15. SAS
  16. Siemens PLM
  17. Wercs
  18. And now 3E Company is starting to develop product for the supply network market, emerging from strictly MSDS management

Companies are turning increasingly to IT outsourcing as a means of supplementing and, in some cases, replacing internal hires, says the Journal. Users like how quickly they can get cloud services up and running and how easy these systems are to maintain.

“Outsourcing has a bad name,” says a user quoted in the article, “this is nothing but a platform difference.”

Full story below — just thought readers would appreciate a list of players in the supply chain materials management space. If we forgot any please add yours in the comments section below.

Reference:  WSJ piece —

Dark Cloud

Cloud computing advocates beware: Apple’s cofounder thinks you’re nuts.

Holding forth in Washington last week, Steve (Woz) Wozniak said, ” ‘I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it’s going to be horrendous. … With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away’ through the legalistic terms of service with a cloud provider that computer users must agree to.”

I will admit to not being familiar with all the various cloud IP agreements. But if the Woz is correct, this does suggest a serious wrinkle for those who see the cloud as a panacea.

Avnet: Software Distributor?

Companies stand still at their peril. So pay close attention to today’s announcement by component distributor Avnet about its acquisition of Magirus Group.

Make that component and software distributor Avent.

For Magirus not only has an attractive footprint in Europe and the Middle East, but its product line centers on software and systems for storage, cloud computing, security,  and information life-cycle management.

So in addition to adding more than half-a-billion dollars in revenue to the top line, Avnet extends its linecard into a very hot growth area.

Companies stand still at their peril.

Safe in the Cloud

Data are safer in the cloud.

That’s what tech industry research firm Aberdeen concludes, based on findings from multiple benchmark studies on best practices in content security and security software.

Aberdeen says its analysis shows that users of cloud-based web security had substantially better results than users of on-premise web security implementations when it comes to security, compliance and reliability (and cost, by the way).

Over a 12-month span, cloud-based web security solutions users had 58% fewer malware incidents, 93% fewer audit deficiencies, 45% less security-related downtime, and 45% fewer incidents of data loss or data exposure than did their on-premise web security colleagues.

Extrapolated to the PCB design industry, the report suggests Altium’s move to a cloud-based server environment isn’t as fraught with security hurdles as some have posited.

H-P Bets on the Cloud

Hewlett-Packard designed and built its first computer in 1966. Has it designed and built its last?

Various Wall Street sources are reporting today that the world’s second largest electronics company will spin off its PC unit in order to concentrate on servers and services. If true, it marks the end to an extraordinary era — one that saw H-P race neck-and-neck for years with IBM and Digital Equipment in the mainframe space, then after falling behind Dell in PCs, snatch up Compaq in a move that was generally panned but turned out to be a masterstroke.

Still, over the past several years PCs  became an ever lower-margin business filled with low-cost competitors. Moreover, the emergence of shared-server computing — aka, “the cloud” — posed a threat to those who poured resources into branded laptops and desktops.

It says here this move is H-P’s way of saying that it, too, believes cloud computing is the future, and the money to be made will come from selling the heavy-duty hardware, not billions of “dummy” terminals that are hooked in to it.