Dale Vile

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Dale Vile is CEO and research director at Freeform Dynamics, a business he founded in 2005 to help guide IT pros on which technology to buy. During his time in IT, he has worked for large end user organisations and vendors, and has run both channel programmes and a reseller business.
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Evaluating enterprise application software

A seasoned ERP salesman coaching a junior colleague once said: “The trick, my boy, is to avoid the IT department like the plague for as long as possible, as they’ll just make your life complicated by asking lots of irrelevant geeky questions. Win the hearts and minds of the business people first by convincing them the software …
Dale Vile, 25 Nov 2009
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Your wish list for packaged applications

Mini Poll Following our discussions this week on the importance of evaluating application packages from a technology perspective, we're interested in gathering some more information from you on the things that really matter. So, if you have a couple of minutes, please give us your feedback in the short poll below: READER POLL: …
Dale Vile, 24 Nov 2009
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Looking back at packaged application rigidity and lock-in

Workshop When packaged applications first appeared on the scene a quarter of a century ago, it was normal for them to be very proprietary in nature. Modifications and extensions were generally implemented through toolsets and programming languages that were each specific to the application concerned. Integration between systems was …
Dale Vile, 23 Nov 2009
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The pros and cons of business application packages

Poll Results Whether to build or buy, that is the question? Well, it is for many when it comes to business applications. It's a topic on which we asked for your feedback as part of our latest workshop, and over 100 of you came back with your views on it. So what did we learn? Firstly, the drivers for going down the ’buy’ rather than ‘build’ …
Dale Vile, 20 Nov 2009
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The great ‘build versus buy’ debate

Mini Poll Following our discussions earlier in the week on the pros and cons of packaged applications, the ‘build versus buy’ debate rolls on. Whether it’s ERP, CRM or other solutions for dealing with core business requirements, we’d be interested in gathering a bit more information on where you are today and how this is changing. So, if …
Dale Vile, 18 Nov 2009
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Is there any such thing as ‘The Business’?

Reader Workshop A seasoned CIO of a large multinational once remarked: “All of these vendors keep telling me that IT must be aligned with the needs of ‘the business’, as if I just had one customer. "The reality is that I am constantly refereeing in squabbles over budgets, resources and priorities between the heads of the eight divisions I …
Dale Vile, 17 Nov 2009
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Are packaged applications becoming less relevant?

The imminent death of traditional packaged applications for dealing with ERP, CRM and other core business requirements has been proclaimed in many quarters recently. Whether it’s SOA purists telling us that we’ll all be self-assembling solutions from components, enthusiasts of modern development environments wanting to build …
Dale Vile, 16 Nov 2009

Windows 7 kills two thirds of active Vista initiatives

Tech Panel results We recently ran a Reg Reader survey asking respondents (over 1,100 IT pros) about their thoughts and plans on the topic of desktop modernisation. Along the way, we took the opportunity to figure out where organisations are out there today with their desktop estates. You can download our full report here (no reg req'd). …
Dale Vile, 09 Nov 2009

Time for a change on the desktop?

Reg Reader Studies A combination of the economic downturn and lack of appetite for Vista means that many have deferred desktop upgrade activity over the past year or two. If the stories of economic green shoots and the virtues of Windows 7 are to be believed, however, we are likely to see desktop modernisation coming into focus again as we look …
Dale Vile, 21 Sep 2009
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Vista and Lotus: Knowing when to let go of a brand

Microsoft spent an absolute fortune on the Vista brand. In marketing terms, the Vista campaign was huge by any standards, and was a big success insofar as raising awareness of Microsoft's next-generation Windows offering was concerned. Of course as we all know, things didn't work out too well for Microsoft. The the new features …
Dale Vile, 07 Sep 2009
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x86 Server virtualization still work in progress

Workshop Poll Results While x86 server virtualization is now widely accepted as an important part of IT activity looking forward, the results of our recent workshop poll of Reg readers suggests that it is still early days when it comes to implementation. As with all online polls, the respondents (301 for this one) were ‘self-selecting’, which means …
Dale Vile, 28 Aug 2009

There’s no escaping the cloud

So you think the cloud is not for you? If that's the case, you are not alone. Feedback from The Register's readership has been consistently mixed on the subject of cloud computing. In spite of all the hype, many working at the sharp end in mainstream IT departments remain sceptical. While some dispute the economics and dismiss …
Dale Vile, 25 Aug 2009
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When is an operating system not an operating system?

Reader workshop It used to be the case that the role of the operating system (OS) was pretty well defined as a layer of software responsible for controlling the use of and access to physical machine assets such as CPU, memory, disk, network, and so on. As the industry has evolved, however, so too has the role of the OS. Today, for example, when …
Dale Vile, 13 Aug 2009
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Counting the cost of virtualization

Reader Workshop The benefits of virtualization, particularly in relation to x86 server consolidation, are pretty well recognised. The significant reduction in hardware requirements and operational overheads that many have achieved with their initial deployments will in many cases have easily justified the cost of the virtualization technology …
Dale Vile, 10 Aug 2009

Will cloud put traditional hosters out of business?

It sometimes seems as if the whole world has gone cloud crazy - well at least most of the vendors, pundits and many in the media. If we listen to the evangelists, the days of the enterprise data centre are numbered and players like Google, Amazon and Microsoft will inherit the earth. Even David Cameron, the illustrious leader of …
Dale Vile, 04 Aug 2009

Virtualization rocks - but who cares beyond consolidation?

Reader Workshop The feedback on virtualization experiences from those participating so far in our latest online workshop has been generally very positive. A main focus of the comments has been on server consolidation and the cost savings that come with it, and some of the results achieved seem pretty impressive: We're running about 15 VMs per …
Dale Vile, 31 Jul 2009

Virtualization payback, now and in the future

Reader Workshop Most people arguably get the point of virtualisation in terms of server consolidation, and the potential reduction in costs and overheads associated with that. Even though there are some important practicalities to be considered, as highlighted by readers in the first discussion, the game is reasonably well understood, and many …
Dale Vile, 29 Jul 2009
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Is server virtualization delivering for you yet?

Reader Workshop In one of our recent Tech Panel surveys, conducted towards the end of 2008, we asked respondents to call out what they felt were the most positive trends in the IT industry during the previous 12 months. In answer to this totally unprompted question, the word ‘Virtualization’ came up more than four times as often as any other …
Dale Vile, 27 Jul 2009

Who's afraid of the SOA police?

Comment We heard a lot of talk a few months ago about about the death of service oriented architecture (SOA). This was mainly by the kind of pundits who had over-hyped it in the first place. Since then, we have seen various rebuttals to the claims that were made, but a degree of uncertainty about the status and role of SOA persists. So …
Dale Vile, 03 Jun 2009

Getting real about Linux on the desktop

Reg Tech Panel Few topics in the IT industry are more contentious than the prospect of putting Linux on the corporate desktop. Opinions range from the religious view at one end, promoting a fundamentalist belief in open source as the saviour of mankind, to the reaction of corporate conservatives at the other, dismissing Linux as irrelevant to …
Dale Vile, 27 May 2009
For Sale sign detail

Which desktop Linux distribution?

Reader Poll One of the most common objections to desktop Linux is fragmentation. With so many distributions, which one do you choose for serious deployment in a business environment? Given the amount of work involved in any desktop OS switch in terms requirements analysis, application selection, compatibility testing, integration with …
Dale Vile, 01 Apr 2009

Reg Reader poll on notebook quality: results are in

Our recent poll of Reg readers on their perceptions of some of the most prominent brands in the notebook PC space provided some interesting food for thought for those looking to make procurement decisions in this area. While it is tempting to focus on specs and prices, it was clear from results that there is much more to it than …
Dale Vile, 26 Feb 2009

Users: The weakest link in laptop security

Reg Tech Panel If you ask the average business person who is responsible for the security of data held in computer systems, the chances are they will point to the IT department. After all, it's all about passwords, keys, firewalls, locks on computer room doors and other systems-related perceptions they have picked up without ever really having …
Dale Vile, 09 Feb 2009

Don’t let Microsoft timescales dictate your Windows migration

There is a lot of talk at the moment about desktop migration schedules. With the majority of enterprises still managing XP estates, the big question is whether to make a short term move to Vista, hang on and wait for Windows 7, or dig in and not think about it until you really have to. A minority - typically represented by small …
Dale Vile, 03 Feb 2009
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How do notebook PC brands stack up?

Reg Tech Panel Notebook PCs have now been an integral part of the business IT mix for long enough to be a routine procurement item. As the new needs arise and the relentless equipment refresh cycle spirals on, many organisations spend significant amounts of money on this kind of kit, not to mention a lot of man hours supporting and maintaining …
Dale Vile, 03 Feb 2009
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Whose notebook is it anyway?

Workshop For some, the freedom and flexibility of a laptop PC is essential to getting the job done. For others, having the latest piece of mobile kit is perhaps more of a luxury, or even, dare we suggest, just a status symbol. Either way, there is no disputing the shift in emphasis from desktop to portable machines in a business context …
Dale Vile, 20 Jan 2009
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How do you find stuff on your phone?

Reader Poll With our phones being used to store and access more and more things, finding the stuff we want quickly can become a challenge. And we're not just talking about expensive high end devices such as iPhones here. It is almost impossible now to buy a device that doesn't have some kind of internet access and media capability. Contacts …
Dale Vile, 13 Jan 2009
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Reg readers say ‘don’t panic’ about the economy

Reg Tech Panel Few would now dispute the reality of the global ‘credit crunch’ and the economic downturn this has triggered, which has already hit in most major economies, and according to many pundits is set to continue through 2009 and beyond. But what do Reg Readers make of it all? This is a question we investigated during our recent ‘ …
Dale Vile, 23 Dec 2008

Apple more closed than Microsoft

Reg Tech Panel Bashing Microsoft for being closed and proprietary has been a popular pastime in the media and the IT industry for many years, and there is no doubt that much of this has been well deserved. After having its wings clipped on several occasions by regulators, however, the Microsoft of today, while not totally reformed, is a lot …
Dale Vile, 04 Dec 2008
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Server virtualization ain't all that...

Mini Poll If you listen to a lot of the vendors, server virtualisation is now pretty mainstream, and the impression you get is that it’s just a case of getting on with it - if you haven’t done so already. But how realistic is this? This is unlikely that the technology is that mature when you consider that less than 10 per cent of the …
Dale Vile, 21 Nov 2008
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Collaboration: A dirty word, still, for some

Mini Poll Let's get personal here. Do you like collaborating with work colleagues? Do you like giving up your hard won knowledge for the greater good? Some people do. Some people don't. The theory that underpins social software driven collaboration is that power accrues most to those who give away the most. They gain a reputation, they …
Dale Vile, 21 Nov 2008
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Collaboration: dream or nightmare?

Wave after wave of collaboration software keep crashing on our organisational shores. but with the latest wave of social networking software, should we run for higher ground? Many people like to collaborate: they enjoy the process and their organisation might benefit from the results. But, historically, this collaboration has …
Dale Vile, 19 Nov 2008
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Building 21st century applications

Reg Tech Panel Delivering IT services has always been about striking a balance between what needs to be built from scratch and what can be bought off the shelf. While we know there’s still plenty of custom software development going on (take that, packaged application vendors), we also know that the majority of projects involve integrating …
Dale Vile, 12 Nov 2008
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The Platform and Operations Monster Survey

Reg Tech Panel It's possibly the biggest, beastliest survey we've ever put together - now we just need you to get stuck into it, and give us the full platforms and operations lowdown. By way of a shameless bribe, we've got some splendid Reg goodie bags to give away to the dauntless filler-inners. What do we want to know? Well, we know …
Dale Vile, 07 Nov 2008
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The great platform and operational excellence survey

Reg Tech Panel There's a lot of stuff running on servers that underpin the majority of your organizations applications and end user computing. From operating systems, web servers, through BI and analytics systems, to transaction engines, workflow engines and other forms of middleware – not to mention the development environments and management …
Dale Vile, 05 Nov 2008
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How should software developers be paid?

Reg Reader Workshop The success of any software development organisation depends on balancing a whole range of factors from the skill sets through tool sets to the way in which everything is managed. Over the past few weeks, you had your say on a lot of this stuff in the reader workshop we've been running. One of the sentiments that has emerged is …
Dale Vile, 16 Oct 2008
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Reg readers: Distributed software development is hard

Poll results The Reg reader poll run earlier this week as part of our agile development workshop produced a set of results that do not paint a particularly inspiring picture. When asked how distributed software development was managed within organisations, almost half told us things were not that great. About a third gave feedback indicating …
Dale Vile, 03 Oct 2008
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Agile development workshop: Lessons learned

Reg Reader Workshop Reader research conducted via the Reg Technology Panel over the last few years has consistently indicated the importance of application development to organisations large and small. Contrary to some of the things we hear, the need for software design, build and maintenance capability has not been killed by packaged applications …
Dale Vile, 26 Sep 2008
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So what is the perfect working environment for developers?

Reg Reader Workshop The latest Reg Reader Workshop on Agile Development has got off to a flying start with some lively discussion of whether today’s developers are more creative than their counterparts of 20 years ago. Quite a few angles and viewpoints have emerged, but there appears to be a feeling amongst the old timers in particular that …
Dale Vile, 24 Sep 2008
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Enterprise class mobility

It used to be pretty simple. If you were a large organisation with a hard-core mobile email requirement, the only serious option from a security, robustness, manageability, usability and ease of deployment perspective was Blackberry. If you had a need to develop custom applications, then provided you were happy to construct your …
Dale Vile, 22 Aug 2008

Is Mac OS X ready for business?

Reg Tech Panel Welcome to the second of our polls on desktop operating systems. Initial results of the first, where we looked at Vista readiness for business use, can be found over here. In this week's poll we are turning our attention to one of the main contenders to Windows, Mac OS X. So, whether you love it, hate it or simply have some …
Dale Vile, 27 May 2008
Windows Vista teaser

Reg readers split on Vista readiness

Reg Tech Panel The first of our three polls on desktop operating systems is now complete. The poll looked at Reg reader opinions on the readiness of Windows Vista for business use. We’ll be putting together a complete analysis once the other two polls - on desktop Linux and OS X - are done. In the meantime, here are some headline findings from …
Dale Vile, 23 May 2008
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Is Vista ready for Business?

Reg Tech Panel Now that Windows Vista SP1 is here, you’ve got no more excuses to put off that upgrade, right? And if you have strayed in the past onto one of those ‘alternative’ (shiver) platforms such as Linux or OS X, you’ll of course be coming home to grab yourself a slice of that Wow! Maybe, maybe not, but given that Vista has been with us …
Dale Vile, 16 May 2008
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Virtualization: nothing new on the Sun or the mainframe

The Freeform perspective IT industry veterans are often heard complaining that the new fangled stuff youngsters are raving about today is just a rehash or repackaging of old familiar things that have been around for years. As an old timer myself, it's something I can definitely relate to, and one of the areas that evokes this kind of feeling is …
Dale Vile, 16 Apr 2008

Why I downgraded from Vista to XP

Freeform Dynamics I blogged a while back on how a Vista upgrade effectively rendered my old desktop machine useless for business purposes (see Retiring Leonardo from last year). I got a lot of feedback at that time as many people out there were obviously trying to get a handle on the viability of upgrading older kit. While …
Dale Vile, 12 Mar 2008

Just because it’s SaaS doesn’t make it good

Freeform Dynamics The prevailing view among SaaS evangelists seems to be that if it’s hosted and charged for on a price per user per month basis, or better still free, then it must be good. This is a religious standpoint that is no more useful or valid than oft-heard claims that open source software is universally better than …
Dale Vile, 07 Feb 2008
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Are your staff adequately trained?

Reg Tech Panel Freeform Dynamics An interesting finding emerged from a recent Reg reader study. It concerns a cause and effect that is pretty obvious once it is highlighted. Put simply, IT departments operate much more smoothly and efficiently if IT staff are adequately trained. The data, which is derived from over 1,100 responses to an …
Dale Vile, 04 Feb 2008
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Is Oracle really the next Microsoft?

Freeform Dynamics The gobbling-up by Oracle of BEA, the last significantly-sized independent middleware vendor, is another sign of the trend we are seeing towards increasing consolidation in the IT industry. It leads to obvious questions about customer choice, disruption, and protection of investment that will sound very …
Dale Vile, 24 Jan 2008
Recycle sign

A green solution? So what?

With vendors falling over themselves to demonstrate their green credentials, it's interesting to consider how much customers really care when they are looking to buy IT products and services. Freeform Dynamics According to our recent survey on computing and the environment, the answer is "not that much" at the moment. Based …
Dale Vile, 22 Jan 2008
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Should BEA have said yes to Oracle?

Mini Poll Well, the shareholders succumbed in the end, and BEA is now to be part of the mighty machine that is Oracle (see here if you missed the news). This probably didn't come as that much of a surprise to the pundits, and the BEA shareholders must obviously think they're getting a good deal. Beyond the wheeling, dealing and …
Dale Vile, 16 Jan 2008