Jon Udell Says “Integration Is Hard”

… and he’s just talking about connecting Outlook 2007 and Google Calendar!

Bottom-line: support for standards is necessary but not sufficient. Even when products comply with standards like iCal, people struggle mightily to use those products interoperably. It’s the conceptual barriers that get in their way. It’s really hard to figure out how a concept expressed in one system maps to the same (or a similar) concept in another system. To make that easier, technology providers will have to agree on more than just protocols and file formats. We’ll also have to work together to minimize conceptual clutter and normalize core concepts.

Good to keep this in mind as we move forward with integrating wildly different social change tools.


One of the nicest things about Seattle is that rare, sparkly-sunny winter’s day. Molly and I took a walk down to Carkeek Park, and discovered some great frost hidden in a shady ravine.

Frosty leaves

links for 2007-01-19

Reading the tea leaves

Yesterday’s big nonprofit technology news was Convio’s acquisition of GetActive, which combines two of the largest players in the big-client integrated CMS/CRM market.

The players aren’t really talking about the underlying motivations behind the deal, so it’s pretty easy to read whatever you want into the tea leaves. That said…

As I’ve written before, I believe that the tide is running against big, monolithic applications that do everything for everyone, and that in the future we’ll see a larger ecosystem of lighter-weight applications that do a couple of things well, are easy to extend and, most importantly, assume they need to talk to each other.

For this reason, among others, I’ve signed the Integration Proclamation, which calls on our entire sector to engage in the conversations needed to drive that future ahead.

There’s also some good discussion over on Michael Silberman’s blog. If you’re interested in seeing more tools that play well together, rather than fewer, larger “one size fits most” vendors, then I encourage you to sign it as well.