If you haven't heard of Grand Central Communications before, there are some interesting things going on there. Now I've always taken a mental shortcut to thinking about Grand Central. I have sort of viewed them as the Salesforce.com of the integration world. Integration as a service – "No software" motto kind of stuff. Grand Central's tag line and new service mark, "Pay for Success, Not Pray for Success" is pretty bold and drives salt directly into the wounds of other integration vendors in my opinion. From Grand Central's website:
"With traditional software deployments, you pay up front and pray for success. But the reality is that over two-thirds of integration projects using traditional software fail. And that's typically after lengthy implementations, and expensive hardware and software investments."
Now just today Grand Central announced receiving the InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award for the second consecutive year. Seems like good marketing to me.
However, there are some things that I'm not quite sure how to read the tea leaves on. For example, the Network Usage section of Grand Central's home page reflects between 1500 and 2000 users. Seems kind of small to me but maybe I'm misreading the data. Additionally, blog reviews I've seen on the web juxtaposed with mixed word of mouth (not systematically gathered info I should note) I've heard in the tech community makes me curious.
On the other hand, what additionally makes the Grand Central story interesting is the fact that Halsey Minor (CEO of Grand Central) made some moves last year regarding a $50 million personal venture fund that would invest with Grand Central partners that help to bring people on the Grand Central network. That is a pretty big fund relative to the size of his prior cash out. Some may say that having investments in Grand Central plus investments in companies strongly tied to Grand Central is a lot of idiosyncratic risk from an investment perspective. Others may applaud Minor's move, saying that it reflects confidence in the Grand Central model. Maybe it reflects that to make the Grand Central model really big a lot more capital needs to be put to work across multiple companies. I will say that Minor is brave. I've not yet solidified my position though on reading the tea leaves on the future of Grand Central Communications or its use in enterprise deployments.