Apps Strategy: Responding to Tectonic Shifts In the Software Industry

As the software industry matures and transforms itself, four key forces converge to shape a new future for the software industry. Despite these tectonic shifts impacting clients, enterprise software strategies should focus on the business users and the processes they support.

The 4 tectonic shifts impacting clients include:

  1. The post Y2K upgrade cycle harkens the technology move to SOA - The shift to SOA harkens to the shift to web based computing a decade ago. We know its coming. We have some idea what to expect but no one knows for sure. As enterprises upgrade from existing legacy systems to software "architected for SOA", we enter a new technology spending cycle.

    The result: CIO's, Vendor Sourcing Professionals, Business Users, and IT professionals have one shot to get this right or wait it out another 7 to 10 years for the next major upgrade cycle. The applistructure you choose will be one you live with, especially as vendors create lock-in onto their platforms at the same time they push "open standards". Users should negotiate their software contracts with care taking into account the impact of SOA and middleware.

  2. SaaS moves buying decisions from IT to the business user - By changing the rules of the game, now a VP or GM can go out and buy 100 licenses without going to the board for capital budgets or talking to IT about support and dependencies. Imagine that... operational expense and not capital expense and potentially no IT integration. (We'd still caution that you talk about integration with the IT guys).

    The result: Business users gain control of software buying decisions for edge applications like CRM, performance management, talent management, recruiting, incentive comp, corporate email and other productivity tools. IT leaders may be stuck with integrating a plethora of SaaS applications back to the on-premise hub. Architects should consider an overall ESB and meta data management strategy!

  3. Web 2.0 apps transform Enterprise 2.0 apps - As the innovations in Web 2.0 such as rich internet applications, AJAX, and mash-ups make their way into enterprise software, how we collaborate, integrate, and view business processes will be transformed in the enterprise.

    The result:
    What's we use at home and what we use at work will collide. Users should be careful as to how they blend work and their private lives. However, all users will benefit from the innovations of mash-ups and other Web 2.0 innovations as they become pervasive in the corporate environment. CIO's will have to establish extra vigilant but security policies to address new flexibility and interoperability requirements from users. Just like IM 5 to 7 years ago, we now have more external integrations that increase security risks.
  4. The future rests with solutions centric ecosystems- A maturing software industry increases specialization in core areas and becomes more reliant on dominant applistructure platforms as ecosystem hubs for applications, business processes, and related web services.

    The result: Users have an opportunity to band together in industry consortiums to dictate how IP is created and shared in enterprise software. System integrators and vendors will try to "own" the IP in last mile solutions but will not be able to address all scenaris. Users will take advantage of the improved middleware tools to create a new renaissance of custom applications built on standardized tools. Custom dev will come back with a roar!

As you can see, these shifts create significant impacts and should be factored as long term apps strategies are being developed.

(The personal contents in this blog do not reflect the opinions, ideas, thoughts, points of view, and any other potential attribution of my current, past, or future employers.)
Copyrighted 2007 by R Wang. All rights reserved