Monday, June 30, 2008

Enterprise Apps and Web 2.0

Something i have been thinking about ...

What is the basic difference between business applications the way they have been around for decades now, and the social computing tools which are developing today?

Not many folks are talking about the possibility of blending the two (the focus seems to be more on the usage of web 2.0 tools ...). Which means that as of today, the two are being seen as two different independant entities. Which need not necessarily be the case as these evolve. Which is because, end of the day, they are both addressing two different aspects of the same thing.

The way i see it, the success of social networking has been essentially because they are built around people. In other words, users are central to social networking. On the other hand, the software, the apps, for example, that you see in facebook, are peripheral. And the relationship between the two is that the peripheral applications are pushing value to the central user.

On the other hand, enterprise software, or business applications are just that ... they are not focussed on the user. As we must have seen, these are built keeping business processes as the central aspect of the enterprise, with people being the participants in the business process (who are essentially performing some pre-defined, well documented work, which might benefit from SOA, or some such other software tool ...). However, as i have written about earlier, there is always some aspect of such straightforward computational processes which is not necessarily straightforward.

And this, to my mind, is the point ... there has to be, over a period of time, the melting together of these two concepts. There has, to a large extent, come the understanding in organizations, that business processes shouldnt be seen as being isolated from people. What this should mean is that sometime soon, there should also be an evolution of software which combines the two? I have written about how SAP is already trying to do this.

Welcome all thoughts about what shape you think this could take?

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