I write often here about the future of software and the Web; two subjects growing ever more inextricably linked as the Internet evolves and as our expectations and habits evolve along with it. While the Web now offers a level of user interface diversity that's almost beyond comprehension, the edge cases of even our common experiences continue to widen. Some of us have started noticing that our Web experiences have become spread across two well-defined extremes, and not necessarily in a bad way.
Enterprise Web 2.0
Dion Hinchcliffe on leveraging the convergence of IT and the next generation of the Web.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an expert in information technology, business strategy, and next-generation enterprises.
While surely inevitable, investors have taken a recent interest in capitalizing on the social network phenomenon, as represented today by the likes of online social giants MySpace and Facebook. MySpace alone has been absorbing the daily attentions of tens of millions of young people over the last year, and is growing at a truly staggering rate. Facebook actually just launched in January and is already one of the leading social networking sites.
I read with interest the recent CNet interview with SAP CEO Henning Kagermann where he was asked more questions about on-demand software and social software than not. Kagermann isn't overly impressed with the on-demand model and crisply defends what SAP, one of the largest software companies in the world, is doing with their hybrid model. He makes the point that their customers run their core businesses on SAP and would be out of business if their SAP implementation goes down.
One premise of Enterprise Web 2.0 is that Web-based software is beginning to credibly encroach on many solution areas that traditional software previously addressed. According to proponents, this maturing method of online software delivery provides more usability, convenience, and value. The flexibility, mobility, and sheer connectedness of Web software is indeed increasingly hard to ignore. And many of us, consciously or not, are doing more and more of our daily work in the browser, either using applications hosted on the Web, or inside our organizations using Web technology.
An increasing amount of attention is being given to the new Software 2006 Industry Report from the respected Mckinsey and Company (along with the Sandhill group). The report is a high level look at the overall state of the software industry and is chock full of interesting and informative tidbits. You can read it for yourself as they have kindly made it available online in PDF form. Some of information isn't too surprising, namely that we're just now fully recovering from Bubble 1.0 and that software is increasingly moving online. Others are more bold and include...
National Public Radio had a really good story yesterday about Platial and the Google Maps world of mashups. Putting aside the fascinating aspects of this heretofore previously obscure phenomenon being increasingly spotted in mainstream media, the story actually got a lot of the spirit of the mashups world right. As part of this, I've been looking at the various mashup APIs and components, watching how they get used, and also which ones are getting adopted most and why. Some interesting trends have begun to emerge.
Easy software assembly out of pre-existing pieces has been a holy grail of software development for decades. Along these lights, many of us have been tracking the mashup phenomenon and the associated innovation including the bustling mashup ecosystem that has been one of the big stories of the last year so. You can see the results yourself by visiting the terrific MashupFeed directory of current mashups, or just the raw material by looking at all the reusable Web services listed on Programmable Web.
I recently had the pleasure of watching Nick Garr give his take on something he describes as Web-Oriented Architecture or WOA. There are a lot of ways to view Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and this particular lightweight vision of SOA is well worth watching. This is because WOA is more of an emerging best practice from the battle-hardened folks in the field than it is from ivory tower architects or the analyst group notebook, which always lends an idea more credence in my book.
While the concept of IT commandments sounds rigid and inflexible to me, I will admit there are some core truths that should almost never be violated. Fellow ZDNetter Paul Murphy has recently blazed this trail and it's an interesting experiment in seeing what people believe is fundamentallly important in IT if nothing else, and spark useful debates. IT commandments will be part of a ZDNet blog series over the next week or so.
I've been studying the transcript of this week's public conversation between Bill Gates and Tim O'Reilly at MIX 06. I was at the conversation and yet even at the time I couldn't help thinking that O'Reilly and Gates were talking past each other on several key points, particularly the increasing value of data and its potential as biggest source of lock-in and disruption in the future. Looking at transcript now, it seems pretty clear that was the case.