App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

Summary: Developing apps in private is so last-century. The advent of app stores points to a future when even enterprise apps will be developed and shared in public.

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TOPICS: CXO, Open Source
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In a briefing last week, someone was describing to me a classic, conventional model of IT development, in which developers go off with a toolkit and originate solutions in complete isolation. This is the horrendously resource-intensive way that most enterprise IT takes place today, and it suddenly seems so old-fashioned compared to today's models of app stores, community innovation and pooled development.

In the blinding glare of today's cloud landscape, the cloistered secrecy of sequestered custom development can be seen for the delusion that it always has been. Far from delivering competitive advantage for the enterprises that invest in it, instead it leads projects into remote blind alleys, cut off from the mainstream of shared innovation.

In the era of app stores, cloud communities and open source, why does anyone still believe in the superiority of closed development, unless they're trying to protect outdated business models? Why would I want to pour money and resources into creating my own one-off applications instead of going to an app store and selecting from a huge choice of ready-made apps? What is the point of paying expensive day-rates to laboriously craft a custom version of a common business function from scratch, when there are perfectly adequate implementations already available off-the-shelf?

For a long time, open source has been chipping away at the primacy of private, custom development, but finally it's being laid to rest in the era of public appstores that host thousands of apps all developed to the same, shared cloud platform. Within the next year or two, the notion of going off and developing your own custom enterprise apps for private consumption will seem so quaint and old-fashioned that even those still doing it will be loath to confess it.

I'll be discussing this and other changes in a webinar tomorrow (Wednesday) on 7 Ways the Cloud Changes How You Think About IT [updated 09/12 to link to archive recording], hosted by OpSource, a former client [see disclosure]. Join me to learn about the many radical changes that are under way at an accelerating pace that will shock and surprise.

Topics: CXO, Open Source

Phil Wainewright

About Phil Wainewright

Since 1998, Phil Wainewright has been a thought leader in cloud computing as a blogger, analyst and consultant.

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11 comments
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  • RE: App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

    One word from an enterprise IT manager.

    LOL.
    youngmaester@...
  • some reasons

    how many public / cloud apps comply with FINRA regulations around data protection? provide encryption? are not storing your corporate data in some 3rd world country? Not many clouds even have adequate data backup procedures.<br><br>Yes there are likely some functions can use public services (salesforce, some cloud storage) but to assume all companies will jump into public cloud and forgo protecting their intellectual property is naive. Then again the author is pimping SAAS solutions.
    MobileAdmin
  • RE: App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

    Umm, don't know how to tell you this but they already are with Linux and have been for years.
    slickjim
    • RE: App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

      @Peter Perry
      Last time I looked, most enterprises, if they are using Linux at all, were using it for web and virtualization services, but few were using them to run INTERNAL line-of-bussiness applications.
      VBJackson
  • RE: App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

    Most ludicrous statement that I have seen in a long time. So, businesses that wish to differentiate themselves will simply buy standard software like everyone else? BI is now a packaged solution, with all the answers?

    Unfortunately, we have been through this before. I will accept that some mundane repetitive tasks may have apps available, but when it comes to understanding and "driving" a business, internal know-how is best. The key is to know what needs to be developed and what exists and should be integrated. That is where the skill is that differentiates the best.
    tgueth@...
    • RE: App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

      @tgueth@... More likely, they'll try to keep customizations to a minimum. IT is generally considered more of a cost of doing business than a money maker, and as such businesses will try to keep any sort of in-house development to an "as-needed" basis; if they need to make some customizations, they'll probably make as much in the way of changes as they need to, rather than make it from scratch.
      Third of Five
  • WOW?

    Let's see
    a) We think about the world differently than you do, and judging by your A/P module, a LOT differently than you do.
    b) Our forms let our users enter the data that matters to us faster than yours do, and fixing yours is more work than starting from scratch
    c) Our Part Numbers/insert-your-identifier are formatted differently from yours, so our databases, forms, reports, etc. are much different than yours
    d) Searching through the myriad of variations on xyz takes longer than building it ourselves
    e) With innovation comes differentiation

    and last but not least,
    f) You are what you measure, and we are not about to share our secrets with you, whether you are a vendor (so you can hit us up for a price hike), a customer (so you can beat us down on price), or a competitor. That's why we make preposterous amounts of money and you....well, you don't.
    m0o0o0o0o
  • One Last Thought

    If one-size-with-a-few-variations fit all, then SAP, Oracle, NetSuite et al would all be exactly the same.
    m0o0o0o0o
  • RE: App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

    Yes! Why bother if it is a common business function? However, if the app provides a key advantage for business, then guard the IP and sell the app for as much as you can. Heck, I wouldn't even put it in an app store!
    mschafer555
  • Message has been deleted.

    HR IT Geek
    • RE: App stores expose old-fashioned enterprise IT

      Naturally, I agree with @HR IT Geek

      @tgueth@... wrote "businesses that wish to differentiate themselves will simply buy standard software like everyone else?"

      My response: Well yes, what do you think they have been doing since the advent of packaged software? Nor am I suggesting custom dev will cease, merely that enterprises should use and share as many communal services as they can so that they can free up resource to do the custom dev (or perhaps we should call it service assembly) that really does differentiate the business.

      @m0o0o0o0o wrote "Our Part Numbers/insert-your-identifier are formatted differently from yours, so our databases, forms, reports, etc. are much different than yours"

      My response: Seriously? You mean you HARDCODE your part number format into your application code? I rest my case ...
      philwainewright