The four application pillars of enterprise 3.0

The four application pillars of enterprise 3.0

Summary: JP Rangaswami, CIO at investment bank DrKW, expects today's core enterprise applications will be superceded by four new types of application.

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TOPICS: Apps
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If the move to services architectures is going to shake up and redefine enterprise applications, what will be the end result? rangaswami.jpgJP Rangaswami, CIO at top global investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DrKW) gave his prediction last week at a private gathering in London of some of the world's leading enterprise software practitioners. The man who ZDNet's Dan Farber has called "one of the smartest people in IT" is way ahead of most of his peers in embracing current changes in enterprise IT, most notably the use of open source software, as I've discussed in another write-up of his talk posted on my Loosely Coupled blog.

But what I found most interesting in the context of what I've been writing about here on ZDNet were his views on the future shape of enterprise applications. Whether you call them Web 3.0, enterprise 3.0 or something else, there are some powerful forces in motion that are going to fundamentally shake up our current view of enterprise applications, replacing the current demarcations — ERP, CRM, BI, collaboration, and so on — with something new. He identified four core families of requirements that he believes will be left when all this shakes out, and which are already shaping DrKW's internal architecture:

Publishing: Any application that generates data will act as though it's a content publisher, using RSS or similar to publish its data. The significance of this is that it reduces all of these applications to the level of raw feed generators: "You can't differentiate, it's just content." This puts these applications down in the commodity API services layer I described in my posting last week on What to expect from Web 3.0, which I suspect is going to be bad news for any vendors that rely on this layer for software licence revenues.

Discovery: This is the application that gives everyone a "Google experience" — a single, homogenous database where everything is stored and where everything is discoverable. Rangaswami noted that how you implement security can easily get in the way of this objective. Make it too much of a fortress and the risk is "we put the data in that worst nightmare of walled gardens: ours." Therefore, the starting principle has to be that the information database is open access, with access and authorization controls added only as necessary for specific items or classes of information.

Fulfilment: This is the application that makes things happen, most notably for customers. Identity management plays a crucial role here, controlling the catalog choices that are shown to each user and their rights to approve shipment.

Conversation: All the channels of collaboration between people, either inside the organization or beyond its walls.

"These four application families are the vision that we want to get to," he concluded. How long will it take to get there? "I'm calling it four years. It could be ten."

His talk was the keynote of an invitation-only summit held at DrKW's London offices last week, which has begun work to draw up a practitioner-driven manifesto of key principles for enterprise application development. The group will be publishing a series of documents over the coming months, setting out definitions, common fallacies, design principles and a manifesto for systems architects setting out to build the next generation of enterprise IT. 

What do you think? Do you agree with Rangaswami's four pillars? Are they the right pillars, and the right number? How do you think enterprise IT will have changed in four or ten years' time?

Topic: Apps

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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3 comments
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  • Theory vs. Practice;Action vs. Knowlwdge

    While the four pillars are yet another permutation of the SOA, I have to emphasize that this simplistic concept oriented "pontification" is dangerous and thats what gives IT its bad name. If we want to deliver rather than promise the next "nirvana" then I would stress that real life legacies are not simple to wrap in such neat little packages. If I were the King it could be debated but sans that and zero probability of that happening, we the IT executives (I think its an oxymoron)have to cope with the dysfunctional nature of thr extended organization. Now that is easily criticized yet its the truth and reality-most families are too yet they survive and keep on trying. So in the end the rosy scenario should be tempered with proximity of thorns.
    ajitorsarah@...
  • Theory vs. Practice;Action vs. Knowlwdge

    While the four pillars are yet another permutation of the SOA, I have to emphasize that this simplistic concept oriented "pontification" is dangerous and thats what gives IT its bad name. If we want to deliver rather than promise the next "nirvana" then I would stress that real life legacies are not simple to wrap in such neat little packages. If I were the King it could be debated but sans that and zero probability of that happening, we the IT executives (I think its an oxymoron)have to cope with the dysfunctional nature of thr extended organization. Now that is easily criticized yet its the truth and reality-most families are too yet they survive and keep on trying. So in the end the rosy scenario should be tempered with proximity of thorns.
    ajitorsarah@...
  • banking CIOs have more leeway

    I like his framework - but it seems around the edges of core enterprise apps - in his case trading and other transaction intensive areas. But may be they are looking at BPO in many of thsoe areas and have more bandwidth for the newer, fun stuff?

    But ...Tech is considered lifeblood so many banks spend 10% of revs when the average mfg CIO gets 2% may be b) Banking is still pretty custom built apps, and you do not have to wait for SAP or Oracle - backbone apps in many other verticals to contemplate their navel for years before they release new stuff. So I would be careful before I generalized to the entire enterprise space.
    vmirchan