Monday, June 25, 2007

Apps Strategy: Applistructures Key to Custom Development Come Back

While organizations expect their packaged applications to deliver 90% of the functional requirements, most are lucky to achieve 65%. The gap has traditionally been filled by custom development. Customizations often meant expensive upgrade processes, integration challenges, and testing complexity. However, robust and maturing applistructure platforms (i.e. middleware, SaaS, etc.) and a software vendor's inability to cover the functionality requirements of every micro vertical drive many clients to re-consider custom development for last-mile solutions.

The 5 main middleware players, BEA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP each ofter a comprehensive platform. NetSuite and offer a SaaS platform. As each of these applistructures provide a standards based approach for tools and technology such as application servers, BI tools, process mapping, service repositories, BPEL, master data, and other related technologies, vendors, system integrators, and clients now have robust tools to deliver on their personalized last-mile solutions.

Major SI's such as Accenture, BearingPoint, CapGemini, Deloitte, IBM, Infosys, and Wipro have the capability to build on these platforms as well as clients themselves because extension on an applistructure allows for upgradeability, integration support, and automated testing. As you evaluate the options, the strength of the applistructure becomes the critical design point. Because clients and partners will extend their solutions, packaged application vendors who do not deliver rich and robust applistructure tools will not succeed in the next wave of innovation. Key questions to ask include:
  1. How easy it to build on one applistructure versus another?
  2. Which applistructure has richer tools?
  3. Which applistructure has a more robust ecosystem?
  4. How many applistructures can my organizations realistically support?
  5. How much investment is being made into the applistructure toolset?

We've basically come full circle in the cycle from custom apps to packaged apps and now back all in a 20 year period. Here's to living through another technology adoption cycle!

(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

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Surface Computing

I guess I won't be selling my Microsoft stock this year. I was having some doubts, but then today I stumbled across this article on Microsoft Surface on the Popular Mechanics website.

Finally, a computer that my pre-kindergarten kids can use to print their own digital photos, instead of asking me!

Microsoft Surface computers will be available in limited distribution to specific corporate partners at the end of 2007.

David Pogue of the New York Times points out that there's not that much new about Microsoft's Surface computer. However, what Microsoft is historically good at is marketing, refining ideas and getting market share.

Since the business and home market for Surface computing is practically zero today, its likely to grow.

Maybe in the future this could even be incorporated into game systems and we could PlayAnywhere.

I know I'd buy one for my kids...(or myself!)