Tag Archives: Software

Top 5 Definitions of Enterprise: focusing on the Enterprise in “Enterprise 2.0″

It’s a cool sunny day in San Francisco and there’s some bustle at the Moscone center.

Enterprise 2.0 conference.

You can tell it’s an Enterprise conference because unlike the Web 2.0 Conference there’s no free pass even to the show floor. Also the full pass is about $2500 bucks. One way to define Enterprise is:

en⋅ter⋅prise
  /ˈɛntərˌpraɪz/ [en-ter-prahyz]
–noun

5. Stuff I wouldn’t do unless you paid me.
crime scene clean up
This definition puts Enterprise squarely in the camp of crime scene janitorial services. It adds a concept of “professional” to the discussion and establishes the Enterprise as the realm of uncomfortable clothing. I recall reconnecting with Arthur Van Hoff after our adventures in Java and having him laugh at me because I was wearing (in his words) an “IQ Restrictor”, his parlance for a necktie. This definition also puts a dynamic tension between the “Suits” at the Enterprise 2.0 conference and the boho hipsters wearing the Emo Hair.

4. Software that sucks.
PHAILBOAT
This was the definition I evoked in my post “The Human Enterprise.” To be honest, I introduced the idea of “The Human Enterprise as a direct counterproposal to “Enterprise 2.0″. I think the piece that was missing from The Human Enterprise is the extent to which fragmentation plays a role in the essential nature of the Enterprise, which is a theme I’ve been addressing more lately in terms of the effect of sheer size on the Enterprise.

3. A venture requiring industriousness or courage.
Kirk
This definition deserves some attention because it in some ways captures exactly what’s missing from the current debate around the Enterprise. The extent to which courage has been slowly sapped by the ravages of the Great Recession and “job security” is to some extent disheartening. In particular, efforts to rejuvenate the complex IT System Architecture and to mitigate the effects of Entropy and the “Heat Death of IT” have been met with cries of “SOA is Dead“. So here’s a call for the restoration of courage in IT, to boldly go. Set phasers on “frappe”.

2. Dead stuff that used to matter
he's dead jim
Rumors of the death of Enterprise Software have been greatly exaggerated (nice post by David Hornik). The thing people find hard to understand about the longevity of most Enterprise IT is that “dead” software actually lives a long time. In fact dead software (nice post by James Governor) runs 90% of the economy. Another word for “legacy” is IT projects that worked. The word for IT projects that didnt work is “consolidation”. This should be especially resonant for folks at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, since 99% of the projects spawned by “Enterprise 2.0″ will fall into the latter category. We will have won when there’s “Legacy Enterprise 2.0″ apps out there.

1. An organization whose mission requires significant size, growth and longevity
I present this as the number one definition in an attempt to extract the most salient feature of the Enterprise to casual observers. The definitionis designed to be inclusive of Government organizations. I don’t want to open a can of worms (big government vs small government) but arguably some “missions” such as the regulation of interstate commerce and providing for the common defense would require a degree of size, scale and longevity. But what’s more interesting about this definition are the implications.

At this scale, the organization struggles with whether it’s “too big to fail” or “too big to succeed”.

The implications of size include fragmentation of organization into tribes.

The implications of growth include fragmentation of markets into niches.

The implications of longevity include fragmentation of technology into silos.

cracked

These forms of fragmentation is the key challenge of Enterprise, and the points that some E2.0 companies seem to miss. Trying to repackage consumer apps and peddle them to Enterprises misses the unique pain of Enterprise. I’ve spoken and written extensively about the effect of technological and organizational silos, for example in my book SOA Adoption for Dummies. But lately I’ve been thinking about the effects of market fragmentation.

There comes a tipping point in any large commercial sector Enterprise where the market for the flagship product or service becomes saturated. At this juncture, the revenue growth challenge becomes less about attracting and delighting new customers but rather about sucking as much money out of existing customers as possible. The example I will provide for you is the Apple iPod. At the risk of offending fanboys, the iPod market is saturated. I must own a half dozen iPods. Now I go running with my iPod nano 3g. When my 3g failed, I went to the Apple store to buy a new iPod. The way Apple segmented their products, they had created a low end model at $59 dollars (the clip) which had no screen, a “medium” range but portable option (the nano) at $150 and then the “platform” model, the iPod Touch at $199.

The nano costs only 50 bucks less than the Touch, but for users who want to run with an iPod, the Touch is too big. Since they overloaded the nano with features I dont want (accelerometer, video camera, FM radio) they were able to jack up the price.

ipod sucks

This kind of behavior exists in many mature markets, including cell phone plans. The cell phone companies have “package designers” who specifically design packages including SMS and email that rack up a maximum number of overcharges and fees. They design packages that exploit the gap between what users think they will use and what they actually use based on data mining in their demographics. This type of behavior makes the Enterprise essentially the “enemy” of the consumer. Of course we want successful companies to have profits so they can fuel the next generation of investment. I certainly want Apple to succeed and I bought their product even though I found it mildly distateful (it was still the best player for my purpose).

I wrote this post in the hopes that it would stimulate discussion about how people define the “Enterprise” in “Enterprise 2.0″.

My 2 cents,
Miko

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Enterprise Cloud: Why Size Matters

One of the biggest issues in speaking of technology trends is the natural impulse to apply a “one size fits all” approach.

People talk about technology the way they talk about the weather–it’s something that affects everyone the same way. Raining? That’s too bad about the ball game. Nice for your flower garden though.

Unfortunately, when it comes to technology, it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. At the risk of losing 90% of my readers in one go, I’m going to dust off one of the great evil words in the technology industry–Enterprise. As I’ve said before, the word “Enterprise” in the phrase “Enterprise Software” has come to mean software that sucks. In fact, if you Google “Enterprise Software” (with the quotes) the number two link is “Why Enterprise Software Sucks“.

So why dust off this word? I suppose I enjoy collecting antiques.

It’s after all a perfectly good word, and can be repurposed as a pot holder or maybe a tea cozy. What I’d like to have is a word that signifies the following:

An organization that has grown in size to the point where the old tricks don’t work anymore.

Funny Pictures

* Its organization has shattered into factions
* It’s technology has separated into silos
* Its market has fragmented into niches

The big challenge is how does one maintain the advantages of size and scale but still retain agility?

I think it’s possible:
Bull headstand

So how does fragmentation affect the use of cloud?

Well in terms of complex demand, cloud principles are very exciting.

swiss army

If your market is fragmented, you will be happy to offer a platform of reusable services that can be customized by channel partners or even by end users into thousands of possible use cases. Think iPhone App Store. So for complex demand, the cloud is a good thing.

The challenge for the Enterprise and cloud is the concept of “Complex Supply”. Since both the technology in the Enterprise is already siloed, adding cloud just adds another silo. Legacy Mainframe apps, Web Application Servers, Enterprise Applications, you name it, Cloud just adds yet another technology silo to maintain, integrate, secure and govern. Since large organizations are fragmented into smaller organizations, this problem is compounded when one organization creates a dependency on cloud services without a systematic enabling architecture.

Size matters. People try to apply architectural patterns and software solutions as if they were one-size-fits all.

ass is too small

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Software AG signs intent agreement to acquire IDS Scheer

Creating a new one billion Euro superpower, Software AG agrees to acquire IDS Scheer, makers of the popular ARIS suite of Business Process and Business Analysis tools.

IDS Scheer represents 390M Euro of annual revenue. Combined this will result in about 1.1B Euro

After the acquisition of webMethods for $546M in April of 2007, many have speculated on the next steps in the growth aspirations of Software AG CEO Karl-Heinz Streibich–who is currently executing his aggressive 10 year plan to transform the company into a one billion Euro software superpower.

Well, that day has arrived.

Today, Mr. Streibich signed an agreement to acquire IDS Scheer, a global leader in Business Process Management (BPM) through the ARIS product family.

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Introducing: The Human Enterprise

In my new role as Software AG’s Chief Strategist, I would like to define a broad technology trend that I refer to as “The Human Enterprise”.

Taking back the word “Enterprise”

My first order of business in establishing “The Human Enterprise” is to take back the word “Enterprise”.

In the context of software, the word “Enterprise” has now officially come to mean software that sucks. Enterprise Software hit the nadir of suckitude at the launch of “Enjoy SAP” This is like the American Dental Association launching “Enjoy Root Canal”. SAP is certainly an easy target, but lets face it, “Enterprise Software” is generally a poorly integrated mess.

Working with Enterprise Software feels a bit like walking through an industrial landfill or an airport hangar. Nothing is built to human scale.

The word Enterprise used to mean an industrious undertaking requiring effort and/or boldness.


We are not beings of Pure Logic…

This weekend I went to see the movie “Star Trek”. In particular (no spoilers) I thought the performance of Zachary Quinto as the young Spock was particularly enjoyable. In an interview with Young Hollywood, he says “I think Spock experiences deeply run emotions…That is the dilemma and conflict of Spock – he cannot experience these emotions in the normal way.”

It’s a wonderful study in contrasts—Gene Roddenberry’s original view of Star Trek was an internationally heterogeneous (and intergalactically) cast all working together harmoniously in something called the “United Federation of Planets”. This model of a heterogeneous and yet federated future is a recognition that the Enterprise is constituted of a number of cultural groups or tribes, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

We are not beings of Pure Logic. Like Mr. Spock, we are mixed creatures of both passion and logic and as we learn more about Social networks through social software, we increasingly realize that we are tribal and that scalable business systems depend on leadership and federation.

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