Tag Archives: word

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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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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