Feeds

When 'enterprise' is self-defeating

Solutions for end-users - who would have thought?

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Companies like to describe their products as being suitable for enterprise-wide deployment. However, this is by no means always a good thing. Indeed, an "enterprise" product, by its very nature, may be precisely the reverse of that.

Consider the nature of "enterprise" products. They have the performance to supports thousands, if not tens of thousands, of users, they can scale dramatically, can be distributed across the organisation, have failover and load balancing, and fault tolerance and disaster recovery facilities built-in. There is no question these are good things.

However, consider how enterprise products got to be that way: they are highly engineered and were typically designed to be enterprise-class products in the first place. As a result they tend to suffer from creeping elegance (that is, they have more and more features added to them, a large number of which are rarely, if ever, used), they are complex and cost a lot of money.

Now, we need to classify different types of enterprise products. There are some products that are designed for a limited class of users. For example, an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) caters to a specific subset of the user community. Similarly, ETL (extract, transform and load) tools are primarily designed for use within the IT department plus a few specialised business analysts. However, there are also enterprise products that are literally aimed at the entire enterprise: they might reasonably be used by very large numbers of people, in one way or another, throughout the organisation. For example, business intelligence has always held out the dream (if not the reality) of this possibility and the same applies to corporate performance management and to enterprise content management, among other areas. Arguably, it is these technologies, which are designed to reach out to the whole enterprise, literally, that are the true "enterprise" products.

The truth is that many (though not all) of these enterprise technologies have failed and are failing to actually reach those parts of the enterprise that they claim to address. This is partly because these solutions are too complex, it is partly because the products in question have not really been designed for end-users (such facilities often being bolt-ons rather than inherent design features), and it is partly because the products (being enterprise-class) are too expensive to deploy as widely as they might be.

Why do I mention all of this? Because I have recently come across counter-trend products in a number of areas. For example, in the content management space, Xythos (which has just announced a UK partnership with InTechnology, with which it will be addressing especially the academic and research space) talks about basic (rather than enterprise) content management, precisely because it is basic content management that most people need and not all the bells and whistles that get put into products for the power users. Both Microsoft and Oracle could be placed in a similar category when it comes to content management.

In the Business Intelligence space, the problem is somewhat different, but it is clear that much BI software is still shelfware. One company that is addressing this issue is Inflection Point, which has designed a BI tool specifically from the point of end-user in the first instance rather than after the event. I will be discussing this further in a subsequent article.

What is encouraging about these developments is that we may be seeing the emergence of solutions that are actually designed for end-users in the first instance rather than as an afterthought, and that’s what you really need if applications are truly to be used "enterprise-wide".

Copyright © 2006, IT-Analysis.com

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.