Monthly Archives: September 2009

WEB 2.0 and Cloud Computing for the Enterprise

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Today I came across a post by Yoni Barel that I liked very much – The business of cloud computing. Yoni works for ActionBase, and has actually crossed over from the Consumer oriented Internet to the Enterprise side.

Yoni’s assessment of the Enterprise attitude to technology is very relevant in a (virtual) world where the trends are set by attic designs and exploratory stints. Some of these are very cool and attractive, but not always usable and reliable enough for the Enterprise. In this respect, ActionBase walks a fine line, taking the ubiquitous Chat paradigm into the constrained and compliant Enterprise to deliver a cool collaborative experience.

 This pours more water onto the mill of what Enterprise 2.0 is about and Enterprise RIA. Ofer Spiegel published recently a highly recommended paper about Building a User Interface to Deliver Optimal User Experience  – making very useful distinctions between Rich User Interface and Rich User Experience, in particular when it comes to Enterprise Applications.

Yoni also discusses the pertinence of Cloud Computing as the principal computing platform for a business, touching upon the controversy that McKenzie raised a few months ago. The bottom line according to both, is that at present Cloud based infrastructure such as Amazon EC2 is great for temporary and overflow needs, but wholly owned infrastructure (on-premise or hosted) is still more suitable for the basic core infrastructure.

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Why should BI be considered in isolation?

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There’s an evolving conversation at ebizQ about BI, questioning if BI is forward or backward looking (is it like driving while looking at the rear-view mirror?).

I’d say that driving without a look at the rear mirror can be quite dangerous. Rather than being holistic, we should consider BI as one technology which contributes to better management, rather than as an isolated panacea.

If you can apply BI to on-going data in order to make near real-time decisions, then you are not just looking backwards. Say that you approach traffic lights, and the green blinks announcing that it would soon turn to red. Should you hit the accelerator or the breaks? If your BI can give this answer, taking into account past behaviour and data as well as present data (speed, location, …) – then you have a good implementation.

We see this kind of implementation more and more. In the context of Process Management, one of the fast growing products (Appian) actually stems from BI and applies this technology to many facets of their product. Other BPM vendors do similar things. BI is also increasingly integrated in the Office environment with add-on products such as Panorama.

To conclude with a broader perspective, let’s not underestimate the relevance of history. History is part of our present and certainly impacts our future, and those who have a good understanding and insight of history usually are able to better interpret the present and make sound decisions about the future. I thing that this is what BI helps us do.