Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: ManageEngine IT Matters, Craig Lowell, AppNeta Blog, Liz McMillan, Jonathan Fries

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Is This the End of Enterprise Software?

The future of enterprise computing is the platform

The future of enterprise software is the platform. No software company has all the smart people in the world on its payroll. Apple recognized this and created the App Store. Google are now doing the same. These new cloud platforms will unleash unprecedented innovation and creativity throughout all areas of business and the web, with thousands of new apps being created that will revolutionize IT.

Enterprise software has always been unpopular - it has always been expensive, slow, complex and clunky. The only people who actually like it are the software vendors who sell it, and the armies of integrators and consultants who struggle to make it work.

The "consumerization of the enterprise" is an idea that's been around for a few years, but it's now at a tipping point, and from here on we will see a rapidly accelerating shift to a new generation of business software systems that have a lot more in common with Facebook, Google and Twitter than with the kinds of ERP, CRM and SCM systems and database/data warehouse technologies that business professionals have had to put up with for decades.

Why now? Two reasons: (1) because we have to, and (2) because for the first time, we can!

We Have To Change
We have to, because today's enterprise software simply doesn't deliver what's required for business today. As Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, said recently

“Why isn’t all enterprise software like Facebook?”

"Today, realtime information is possible, which has changed everything: How people consume information has changed, how people learn things about each other has changed, and how people stay current has changed. Most of all, our expectations around immediacy have changed."

"Market shifts happen in real time, deals are won and lost in real time, and data changes in real time. Yet the software we use to run our enterprises is in anything but real time."

For any business to be competitive today, it needs to have the ability to continuously analyze vast quantities of data in realtime - all kinds of data about customers, partners, employees, competitors, marketing, advertising, pricing, infrastructure, and operations. Today what's needed is smart IT systems that can automatically analyze, filter and push exactly the right data to business users in realtime, just when they need it.

Does that sound like your existing ERP system? Does it sound like the data warehouse system you were recently offered at the bargain price of two million dollars? Probably not. Many data warehouses today are often jokingly referred to as "write only" systems, data goes in continuously, but nothing of much value ever seems to come out.

Today's enterprise software was architected around databases and data warehouses back in the 1980s and 1990s because at that time the world was pre-web, data volumes were small, no one was grappling with information overload, 100% of the data required by employees was internal business data, and that data was highly structured and organized in simple tables. Users could pull data from the database whenever they realized they needed it.

Today, everything has changed. Everyone is grappling constantly with information overload, both in their work and in their social life. Most data today is unstructured, and most of it is in files, streams or feeds, rather than in structured tables. Many of the data streams are realtime, and constantly changing. At work, most of the data required by employees is now external data, from the web, from analytics tools, and from monitoring systems of all kinds.

So we need to move beyond today's enterprise software, simply because it doesn't deliver what's required in this new era of realtime business and the realtime web.

OK. So...

Can We Do It?
Yes, we can! And cloud computing is accelerating the trend.

Firstly, there are no fundamental technical impediments. Google, Facebook, Twitter and other consumer web services have clearly shown that it is possible to build powerful realtime software architectures that process vast quantities of data continuously, are easy-to-use, engaging and informative for users, and can scale to handle very large numbers of users.

Secondly, it's already happening. Email moved to the cloud more than ten years ago, office software from Microsoft, Google and others is also now in the cloud, collaboration tools and enterprise social networks are available. The consumerization of the enterprise is already underway.

But it's quite a different game from the one that's been playing for the past 25 years. Earlier this week, Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard was asked how the Google Apps Marketplace, their cloud computing app store, fits into Google’s broader strategy for business apps. "For one thing", he said, "it means the company can build fewer apps". Google are not planning to roll out, say, a CRM system, or a human resources management app, or project management tools. Indeed, it seems unlikely that they would ever build "enterprise-only apps". What Google are instead doing is building a platform for others to build apps. That's the future. Just ask Apple. If Apple had attempted to build all of the apps in the app store we would probably have about 13 by now, instead of 130,000.

The Platform
The future is to build mass market consumer platforms that can achieve global adoption, and then to migrate those into the enterprise. That way, the transition between social life and work will be much more seamless. You'll be using essentially the same tools and technologies at home and at work. The key to doing this successfully is to build platforms that are both powerful and flexible, but also really easy to use. Ease of use is critical in the consumer space, and it will be equally critical in future in the enterprise space.

The core of enterprise computing today is handling "Big Data", the continuously flowing rivers of realtime data that drive modern business. Next week Cloudscale will be commercially launching the Cloudcel platform, the first realtime, massively parallel cloud platform for Big Data Apps. Usable in minutes by anyone who can use Excel, Cloudcel enables non-programmers to simply and quickly develop powerful new apps on massive data sets and live data streams. The platform can be used to easily and quickly develop new apps in any of the areas where data is now growing exponentially - business, web, science, government, finance, and in the world of sensors and smart grids. With over 100 million Excel power users around the world, it has the potential to achieve major impact across a very broad area.



The future of enterprise software is clearly "the platform". No software company has all the smart people in the world on its payroll. Apple recognized this and created the App Store. Google are now doing the same. These new cloud platforms will unleash unprecedented innovation and creativity throughout all areas of business and the web, with thousands of new apps being created that will revolutionize IT. Whether it's the Google platform or the Microsoft platform for office apps, the Salesforce platform for customer apps, or the Cloudcel platform for big data apps, the enterprise is going to start to look quite different over the next few years.

Not Quite The End. Yet!
It will undoubtedly take a while for the consumerization of the enterprise to fully play out, take a while for the last of the complex, legacy ERP, CRM, SCM and data warehouse systems to be replaced, but there's no doubt that we're now at the tipping point. The shift to cloud computing that's taking place will accelerate this transition over the next two years, and there are good reasons for optimism that the related platform shift will actually happen more quickly than many currently expect. As Winston Churchill might have said, we're not at the end of enterprise software yet, but we're certainly at the beginning of the end.

More Stories By Bill McColl

Bill McColl left Oxford University to found Cloudscale. At Oxford he was Professor of Computer Science, Head of the Parallel Computing Research Center, and Chairman of the Computer Science Faculty. Along with Les Valiant of Harvard, he developed the BSP approach to parallel programming. He has led research, product, and business teams, in a number of areas: massively parallel algorithms and architectures, parallel programming languages and tools, datacenter virtualization, realtime stream processing, big data analytics, and cloud computing. He lives in Palo Alto, CA.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
wasnotwas 03/15/10 10:17:00 PM EDT

Actually, I think it's more like "the end of the beginning" for enterprise software. Clouds are great, clouds are good, clouds are still inherently (perceived as) more risky for sensitive data than keeping it locked up in your glass house. Internal clouds are just another way of capital justification.

When cloud APIs mature to the point where they become the business equivalent of C++/Java and the players have also matured to the point where those APIs are interoperable and federated services are the rule, then we'll see the beginning of the end for enterprise software.

But guess what? The same players that are the big dogs in enterprise software today will still be the big dogs in the enterprise cloud.

Yes, I'm a heretic, but the more things change..

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...