Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: ManageEngine IT Matters, Jyoti Bansal, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Open Source Cloud

Agile Computing: Article

The Disrupter: Google Enterprise Apps

Moving at the speed of business

According to study by the Burton Group, the next disruptive technology in the enterprise business solutions will come from the Google Enterprise Applications portal (Burton Group: The Disrupter: Google Enterprise Apps by Guy Creese, Senior Analyst, Collaboration and Content Strategies, March 19, 2007).

Global companies, as well as individual users, will be able to shop online a-la-carte style and choose the applications they need. Integration will be a thing of the past, as all of the applications will run on the same Google GWT platform. This is what makes software giants like Microsoft and SAP so worried about the future of enterprise software development. Everyone is afraid to miss the next big thing and is trying to capitalize on emerging trends. When enterprises do start leveraging their new technology and paradigms, large vendors want to be ready. Microsoft has made advances toward Yahoo! while SAP is investing heavily into portals. But Google is gaining steam, and other "traditional" software powerhouses are forced to play a catch-up game.
Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP are old-school companies based on a traditional, closed-core and proprietary technology. As with any new and disruptive technologies, industry giants seem to be all over the open source phenomena. However, this time it might be impossible for large vendors to adopt the new thinking and embrace it in order to capitalize on it and turn it around into the same old philosophy. While traditional vendors invest heavily into "embracing" open source, their essence remains the same: none of these companies will be willing to release their source, which contains millions of lines of legacy code that for many years has been dragged from one release to the next. They will also risk making their enterprise customers (who paid heftily for the product licenses) majorly upset. The open source philosophy and approach to the software overall is proving to be the next big thing, which will shake off older vendors.

A new cluster of startups is emerging in the open source arena that offers business applications based on common and expandable open source platforms. Google recently announced plans for the development of Google Enterprise portal and a new development framework on which such applications can be built - Google Web Toolkit (GWT). Some open source companies immediately took note of this and recognized the potential in partnering with Google on the open source front, and in delivering enterprise-grade applications under Google's umbrella. These companies are the future of enterprise solutions that one day, in the not-so-distant future, will dominate the market place.

Open for Business
Open source is not a new term and has been around for years. Companies like Red Hat, JBoss, and MySQL have been successful in providing open source back-end and middleware solutions and making money by providing services and support for their products. The benefit to the consumer has been realized in savings on license fees and the ability to maintain applications' infrastructure on their own. Most of the time, companies running their infrastructure on open source platforms have been more efficient with less downtime, even though it requires more technical expertise from the end customer.

In recent years, however, the open source movement concept has experienced tremendous growth and adoption in the enterprise. It expanded from middleware and databases to companies offering open source business applications. Examples are numerous: SugarCRM offers sales force solutions; Compiere offers customizable ERP business solutions; Alfresco offers content management solutions; and Queplix offers a wide range of open source solutions for the customer care industry.

Licenses, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Openness
Contrary to popular belief, the biggest benefit of open source is not that it is a "free-for-all" solution. While some solutions are indeed offered to the public for free with no strings attached, these solutions may bring limited value to the final consumer (since the developers working on them probably have full-time paying jobs that take priority over these side projects).

Many open source companies are trying to figure out how to combine the community aspect of open source with the need to make a profit. Some have been experimenting with numerous open source licenses, from BSD to GPL, to many variations in between. It's important here to recognize that perhaps the biggest benefit of open source is not that it's "free," but that it shows a customer what he or she is buying. When you purchase a closed-core proprietary solution, what you see is what you get. While you can estimate that the solution will do about 60-80% of what you need, you won't have any idea of what it is really capable of until you install it and run it for several months. Will it integrate with your other business systems? Will it synchronize with your billing, accounting, analytics, and knowledge management solutions? Will it be able to work with numerous databases? Will it talk to your middleware infrastructure? Will it be able to sustain successful upgrades of numerous components that it depends on? Will you be able to customize it and make sure that it stays on top of your constantly changing business? When you buy proprietary software, the answers to these questions are as "black box" as the software itself, no matter what the vendor is trying to make you believe.

But is the situation any different when you buy an open source solution? In order to make sure you can resolve these questions if you decide to go the open source route, it's important that your vendor can answer "yes" to the following key questions before you write a check:
• Are there any large corporations and enterprises that run your software to support their critical business functions? (Ask for references. Talking to actual users is the most reliable way to know how dependable, scalable, and robust the application really is.)
• Is your software based on standard enterprise technology (such as J2EE)?
• Is detailed technical information and documentation available?
• Is there a large community of developers that supports this application?
• Is there extensive training available?
• Does the open source vendor provide support for the solution? What are the support and maintenance structure and costs?
• Are new versions of software included with the support and maintenance?

Subject to many variations, licensing terms are particularly important when dealing with open source utilities - so be sure to study the licensing agreement and learn what kinds of things you are and are not allowed to do with the software you choose. Make sure that the license allows you to customize, support, and use the software internally without limitations, so you have the freedom to disassociate yourself from the vendor at any point in the future. After all, not being locked in with the vendor is one of the greatest benefits of open source software.

The Need for Speed
If you are looking to deploy an enterprise application - whether it's for customer care, content management, or a range of other capabilities - open source solutions should definitely be on your short list. A look at the industry shows that these solutions are quickly outpacing traditional software applications, offering significantly lower TCO and the ability to adapt (among many other benefits) - ultimately allowing your company to move at the speed of business.

The final question is: How fast do you want to go?

More Stories By Steven Yaskin

Steven Yaskin is CTO of Queplix Corporation, which offers a suite of software tools and professional services to help companies deliver customer care with contact centers, help desks, and eService. For more information, visit www.queplix.com.

Comments (0)

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive ad...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.