Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff, ManageEngine IT Matters

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
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to connect your brand strategy with the right consumer. 24Notion ranked #12 on Corporate Social Responsibility - Book of List.
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
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...
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 ...
What does it look like when you have access to cloud infrastructure and platform under the same roof? Let’s talk about the different layers of Technology as a Service: who cares, what runs where, and how does it all fit together. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, an IBM company, spoke about the picture being painted by IBM Cloud and how the tools being crafted can help fill the gaps in your IT infrastructure.
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridharabalan, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, Inc., will focus on key challenges in building an Internet of Things solution infrastructure. He will shed light on efficient ways of defining interactions within IoT solutions, leading to cost and time reduction. He will also introduce ways to handle data and how one can develop IoT solutions that are lean, flexible and configurable, thus making IoT infrastructure agile and scalable.
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...