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Friday, November 10, 2006

The Coming Change In The Enterprise Software Arena

I wrote a brief note for sandhill.com on whats happening in the enterprise software world - The traditional platform vendors are working hard to define new outline for traditional layers like operating system, middleware etc. Historically the traditional separation has been brought out by commercial vendors and this line keeps changing with the moves of the platform vendors. The traditional separation between these layers is fast disappearing with the concerted efforts of the platform players. If these are to be recast, it opens up multiple questions. Some of them include the likes of where (the direction) this can take things towards and how (the enablement) is this made possible. Undoubtedly SOA is playing the role of a linchpin here. The redrawn boundaries between traditional separations of layers are pushing the framework into the world of business processes. The middleware & SOA combination is shifting the control from applications into this block. Such a strategy gives traditional vendors a good lock-in over with assured recurring revenue whether the infrastructure expands or applications get built on top.
Most of the vendors in MISO group are playing this game albeit in different ways. While the big players are pushing things in this direction, the nimble, innovative upstarts are actually making smart moves – coming in from different directions (delivery, ownership, licensing, cost structure etc.) and forcing the traditional big players to more aggressively push things to control and protect their traditional space. Unknown to many, the change agenda being pursued by the so called envelope pushers are being dictated by these “outside forces”. Aggression as a defensive posture best explains the move of the big players here. As I see it, ultimately these would benefit business and the tech world immensely. Business could look for composites to take a real move into their ecosystem for vertical /niche applications, integrators would actually ride this wave which throws up humongous opportunities and we can see the platform players /others look to charge customers on usage basis for services like usage of shared repositories and components. Read the full note here.

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