I reflected in my last post on several significant milestones that mark 2007 on the journey to 2017 for IT organizations. When students of IT organizational evolution look back on 2007 ten years from now, what might this year be remembered for? I’ll continue this theme now.
Enterprise Systems unmasked as “no big deal” after all!
A veritable firestorm was ignited in the blogosphere when Robert Scoble dared to suggest that Enterprise Software (ES) is not sexy. Firestorm aside, the fact is that ES has been among the top 3 initiatives consuming IT organizations (and their business partners) for much of the last 5 years. Even if never “sexy,” ES did used to be big news – failures were common, successes were celebrated, and many CIO’s marched their companies on a relentless trek to the holy grail of ‘single global instance’ ERP – often to the virtual exclusion of all other IT progress. It seems that during 2007, this march was no longer news. For many organizations, while ES is still a ‘big deal,’ it is no longer in the top 3 initiatives. One client of mine, proudly ‘late to the ES table’ rightly touts ‘last mover advantage’ – tons is known about how to successfully deploy globally common business processes, and they are shamelessly leveraging all this wisdom.
Maybe there’s a cheaper, faster way to Enterprise Systems after all!
One reason ES fell off the ‘big deal’ list is that during 2007 a potential alternative to the big ES software packages (viz SAP and Oracle) began moving into the mainstream – Software as a Service (SaaS). The first serious foray into this new territory (at least for large global enterprises) was with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Salesforce.com’s success. Although only covering a limited slice of the ES landscape, Salesforce.com proved an important point – what had been previously unthinkable was now a valid alternative, raising questions about the multi-hundred million dollar, three year implementations common to ES installation and deployment.
Former on-line bookseller becomes seller of web services!
I don’t recall seeing this headline this year, but it could have happened. Well, it did happen (the factoid, that is, not the headline!) – Amazon.com entered the web services business, leveraging its internal technology platform. While this is by no means the first time a “non technology” company has launched a technology business, the fact that such a huge and successful on-line retailer is opening up its crown jewels speaks millions about the SOA and SaaS breakthroughs highlighted earlier in these Reflections on 2007. It also marks 2007 as the “Year of the IT Platform.” More on this later…