Rules to Compete in the Enterprise Software Game
Guest Blogger: Rohit Ghai
Are you worthy?
To play in the enterprise you must be worthy…. So it is with enterprise software as well. In addition to enterprise worthy support, enterprise worthy services one has to build enterprise worthy product in order to even be in the consideration set.
Before I get to the traits of enterprise software lets look at the typical traits of a corporation that we deem to be an “enterprise”:
- Some things are really BIG. These organizations are giants – think really really BIG footprints. A big digital footprint (think vast quantities of data produced and consumed), a big carbon footprint (think big data centers, big factories, big operations, reams and reams of paper pervading thousands of business processes), a big geographical footprint (think a global organization with offices and people all across the world) and finally a big customer footprint (think thousands of customers across different segments and geographies using the company’s products or services).
- Some things are really small. These organizations have extremely small tolerance for brand or reputation degradation (think floors full of lawyers and compliance maniacs even in unregulated industries), miniscule tolerance for downtime or business discontinuity (think people obsessing over the next flood in Thailand), very little patience in terms of time to value (think constant flux and a breakneck pace of change), a pretty small shared context (think thousands of people touching different parts of the elephant but no one sees the elephant) and finally a very small degree of homogeneity (think people of all ages, cultures, backgrounds and preferences).
So its pretty straight forward: to be enterprise worthy – you have to be able to handle the BIG and handle the small.
Handling the BIG:
1. Thou shall handle vast quantities of data. This means specifically 4 things:
a) Be able to enable the user to sift through and navigate vast quantities of data. Software must support faceted search as a navigation paradigm.
b) Be able to glean insight from vast quantities of structured and unstructured data. Software must be Big Data enabled to be able to tame monumental mountains of data.
c) Software must be able to move (ingress or egress) vast quantities of data in a reasonable timeframe (Throughput).
d) Software must be able to process the data as its created in near real time so as to always keep up with the “digital velocity” of the enterprise. (reasonable Latency)Thou shall handle large number of named users of the system and perform even when a large fraction of that populace is pummeling the system (performance under high concurrency)
2. Thou shall handle a highly distributed user population in remote offices and in mobility settings (performance across the WAN and a high performance, form factor appropriate mobile interfac.
3. Thou shall provide localized software so users can interact with the system in the language of their choice.
4. Thou shall handle vast number of interrelated business processes and integrate easily with other systems to achieve a high degree of automation. (Services Orientation)
5. Thou shall achieve #1 through #5 above with a reasonable TCO.
Handling the small:
- Thou shall ensure robust network security and integration with the enterprise Single-Sign-On solution.
- Thou shall ensure that the software has no exploitable vulnerabilities.
- Thou shall ensure that the software assures protection, compliance and governance of all data under its management however vast the quantity of data may be.
- Thou shall provide robust monitoring for availability and disaster resilience and an optimal RTO and RPO.
- Thou shall be optimized for cloud deployments – private, hybrid or public and provide quick TTV – rapid OnDemand provisioning and build/updates. This requires a stack optimized for virtual data center architectures.
- Thou shall social enable the software in order to help the enterprise develop a shared context for its users so they can collaborate effectively and see more of the elephant.
- Thou shall embrace diversity and heterogeneity of the user base as well as that of the devices that they wield to get their jobs done. (BYOD and choice computing).
And in conclusion: to be worthy thou shall handle the BIG and the small without sacrificing “coolness” and deliver a delightful and engaging user experience. So the macro point if there is one is – it is no longer sufficient to win the love of IT to prove your worthiness. Enterprise software will live and die at the behest of the love of the user. The user wields a lot of power, a lot of devices and is the ultimate determiner of enterprise worthiness of software.
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