Thursday, March 6, 2008

What is an Enterprise App in the 2.0 world?

Reading: What is an Enterprise App in the 2.0 world?Tweet this Post

Wanted to post this as a thought inspired by Vinnie Mirchandani's post "Another brick in the wall".

First off let me be clear that I dont have anything against Carsonified or Ravelry, I'm sure both are pretty good enterprises in their own right. My comment on Vinnie's blog might lead some to think otherwise so wanted to clarify.

However I wanted to post on the "how close are enterprise applications to this list" aspect. So here's a link to the list shown below.

Gmail - web mail
flickr - photo sharing
Twitter - micro-blogging platform
Facebook - social network
Ravelry - "knit and crochet" community
WordPress - blogging platform
Mint - web analytics
last-fm - music
Basecamp - project collaboration
livejournal - social network
So what is an enterprise application. Till recently enterprise applications conjured up images of ERP, HRMS, CRM, SCM etc. Those with a slightly broader view would often include things like office productivity, email, application, directory, integration servers and other software into this category as well. Some of these applications were sub-classified based on their channels as well so for example we had B2E, B2B, B2C and stuff like that, the B2C ones were mainly inward looking portals into enterprises.

So by that vague definition everything that was a non-enterprise application was placed in the consumer application bucket.

Here's what Wikipedia says about enterprise software and applications

Enterprise level software is software which provides business logic support
functionality for an organization, typically in commercial organizations, which
aims to improve the organization's productivity and efficiency.Services provided
by enterprise software are typically business-oriented tools such as online
shopping and online payment processing, interactive product catalogue, automated billing systems, security, content management, etc.

But in my experience over the last decade and certainly over the last few years this line has started blurring significantly. Here's an example from the CRM side of things.

Would you consider eBay, Amazon, Gmail as consumer applications? Most of us would say yes to that I guess. What about user interaction channels on these sites like if you had issues with Amazon and you logged an issue with them on their site are you using Amazons consumer application or enterprise application for logging that ticket?

I'm starting to head to a place where any web application that's accessible to an entity outside an enterprise firewall (without VPN or tunneling) is a consumer application to me and vice-versa any application that's restricted in use behind an enterprise firewall is an enterprise application.

So the lines blurring for me now. There are no black and white enterprise or consumer applications cause they could quickly be repurposed.

Now maybe one could debate that it depends on the roots of that application or use the 80:20 rule and say 80% of the time application is used as a consumer application etc.

Anyways according to me the good news for enterprises is that they no longer need to be confined in their thinking that .. aw shucks wish I could use that in my enterprise but alas its a consumer app.

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