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Enterprise 2.0: It’s Still All About People

Are we more or less important than before?
Apr | 7 | 2010

Apr | 7 | 2010

speakingI have spent most of the last year researching emerging trends for The Next Wave of Technologies. While it’s a very big book covering quite a few technologies, for now suffice it say that we have entered an exciting time with regard to IT. It’s obvious to me that, technology-wise, organizations can do pretty much whatever they want. SOA, mobility, open source, agile software development methods, clouds, SaaS, and other concepts allow for so much more flexibility than “Enterprise 1.0” did.

Against this backdrop, I recently read a few posts that emphasize the continued importance of people in this very dynamic environment.

Cloud Computing

In Fixing IT in the cloud computing era,  Dion Hinchcliffe writes extensively about the game-changing nature of cloud computing. Ultimately,

…enterprise architects truly become business architects and business people become their own IT experts. Some of this is already here though much of it is not and there are certainly many issues to be worked out. But the writing is increasingly on the wall that this is the future of IT in the cloud computing era.

Translation: We are overcoming the traditional limitations of enterprise software. This has enormous implications for everyone, especially folks with “less than progressive” views on the normative roles of business end users and IT.

People-Oriented Architecture

In a related post, 2010 Watchlist: People-Oriented Architecture, Phil Wainewright writes:

I’ve used the term people-oriented architecture to make a deliberate contrast with our experience of service-oriented architecture in the past decade. Unlike SOA — which too often sought to remake the way that computers talk to one another without any reference to or consideration of user needs and business results — people-oriented architectures have to be developed collaboratively and iteratively with users and business owners, giving them as much freedom and autonomy as possible to control and manage information and processes to achieve the results they want. It’s an acknowledgment that people are both the commanding providers and the ultimate end consumers of any of the services in a computing architecture.

Put another way, just because we can doesn’t mean that we should, to paraphrase a quote from Jurassic Park. Enterprise 2.0 tools such as SOA, OS, and SaaS are very flexible. Because of this, the role of intelligent business decisions regarding design, architecture, UI, and the like are more important than before, not less.

Simon Says

In Enterprise 2.0, end users will drive how new apps and technologies ultimately work. I truly believe that we’re entering a period in which just about anything is possible on a technology front. The shackles of desktops and laptops, traditional networks, and client-server architecture are being removed. People matter, big time.

What do you think?

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  1. Charles Blyth

    Great post Phil, as you know, I am a firm believer in ‘It’s all about the People’. As technology enables more diverse business contexts, people and the processes they manage and work in become critical in controlling what could become a wild beast.

  2. Paul Saunders

    An excellent post Phil. I agree with your philosophy about people – more so now than ever. However I believe that there is a lag in certain industry sectors between the user requirement being converted into real applications. The emphasis is on the vendor/developper to make the functional leap of faith from Enterprise 1.0 to 2.0 as it often involves a serious number of man-hours and therefore investment to adopt the platforms and architectural changes required to provide what tech savvy users of today really want. The power and influence of the user has a huge impact even within the same industry,

    From personal experience and anecdotal evidence, that adoption and investment rate seems to be linked to the breed of user that the application is aimed at…. Two extreme examples from the industry I am most au fait with:

    Joe Public with a Credit Card = Highest adoption rate (eg: aviation booking flights)
    Spanner wielder duplicating paper records = Lowest adoption rate (eg: aviation maintenance organisation)
    .-= Paul Saunders´s last blog ..5 Open Source Apps I Cannot Work Without =-.

  3. philsimon


    Thanks for the comment.

    I’d throw process and data into the mix as well.


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