Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Open Source Cloud

Agile Computing: Article

The Disrupter: Google Enterprise Apps

Moving at the speed of business

According to study by the Burton Group, the next disruptive technology in the enterprise business solutions will come from the Google Enterprise Applications portal (Burton Group: The Disrupter: Google Enterprise Apps by Guy Creese, Senior Analyst, Collaboration and Content Strategies, March 19, 2007).

Global companies, as well as individual users, will be able to shop online a-la-carte style and choose the applications they need. Integration will be a thing of the past, as all of the applications will run on the same Google GWT platform. This is what makes software giants like Microsoft and SAP so worried about the future of enterprise software development. Everyone is afraid to miss the next big thing and is trying to capitalize on emerging trends. When enterprises do start leveraging their new technology and paradigms, large vendors want to be ready. Microsoft has made advances toward Yahoo! while SAP is investing heavily into portals. But Google is gaining steam, and other "traditional" software powerhouses are forced to play a catch-up game.
Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP are old-school companies based on a traditional, closed-core and proprietary technology. As with any new and disruptive technologies, industry giants seem to be all over the open source phenomena. However, this time it might be impossible for large vendors to adopt the new thinking and embrace it in order to capitalize on it and turn it around into the same old philosophy. While traditional vendors invest heavily into "embracing" open source, their essence remains the same: none of these companies will be willing to release their source, which contains millions of lines of legacy code that for many years has been dragged from one release to the next. They will also risk making their enterprise customers (who paid heftily for the product licenses) majorly upset. The open source philosophy and approach to the software overall is proving to be the next big thing, which will shake off older vendors.

A new cluster of startups is emerging in the open source arena that offers business applications based on common and expandable open source platforms. Google recently announced plans for the development of Google Enterprise portal and a new development framework on which such applications can be built - Google Web Toolkit (GWT). Some open source companies immediately took note of this and recognized the potential in partnering with Google on the open source front, and in delivering enterprise-grade applications under Google's umbrella. These companies are the future of enterprise solutions that one day, in the not-so-distant future, will dominate the market place.

Open for Business
Open source is not a new term and has been around for years. Companies like Red Hat, JBoss, and MySQL have been successful in providing open source back-end and middleware solutions and making money by providing services and support for their products. The benefit to the consumer has been realized in savings on license fees and the ability to maintain applications' infrastructure on their own. Most of the time, companies running their infrastructure on open source platforms have been more efficient with less downtime, even though it requires more technical expertise from the end customer.

In recent years, however, the open source movement concept has experienced tremendous growth and adoption in the enterprise. It expanded from middleware and databases to companies offering open source business applications. Examples are numerous: SugarCRM offers sales force solutions; Compiere offers customizable ERP business solutions; Alfresco offers content management solutions; and Queplix offers a wide range of open source solutions for the customer care industry.

Licenses, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Openness
Contrary to popular belief, the biggest benefit of open source is not that it is a "free-for-all" solution. While some solutions are indeed offered to the public for free with no strings attached, these solutions may bring limited value to the final consumer (since the developers working on them probably have full-time paying jobs that take priority over these side projects).

Many open source companies are trying to figure out how to combine the community aspect of open source with the need to make a profit. Some have been experimenting with numerous open source licenses, from BSD to GPL, to many variations in between. It's important here to recognize that perhaps the biggest benefit of open source is not that it's "free," but that it shows a customer what he or she is buying. When you purchase a closed-core proprietary solution, what you see is what you get. While you can estimate that the solution will do about 60-80% of what you need, you won't have any idea of what it is really capable of until you install it and run it for several months. Will it integrate with your other business systems? Will it synchronize with your billing, accounting, analytics, and knowledge management solutions? Will it be able to work with numerous databases? Will it talk to your middleware infrastructure? Will it be able to sustain successful upgrades of numerous components that it depends on? Will you be able to customize it and make sure that it stays on top of your constantly changing business? When you buy proprietary software, the answers to these questions are as "black box" as the software itself, no matter what the vendor is trying to make you believe.

But is the situation any different when you buy an open source solution? In order to make sure you can resolve these questions if you decide to go the open source route, it's important that your vendor can answer "yes" to the following key questions before you write a check:
• Are there any large corporations and enterprises that run your software to support their critical business functions? (Ask for references. Talking to actual users is the most reliable way to know how dependable, scalable, and robust the application really is.)
• Is your software based on standard enterprise technology (such as J2EE)?
• Is detailed technical information and documentation available?
• Is there a large community of developers that supports this application?
• Is there extensive training available?
• Does the open source vendor provide support for the solution? What are the support and maintenance structure and costs?
• Are new versions of software included with the support and maintenance?

Subject to many variations, licensing terms are particularly important when dealing with open source utilities - so be sure to study the licensing agreement and learn what kinds of things you are and are not allowed to do with the software you choose. Make sure that the license allows you to customize, support, and use the software internally without limitations, so you have the freedom to disassociate yourself from the vendor at any point in the future. After all, not being locked in with the vendor is one of the greatest benefits of open source software.

The Need for Speed
If you are looking to deploy an enterprise application - whether it's for customer care, content management, or a range of other capabilities - open source solutions should definitely be on your short list. A look at the industry shows that these solutions are quickly outpacing traditional software applications, offering significantly lower TCO and the ability to adapt (among many other benefits) - ultimately allowing your company to move at the speed of business.

The final question is: How fast do you want to go?

More Stories By Steven Yaskin

Steven Yaskin is CTO of Queplix Corporation, which offers a suite of software tools and professional services to help companies deliver customer care with contact centers, help desks, and eService. For more information, visit www.queplix.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...