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Sam Lowe's blog on Enterprise IT

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Flat-Packed Applications - Composite Apps?

Not some new Ikea product range, but rather Owen Pettiford's thoughts on how Composite Applications have the potential to become the key 'third-way' for enterprise solutions, beyond today's well trodden 'bespoke' and 'packaged application' paths.

Of course today's conventional wisdom goes:
*If what you need is unique or not yet available then you probably need bespoke (particularly if having exactly what you need can give you a competitive advantage).
*If you need to buy-in 'best-practice', implement something that's commodising, or just need somebody else to bear the cost of maintaining/developing the solution then packaged apps are the answer.

But is it really black or white - what about all the shades of grey in between for requirements where the packaged apps aren't quite right becuase of industry or cultural specifics (but it's hardly a competitive differentiator)? What about different economic models where you don't want to bear all the cost yourself, but want to avoid funding development of a product-suite most of which you don't use? Etc etc and so on.

But Owen adds a sub-text - that it will only happen if we primarily focus on the solutions themselves with a secondary focus on the technologies and frameworks that underpin or enable them. In other words, the opposite of what the technology vendor-driven hype in the IT industry predominantly is at the moment. I think he's right.

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