Written by Sramana Mitra
In the same vein, that I have proposed a framework for Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS), I would like to discuss in this piece, a framework for Enterprise 3.0.
Fot those working with web technologies, and focused on business applications, the trend to watch carefully is the Extended Enterprise one, which hasn’t quite become mainstream yet.
Saas (Software-As-A-Service) or OnDemand is already a well understood and accepted trend. Nick Carr wrote in November 2006:
“Large companies appear to be jumping en masse onto the software-as-a-service bandwagon, according to a new survey of CIOs by management consultants McKinsey & Company. The survey found that 61% of North American companies with sales over $1 billion plan to adopt one or more SaaS applications over the next year, a dramatic increase from the 38% who were planning to install SaaS apps in 2005.”
However, to come up with new ideas, or to position your existing SaaS technology on a problem that matters to customers today, I suggest you focus on the Extended Enterprise trend.
So, let’s recap the vocabulary again. What is the Extended Enterprise (EE)?
The modern enterprise is no longer one, monolithic organization. Customers, Partners, Suppliers, Outsourcers, Distributors, Resellers, … all kinds of entities extend and expand the boundaries of the enterprise, and make “collaboration” and “sharing” important.
Let’s take some examples. The salesforce needs to share leads with distributors and resellers. The Product Design team needs to share CAD files with parts suppliers. Customers and Vendors need to share workspace often. Consultants, Contractors, Outsourcers often need to seamlessly participate in the workflow of a project, share files, upload information. All of this across a secure, seamlessly authenticated system.
Few of these Extended Enterprise stakeholders are inside the firewall. They don’t necessarily have accounts in the Enterprise IT network, posing challenges and creating friction in the workflow.
If you are designing an application that does either Expertise Location, Talent Management, or Contract Management using web 2.0 technologies, remember that you need to provide access control options to include these off-enterprise team members.
The reason I like this framework, is that companies are facing the full impact of globalization today, and yet their IT systems were designed a long time back - without any provision for managing this Extended Enterprise architecture. Thus, if you do come up with an architecture that successfully manages the workflow of EE, focused on a specific application, chances are you have hit some ready CIO painpoint and, therefore, appetite.
So, let’s try to use this framework: Enterprise 3.0 = (SaaS + EE), and see if it can help us hone the architectural design, as well as the application positioning.
Sramana Mitra is an Entrepreneur, Founder CEO of 3 companies, Strategy Consultant to 50+ companies, and Author of a popular technology business blog, Sramana Mitra on Strategy.