In that spirit, here is part one of a two part series on trends in the enterprise. What's evident in all of these trends is the role data is playing in how technologies are evolving. Is it the megatrend of the next decade?
In all of this, we think about the way people work these days. We have multiple mobile phones. We work in offices and homes. For many people, working is anywhere they can find a flat surface for their laptops or for that matter just finding a signal for their smartphone.
People need easy ways to access information but within the constraints of an enterprise and the policies it sets forth. In that context, here are five trends to watch in 2011 and beyond. We'll follow up next week with five more to round it out.
1. Marketplaces Will Continue to Grow
Demand continues for apps that fit together like blocks into larger tool suites. SaaS platforms are extending the enterprise by providing these lightweight apps that use open Web standards and open-source technologies that connect through REST-based APIs. Apps marketplaces provide buyers with the the capability to buy stand alone apps or apps that fit within the context of a larger platform. The Force.com platform from Salesforce.com and Google Apps Marketplace are two of the more popular platforms in this regard. A number of other marketplaces are emerging as well, including the Windows Azure Data Marketplace.
These marketplaces will become increasingly common as places for companies to purchase apps for specific business purposes. In addition, they will serve as platforms for new companies to offer services that fit with established SaaS platforms.
2. Analytics are Needed to Manage the Data
Analytics represent the next wave in enterprise innovation and adoption. If the real-time Web is the mega trend we think it is then analytics will be instrumental in doing real-time analysis.
In recent months, we've seen the rise of Hadoop as an answer to the big data challenge.
All the technology giants and emerging players make great effort to discuss how they are embracing big data and deploying their own form of analytics:
SAP is expected to soon release its High-Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA), an in-memory hardware technology for processing data.
IBM's BigSheets application comes as close as we've seen to making big data accessible to a wider audience.
Evangelos Simoudis is a senior managing partner with Trident Capital. He ran the IBM business intelligence group for many years. He says Trident has invested in SaaS companies for the past decade and for the past five years has been watching companies with an analytics focus. He say business intelligence SaaS providers are succeeding by offering services that have traditionally been offered on-premise.
"Larger corporations are accepting the cloud much easier than in the past," Simoudis said. "Adoption is accelerating."
3. Data Portability
The grumbling between Google and Facebook about data portability is a concern that is felt in the enterprise. Data portability is a daily issue for enterprise decision makers. For example, one of the most pressing issues for the enterprise is how to move data to the cloud. It's why cloud management and data migrations services are faring so well. RightScale and Enstratus provide management services to extend a data center to a public cloud infrastructure and then manage that environment in the cloud. OpenStack is banking on its open infrastructure to attract enterprise customers who want the freedom that an open cloud provides.
What's to come will be greater pressure on cloud service providers to make it easier for companies to move their data. Some may not agree. They maintain the tools are available to port data from platform to platform.
The problem may be easier to solve, once cooperation is established.
4. Application Developer Platforms
App platforms are becoming that essential third-party for the enterprise to move its infrastructure to the cloud. These services take the manual processes out of application development. You no longer need to do your own network configuration. Command tools are being replaced by cloud platforms as illustrated by Apigee's news that it is moving cURL to the cloud. Mashery has its own place in developing enterprise grade APis. Platforms such as Engine Yard and Heroku are platforms for Ruby-on-Rails development. Google App Engine has benefited significantly by integrating with the Spring platform from VMware. The Windows Azure development platform supports multiple programming languages. All together, these platforms symbolize a sea change in the enterprise and will continue to be important in its evolution.
5. The Social Layer and Web Oriented Architecture
Information silos have come to symbolize why the enterprise needs to modernize and move to a Web oriented architecture. We made the topic the focus of a report we published this past September:
"As companies build their social layer to break down information silos, IT will have to decide what architectural standards to embrace -- and it's here where enterprises should once again take a cue from the consumer Web. The success and very existence of Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia has less to do with any one application or business model itself; it had everything to do with the "open Web" -- the standards that allow Web services and applications to talk with each other easily and securely. Based on a simple adherence to the HTTP protocol that provides the backbone of the World Wide Web, open Web standards have enabled consumer technology to flourish, as evidenced by the rich content you see in a Facebook News Feed."
The question about social technologies almost seems like last year's news. The real trend to watch is how social technologies fit into the enterprise so companies may collaborate and act on the streams of data flowing through all facets of the organization.