A Good Kind of Chaos

I had to count twice before I believed that it’s been four weeks since my previous post here. At least there’s been no shortage of news for developers during that time — while I’ve been visiting with CIOs in Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. We’ve had a lot to discuss.

Much has been written about the Tour de Force kickoff on January 17, notably Dan Farber’s real-time reportage from the event. Dan captured, in particular, keynote guest Marc Andreessen‘s emphatic statement that programmability makes a platform.

Renee Ferguson at eWEEK also called attention to the Metadata API, announced at Tour de Force, that allows a developer to manipulate or extract the definition of an application. I remember when "programs that write programs" were considered a distinguishing feature of AI research: it’s beyond cool to find this concept mainstreamed into an enterprise-oriented application environment.

Over at Intelligent Enterprise, David Linthicum has reinforced what I consider a key point about SaaS and PaaS in the enterprise: that "as a service" offerings don’t represent a separate space of solutions, but rather a powerful set of tools that complement whatever’s already working for an IT owner. He writes:

[T]hose who plan,
work, and build their enterprise architectures today will ignore SaaS at their
peril… Other systems, new and old,
have to interact with SaaS-delivered systems
and they are indeed
part of the architecture. Many enterprise architects are in denial about this
fact and ignore the use of SaaS, in essence, considering it a Web site rather
than an enterprise application. Can’t do that. Indeed, the use of SaaS will only
expand as the years go on…

Meanwhile, Research and Markets has enumerated the elements of SaaS that make it such an important addition to the IT builder’s portfolio:

Multi-tenancy, building
applications using Open Source building blocks, and spreading the cost of
expensive technology expertise are all reasons why SaaS provides a compelling
solution, cost-wise. Another key success factor, however, is often overlooked,
and this is the fact that the most successful SaaS applications are built over
Service Oriented Architecture. Looking for
an SOA success story? You don’t have to look far. Look at Concur, Salesforce, Workday, and RightNow.

Finally, it’s always interesting when non-techies notice a transforming technology purely because of its ability to transform markets. Over at Motley Fool, analysis of "who’s at risk?" leads to a conclusion that traditional software models are in jeopardy:

Start with
the industries that have experienced past glory. They’re the ones most likely to
be complacent and, in the process, be disrupted by a bold upstart. Here are my
three picks for industries that will play host to the Next Big Upset:

  • Software-as-a-service over installed
    software. SaaS, as it is known, is highly attractive for its
    cost advantages and lower administrative burden when compared with installed
    business software from the likes of SAP and Oracle. And let’s be honest: Would you
    really want to install software if you didn’t have to?
    The more than 35,000 customers who
    use salesforce.com say "no."…

Please pardon this big-gulp catch-up post, and thanks for the chance to connect with you as I begin my second year at salesforce.com.

Published
February 5, 2008
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