Why Can’t Enterprise IT Be More Like Consumer IT: A New Day

Why Can’t Enterprise IT Be More Like Consumer IT: A New Day

In the final part of this series, DLT Solutions Engineering Team Lead, Matt Micene assures us that there is a happier future for Enterprise IT on the horizon.

In part one of my two-part blog series ‘Why Does Enterprise IT Suck?’ I explored why Enterprise IT is so different from Consumer IT and why that causes such strife in organizations. Now I’m here to say it doesn’t have to be that way!

Enterprises need to realize they are the consumer and are getting short changed.  Enterprises should have a Pinterest for business where workers can collaborate on projects.  Data should be easily moved between different services so if your trial of “HotCRM” falls flat you can move to “CRMNew!” without major hassles.  And integrate BI tools and billing and order management and social collaboration and whatever else they decide they want to have.

Be assured there are some companies who are bringing that Web 2.0 experience to business tools (no, Salesforce isn’t one of them. Try 37signals instead).  However, data has mass and mass has inertia – the tendency for a body at rest to stay at rest (so says Newton).  Overcoming data inertia is an entire subject on its own (and one we’ve tackled here at DLT before) so I’m going to leave it safely at rest.

When it comes to features, enterprises are just as eager to have as many in their applications as consumers are.  But the enterprise needs a fair number of features and those features need to work straight out of the box.  One trick ponies don’t do well in the enterprise space.  Businesses have different challenges they need software to solve.

Luckily, we’ve solved this in the enterprise realm already.  Decoupled architectures like Service-Orientated Architecture (SOA) approaches can help integrate a suite of tools into a single workflow.  We can build the same sort of stackable and composable tooling that consumers enjoy.  Breaking up monolithic business apps allows for upgrades and changes of certain functional components with less impact on the overall IT environment.  APIs are the new watchword in the buzz-o-sphere, and for good reason.  While APIs can prove contentious, it’s the value of the API that makes it worth battling over.

So does enterprise IT suck?  Yes, no bones about it! I think enterprise IT is still monolithic, lethargic, and lagging, like a shambling undead horde for the most part.  The tyranny of data and requirement replacement causes paralysis within the enterprise.  But we don’t need to shoot it in the head, we just need to reframe the requirements and stop buying monoliths.

Photo courtesy of datagarden.org

Matt Micene is a Solutions Architect and lead engineer for DLT Solutions. He has over 10 years of experience in information technology, ranging from Solaris and Linux architecture and system design to data center design to long, coffee filled nights of system maintenance for various web-based service companies. In his current role, Matt advises customers in the pre-implementation stage, with the adoption and understanding of technologies, such as cloud computing and virtualization. He assists public sector customers with selecting the best building blocks to create environments supporting their missions. A strong advocate for open source, Matt is also a Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) and was named RHCE of the Year in 2010.