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For a change, lets look outside…  The ERP and other major products like SCM, SRM, CRM, BW to name a few have brought unprecedented insights into the organizational affairs. With the advent of composites, its now possible to bring data from different systems and provide the users with sea of information without having to leave the context of the application. But all we can find out is how is the organization doing in the absolute terms. But in relative terms vis a vis the real world out there, not much can be inferred just from the information provided from the internal systems.   With this new technology, the IT departments can now help organizations to look outside to consider the data in the decision process. Again not having to leave the context of the X-App.  Consider the following scenario..  A long standing customer has exceeding the credit limit. The responsible Sales Manager with the help of the newly added X-Apps Analytics, considers the previous history of the customer, which looks quite satisfactory, and with a good feeling he approves it. Or say, he disapproves it, totally with whatever information available to him plus a gut feeling that goes into the decision making.   Now consider the outward looking approach of the IT department. Lets suppose, the Analytics application also takes feeds from agencies like Reuters, for the economy, stock data, industry news and company news and present that info along with the customer’s track record. Lets consider two simple scenarios here.  The outside news, shows the stock price of the customer has sharply risen over a brief period, and the particular industry is booming and news about the customer is healthy, the sales manager can consider approving additional credit to the customer.   In a second scenario, the economy is slowing down, the share price of the customer is volatile, and the industry news is disappointing. Or Some negative news has emerged about customer then, the sales manager can refrain himself from approving the additional credit to the customer even though the credit history is satisfactory.  This shows, by providing the outside information the executives can take a much more informed decisions. There are countless possibilities to innovatively use this idea.  image  There is a need for the proper channels to be in place to realize the concept of looking outside. I can envision at least the following players in the scenario shown in the Figure 1. Data Sources : Data can be collected from various sources like, Federal financial regulators for financial data, Stock exchanges for the share prices, Economic indicators from various indices like Dow Jones, S & P etc. News from various relevant sources for both industry news and company specific information. The list is endless.  Data Aggregaters : They collect the information to harmonize / group it and channel it according the needs of the customers. Naturally they provide feeds in open standards for interpretation and usage. The customers could choose the individual content for every channel they subscribe to.  Integrators / ISVs : Interpreting the feeds and building intelligence from the raw data. This can be executed at different levels of sophistication and refinement. In the simplistic form, the data can be processed and presented in a way to be interpreted by the user to draw his own conclusions. Additionally the same data can be interpreted in much more sophisticated way to actually draw intelligent conclusions and suggest the user the further course of action.    All this processing and interpretation happens inside the X-APPs and the data from both inside and outside is presented to the user side by side.
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