Widgets and the Rise of Niche Enterprise applications
- Widgets are an extreme case of the decomposition of monolithic business functions and applications.
- Very few widgets can suit everybody
- Widgets are orders of magnitude cheaper to produce than their nearest cousin
- Widgets can take advantage of SOA and the re-use of business functions
- Widgets can be “mashed-up”; on the client- again much cheaper than traditional composite applications.
- Widgets can be tailored to processes, industry, roles, even to the individual user because of the simplicity and low cost of creation.
- Widgets are an example of a technology that will support mass customization
Analogy: Democratization of Music industry The Internet broke down the monolithic music distribution system that I think can be analogous to the giant business functions in Enterprise Software. What emerged was a explosion of different music genres that consumers can relate to more deeply. The result is that the “one size fits all” mega music hit machine of the centralized music label is dead, probably forever. The effect is that there is a large ecosystem of music producers which in turn favors the platform distributors (iTunes + iPod) over the labels. Music labels that are successful will have to stop spending exorbitant amounts of money for a generic hit that everyone will “enjoy” and harness niche markets like “Down-Tempo”, a sub-genre of electronic music crossed with lounge jazz and target smaller audiences. The Trend: “Custom Bred” versus Best of Breed software producers The end of Oracle’s big spending spree marked the time of death for “Best of Breed”. Both producers and customers want suites of software that work seemlessly together. Custom Bred applications are applications taylored to smaller and smaller user bases. This allows for use specific customization of UI interaction and client-side mash-ups on top of service enabled Best in Class suites. Easily developed custom tailored software on top of SOA will kill “do the least for the most” mentality– which is a major contributor to our end-user’s dislike of using enterprise software. Niche requirements which once (and still do) caused an explosion of features that are useless to most, will support the rise of great targeted Enterprise 2.0 applications built on top of enterprise platforms (like Netweaver) from low-cost ISVs (3 people in a garage) and Do It Yourself IT departments. All we need now is a popular uprising 🙂