Archive for April, 2009

Putting the power of a desktop in your pocket

April 16, 2009

It wasn’t so long ago – fifteen years, in many cases – that most companies were buying their first PCs.

During the last few years, most businesses have opted to eschew desktop computers in favour of a lighter laptop option. But the trend is changing again – and quickly.

The speed of development, both in processing power and mobile capability, means devices are getting smaller. The recent Mobile World Congress helped elucidate this point: the web – and an associated range of content and applications – is moving from the desktop to the pocket.

Providers are developing technologies and software that can help workers deal with information on the move. So, how will such changes in wireless networking affect businesses?

First, flexibility – you can forget being chained to a bulky PC at your desk. Smaller and more powerful devices will allow workers to use a broad staple of enterprise applications in the field.

Second, usability – the increasing power of mobile devices means real-time processing and monitoring becomes a certainty. Customised mobile applications will allow users to react quickly to crucial business intelligence, improving customer service and efficiency.

Third, collaboration – the ability to contact staff through various platforms at any time means companies will be able to quickly develop new modes of work. Cloud-based applications, for example, will enable teams of employees to log-on independently and create joint working documents.

Finally, innovation – new working methods will help your people think and operate in different ways. People can concentrate on exchanging ideas, rather than waiting for an email to arrive.

Positive changes in networking mean IT leaders will also have to keep a tight grip on security policies. It is great that your company’s workers can communicate on the go – but businesses must ensure workers know how to use mobile information in a safe and secure manner.

Such developments mean mobile security is likely to be the next big area for standards and compliance. And when it comes to working in the cloud, the ability to use applications both on and offline will be key to enterprise development.

But if you keep on top of any potential challenges, your workers will be able to benefit from the big four changes – flexibility, usability, collaboration and innovation.

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Does SOA mean software-oriented agility?

April 6, 2009

What was previously very bad just got a whole lot worse. Last year, everyone was talking about a downturn. Now the word is recession.

It’s an important difference: the downturn might have been a temporary blip, but the recession is likely to be prolonged and deep.

With financial budgets likely to be constrained, your options are likely to be limited and meeting business needs is likely to be tougher than ever. So do you want to engineer a way out of the recession?

Your first port of call should be software-oriented architecture, a system for linking resources on-demand that allows you to re-use existing components in new and exciting combinations.

Sounds good – but IT captains steering the choppy waves of the recession should avoid simply dropping anchor at SOA.

The word ‘architecture’ in SOA suggests a once-and-for model; an all-encompassing method for matching user needs with computing resources. If only it was that it easy.

The fast pace of economic and business change means your model for technology use will have to be adapted. It means service-orientation should be seen as no more than a initial destination that helps you work your IT resources smarter and more effectively.

Instead, successful IT departments and successful SOA strategies will be agile, able to respond to changing business demands as quickly and easily as possible.

SOA should be more usefully viewed as software-oriented agility, a flexible way to meet business needs in a time of increasing financial prudence.

Agile software development methodologies promote reflection, inspection and adaptation. Its inherent practices encourage business and IT alignment, providing a snug fit with the re-use principles of software-oriented architecture.

Which means you can start to breath easily again. The recession will provide constraints but IT leaders that adopt software-oriented agility are likely to be best prepared.