If you look beyond the nuts-and-bolts debates about enterprise applications, like the current confusion over ESBs, it's possible to discern two opposing forces shaping beliefs about the way software ought to be created.
On the one hand, there's SOA; on the other, Web 2.0.
Ironically, although SOA is a highly distributed architecture, it's also a highly centralized approach to software development. Governance is one of the hottest topics within SOA, and we have seen numerous articles over the past few months proclaiming that without governance, SOA initiatives are doomed. Gartner holds this view.
And governance, above all, means developers conforming to the dictates of a central authority. This is in sharp contrast to Web 2.0, which is profoundly anti-authoritarian.
The face of Web 2.0 in the enterprise is the wiki, and it's a prime example of this point. If you look at a wiki through the eyes of a senior administrator, you will see a database where anybody can edit a record without permission and without regard to any rules whatsoever. That's pretty much anarchy. But, according to one Harvard Business School professor, managers must take a hands-off approach to wikis if they are to work.
A company called Coghead is working on a Web 2.0 concept that's even more scary to IT: do-it-yourself software that can be used by "moderately technical people" to create mini-applications like departmental workflow.
The bottom line here is this: As IT leaders think about the kind of IT environment they want for their companies, they need to strike a balance between centralized authority and those pesky creative individuals who keep taking IT into their own hands.