Enterprise Software and Plumbing: We're Still in the Outhouse


On January 19, I said Enterprise 2.0 was alive and well if you - as I do - define Enterprise 2.0 as the combination of ERP and social-computing software. I noted that:

"Twenty years ago we tried to do (integrated back-office/personal-productivity computing) between manufacturing resource planning and office automation software such as IBM Profs, WangOffice and Digital's All-in-One.
"Ten years ago, we saw the attempt to link SAP R/3 and similar back office application products to IBM Notes and primitive document-based workflow products."

In preparing that blog post, I did not know that IBM and SAP that same day would announce another attempt at linking R/3 and Notes. Vinnie Mirchandani cut both to the quick comparing this latest IBM/SAP effort to the similar Microsoft/SAP Duet project of a few years back.


I agree. Based on the press release (I did not attend the IBM/SAP event), this latest announcement and Duet and other attempts are point to point. They fail one of the key parts of my definition of Enterprise 2.0 (also see the January 19 post):

"What Enterprise 2.0you should be able to integrate any social computing software with any ERP, CRM and so forth."

Alloy and Duet are vendor lock-in products. You want the replaceable parts approach to enterprise software first promised with the advent of object orientation (and first delivered in the industrial age with plumbing or the cotton gin or-I forget). You might call them components or services or whatever.


But we're still not there yet. Compared to the interchangeability of plumbing, we're still in the outhouse.