Enterprise IT has changed and for those of us that work there it’s been obvious for years.
Enterprise can’t keep up with the changes that are happening in the software world and no amount of Agile or Scrum is going to change that.
Look at the connected solutions offered to SMEs and see how Enterprise can be outpaced. SME IT has changed and accelerated. Look at the proliferation of amazing services that are on offer via WordPress, Google and interconnected apps – MailChimp, Trello, Asana, TypeForm, Zapier. These are SaaS solutions that integrate with your existing workflows and allow you to optimise your business processes – follow leads, build CRM, save time, make money.
This level of system integration is no accident. It’s built on top of some clever glue – around web services, around backends that communicate through APIs and authenticate using tokens. Security is built in and expected at all levels.
Corporate IT departments can’t keep up, they struggle with the idea of these kind of systems sharing information and the silo in business is definitely there to stay.
The only way the connected, SaaS-type infrastructure is allowed in corporate land is when it’s in a silo. Look at Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) – a tower of continuous integration and deployment goodness. Lots of interfaces, lots of possibilities but never as connected or as agile as the wild west frontier now tamed by web services. It’s a silo which acts like at connected SaaS infrastructure but essentially will never be as flexible. When it needs to be connected it has to rely on the usual corporate touch stones such as Active Directory and LDAP.
Whilst all of this may seem a great opportunity for the SME – questions remain. While a lot of the enterprise platforms are cost effective for big business, these connected backend solutions can be expensive. Templates for WordPress can run into thousands, TypeForm and Zapier or SaaS accounting packages can set you back hundreds a year – an SME must be making a good amount to be able to justify these costs and even then you’re essentially at the whim of service outages, Terms and Conditions, price hikes and lock-in to proprietary systems.
So what’s the answer? Silo or SaaS? Is there a way through the maze? How can you get reliability, flexibility and cost effectiveness at all scales of business?