Enterprise software over the decades


Enterprise software started as commercial applications in 60’s & 70’s. The rise of IBM, payroll and inventory applications dominated the market. Disk and tape storage, COBOL language, EDP departments were the offshoots in 60’s and filesystems, DBMS and relational systems got into mainstream.

In 80’s & 90’s the landscape changed completely – LAN, Internet, client server, n-tier, open systems & standards (plus open source), offshoring, outsourcing – made it possible to have enterprise-wide applications – ERP was the  result. Quickly it got extended to SCM, CRM, eMarket, portals and PLM. User expectations changed – browser became the “universal interface”; users expected instant gratifications – results at “mouse click” however complicated was the process behind. Microprocessors commoditized hardware (intel); shrink-wrap commoditized software (Microsoft)

As we move forward consolidation is happening at an unprecedented speed; servers got consolidated; HP, IBM & Sun (that is also gone on April 20, 2009 after Oracle acquisition of Sun); O/S consolidation was next; DBMS, middleware, applications too are getting consolidated. Cloud computing, SaaS / pay per use models are maturing. Web 2.0 tools are there everywhere. Mash-up seems to be the rage. Thanks to SAP, package implementation (not full blown development) has entered the mainstream. System Integrators decide many parts of the stack and not technology vendors alone. 

It will be interesting to watch the further growth of enterprise applications in the next decade (along with the growth of SAP)

Truly enterprise applications have been the force behind many developments in computing in the decades

  • Programing language – COBOL
  • O/S – Solaris, HP-UX
  • DBMS – Oracle, MS SQL Server
  • Architecture – 3-tier, n-tier
  • Middleware – Netwaever, Websphere
  • Environment – Eclipse, J2EE

It will be interesting to watch the impact of technology evolution, user expectation and the morphing of enterprise applications in the next decade

(Talk given at People Summit at SAP Labs, Bangalore on April 23, 2009)

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