Open Source in the Enterprise Space
Many consumer or freemium apps take advantage of the cost benefits that Open Source platforms offer, building on previous development work carried out by online communities to offer bespoke functionality for their applications.
Whilst Open Source apps still have very low market share (as little as 1 or 2 percent in the ERP market), software vendors are recognising that in order to integrate effectively into organisations’ IT environments, it is crucial that new as-a-service applications are developed on industry standards. The rise in the use of common public cloud services will mean that many established software vendors are pushed to ensure that they deliver services that can be delivered across these public cloud offerings, by following industry recognised standards for maximum interoperability with other applications.
It is expected that the increased popularity in Open Source development will further penetrate the enterprise application market, and one suggested way cited in Enterprise Apps Today is for Open Source app developers to build on an Open Source core, but develop safer, bespoke software around this that can be supported and commercialised for better security and steadiness.
A key feature of many consumer apps is their ability to integrate into popular application ecosystems. For instance, many SAAS CRM systems (even free versions) come ready with the ability to integrate into mainstream email clients.
Within the enterprise application space, this level of integration is limited. Companies such as Salesforce are looking to create their own standards by creating the Salesforce App Exchange where developers of products that are complimentary to Salesforce’s CRM can develop, integrate and publish apps that work in conjunction with Salesforce.
Outside of initiatives such as this, integration is mainly limited to integration within a vendor’s portfolio set according to a Forrester report. For instance, you can purchase an analytics tool from the same vendor that created the ERP software and integrate the two solutions. Outside of the vendor portfolio, the level of integration is low and adherence to standards is mainly limited to a hardware and infrastructure level.
Improving integration is an obvious objective, however it is not a simple task as enterprise applications consume, produce and store huge amounts of data, and integration between not only different applications, but on premise and cloud services, means that real-time reconciliation of data is critical for the integration work to be deemed a success.
Furthermore, integration work on the part of the software vendor across a number of different applications also ignores the fact that many enterprises have legacy IT infrastructures that do not adhere to the standards warranted by most modern application sets. Consumers are used to the flexibility and agility experienced when accessing web applications across the internet and understandably expect their work applications to meet those same high thresholds of agility and integration.
If you are interested in knowing more about the consumerisation of enterprise applications then read our whitepaper on “The Consumerisation of Enterprise Applications”.