Enterprise packaged apps integration

George Lawrie

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, man is born free and is everywhere in chains. So too Enterprise app deployments are conceived as self contained yet everywhere are integrated with legacy and complementary apps.

My colleague Ken Vollmer and I are looking at packaged apps integration best practices and how these might change as some apps move to the cloud. We are asking:

What kind of middleware do you use?

How do you help process owners to assemble (composite) processes that have transactional integrity?

What do you do about the conflicting data models of apps from different stables – for example yours and those of a third party or perhaps in –house?

How far can so called “canonical” data models and meta data help to overcome such problems?

If you have experience and an opinion about what constitute the top three best practices in such packaged apps integration, or if you can warn about the three most egregious pitfalls to avoid we would love to talk with you.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you at glawrie@forrester.com

Blogs and My Research Lifecycle

John R. Rymer

I’m soon getting a new tool for my work as an industry analyst: A Forrester blog. Before diving into my new blog, I think I should define its role in my work, and get your comments and suggestions.

My Forrester blog is a new part of my research lifecycle (depicted below). I’ve been pursuing some form of this research lifecycle for over 15 years.

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SAP Changes Continue – 10 Predictions for 2010

Holger Kisker

After the recent board changes the strategy will change too

After the recent board changes at SAP the message we could read in most news was like ‘new board – old strategy’. Along with the board changes SAP did not announce (yet) any significant strategic changes. But what good is it to change the board and leave everything else as is?

The recent SAP board changes are just the visible tip of the iceberg of much deeper changes SAP will and has to go through to renew itself as a leading IT vendor. Below are 10 predictions for changes in SAP’s strategic direction I expect within the next 10+ months:

1.    More SAP Board Changes Will Come

Additional board changes will further strengthen the product & technology focus and competence within the SAP board. See also Forrester’s blog on the recent SAP board changes: SAP CEO Resigns – Long Live The Co-CEOs

2.    Business ByDesign Will Get Back Into SAP’s Strategic Center

Business ByDesign will become again the corner stone of SAP’s growth strategy and the successful introduction will mark a ‘make it or break it’ milestone for SAP.

3.    SAP Announces The Next-Generation ERP

SAP will announce a next-generation ERP solution to regain leadership in its core business area and it will likely be based on the ByDesign platform.

4.    SAP Changes Its Cloud Strategy

SAP will rework its whole On-Demand strategy and will unify and align all components based on the ByDesign platform. See also Forrester’s recent blog on SAP’s On-Demand strategy: SAP Is Skydiving Into The Clouds.

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NoSQL And Elastic Caching Platforms Are Kissing Cousins

Mike Gualtieri

The NoSQL Movement Is Gaining Momentum, But What The Heck Is It?

The NoSQL movement is a combination of an architectural approach for storing data and software products (such as Tokyo Cabinet, CouchDb, Redis) that can store data without using SQL. Thus the term NoSQL.

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There Won’t Be A Mobile Channel In Banking Anymore

Jost Hoppermann

The mobile channel is increasingly relevant in business strategies, application architectures and applications of financial services firms. Consequently, we are all aware that the headline represents a strong exaggeration. So, why this statement? Is there any substance in it that application architects, application developers, and enterprise architects need to consider? Interactions with a number of banks indicate that the answer is yes.

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Metrics, Metrics, Metrics – What Do Benchmarks Tell Us Anyway?

Margo Visitacion

A common inquiry request to Forrester is asking for benchmarks for quality.  Testing groups are struggling to figure out how well they’re doing and if the processes they’re fighting for are making a difference.

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11 Meanings of Why-My-BI-Application-Is-Not-Useful

Boris Evelson

When a user of a BI application complains about the application not being useful - something that I hear way too often - what does that really mean? I can count at least 11 possible meanings, and potential reasons:

1. The data is not there, because

  • It's not in any operational sources, in which case the organization needs to implement a new app, a new process or get that data from an outside source
  • It is in an operational source, but not accessible via the BI application.

The data is there, but

2. It's not usable as is, because

  • There are no common definitions, common metadata
  • The data is of poor quality
  • The data model is wrong, or out of date

3. I can't find it, because I

  • Can't find the right report
  • Can't find the right metadata
  • Can't find the data
  • I don't have access rights to the data I am looking for

4. I don't know how to use my application, because I

  • Was not trained
  • Was trained, but the application is not intuitive, user friendly enough

5. I can't/don't have time do it myself - because I just need to run my business, not do BI !!! - and

  • I don't have support staff
  • I am low on IT priority list

6. It takes too long to

  • Create a report/query
  • Run/execute a report/query
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On The Convergence Of BI And BPM

Holger Kisker

When business processes finally become intelligent

Over the past several months I have done a lot of research on the BI market, the trends and the vendor landscape. There is a clear indication that BI solutions are becoming more sophisticated, more intelligent and – more integrated into other applications to enhance the performance of the application supported business processes.

Very recently now, in discussions with BPM vendors like IDS Scheer, HandySoft and many others it became very eminent that from the other side, BPM solutions are moving steadily into the field of Business Intelligence too. The world of BPM and BI solutions are converging to bring intelligent business processes to the market – eventually. However, today we are still some steps away from this picture and the convergence of BPM and BI will likely proceed in smaller steps are outlined in the below BI-BPM convergence model.

Picture2 
  

Today several BPM vendors have actively integrated business intelligence capabilities into their solutions. Larger ones like IDS Scheer have developed their own analytics while smaller vendors like HandySoft are using OpenSorce components offered by JasperSoft and other OpenSource BI vendors. The integration offers users new and consistent insights along the whole business process. A user in this context means both:

a) Business users that are part of the business process get access to relevant information and reports that increase the efficiency of the process, and

b) Business process owners get an insightful analytics of the process metadata to be able to further enhance and streamline the process.

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How Do We Define a "BI Vendor"

Boris Evelson

My colleague, Holger Kisker, just posted a very insightful blog on the convergence of BI and BPM technologies. Yes, Holger, BPM vendors definitely have some BI capabilities. And so do some search vendors like Attivio, Endeca and Microsoft FAST Search. And so do some middleware vendors like TIBCO, Vitria and Software AG. And so do rules vendors like FairIsaac, PegaSystems. Should I go on? I have a list of hundreds of vendors that "say" they are a BI vendor.

But it’s not that simple. First of all, let’s define BI. In the last BI Wave we defined BI as “a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making”. To provide all these capabilities a vendor should have most of the necessary components such as data integration, data quality, master data management, metadata management, data warehousing, OLAP, reporting, querying, dashboarding, portal, and many, many others. In this broader sense only full BI stack vendors such as IBM, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, SAS, TIBCO and Information Builders qualify.

Even if we define BI more narrowly as the reporting and analytics layer of the broader BI stack, we still want to include capabilities such as 11 ones we use to rate BI vendors in the BI Waves:

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Business Capability Architecture: Technology Strategy For Business Impact

Randy Heffner

I talk commonly to architects that are under pressure to create a cloud strategy. Or an SOA strategy. Or a BPM strategy. Or an XYZ strategy. Many will add up a few of these point strategies and call it an overall technology strategy. It’s good to know where we’re going, but is this the right way to do it? No. The problem is that this is technology-focused tech strategy. You can see it in the way we describe applications according to their dominant technology. We call them event-driven apps, or RFID apps, or whatever. Instead, to have a business-focused tech strategy, the starting point should be an understanding of what drives business outcomes. What would that look like?

Business architecture — an important and maturing domain of enterprise architecture — is changing the conversation between business people and technologists. Rather than centering on individual siloed applications, business architecture, at its best, centers conversation on the design of business outcomes and what it takes to achieve them. Within the realm of business architecture, models like business capability maps provide strong mechanisms for understanding and designing a business.

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