Jun 5

Nat Torkington

Nat Torkington

Web 2.0 Is From Mars, Enterprise Is Up Uranus

Jim brings a welcome "inside the firewall" perspective to Radar. We were talking about Web 2.0 vs SOA vs "Enterprise SOA" (which had us all reached for the barf bags) and Jim came up with this great line about the mindset that could coin the phrase "Enterprise SOA": "Their worldview is one of control over the enterprise". I agree completely.

The Enterprise and Web worlds use different frames, like Lakoff's political frames: one is the stern father (the IT department) with strict rules, transgressors to be punished; the other is the nurturing parent (the API provider) who encourages experimentation, self-development, and happiness. These two have trouble seeing inside each other's world-view.

By way of illustration, SOA reminds me of the engraving over the entrance to the University of Wyoming's engineering department in Laramie: CONTROL OVER NATURE IS WON, NOT GIVEN. That fits with the command-and-control mentality. Web 2.0 would never say "CONTROL OVER USERS IS WON, NOT GIVEN".

We could reframe all the Web 2.0/Internet rules as Enterprise rules quite easily.

Metcalfe's Enterprise Law: The security risk of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users.

Reed's Enterprise Law: The downtime of a network grows exponentially with the size of the network.

Moore's Enterprise Law: If you wait 18 months you can buy twice as much computational power for the same money, therefore you should never upgrade.

Torvald's Enterprise Law: Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are exploited.

Godwin's Enterprise Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a lawsuit due to someone being offended approaches one.

Brooks's Enterprise Law: Adding more people to a late software project is the only way to appear to be doing something about it.

Enterprise Definition of Social Software: software that wastes more time as more people use it.

I appear to have left my point behind, but that's okay :)

tags: just fun, the long view, web 2.0  | comments: 9   | Sphere It

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Comments: 9

  Chris [06.06.08 07:08 AM]

Jim? Jim who?

After reading the late John McMillan's excellent book Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets, I'm convinced Enterprise SOA is very much like centralized communist control -- doomed to failure. And Web 2.0 is akin to a dynamic free market free to adapt to its customers' needs.

  Michael H [06.06.08 07:21 AM]

Some of those updated Laws were pretty funny. Especially since they seem so true.

  Reedo [06.06.08 08:09 AM]

I enjoyed reading the Enterprise Laws, and I assume that this entry is very much tongue-in-cheek, but I hope it's clear that Web 2.0 and SOA/Enterprise SOA are as different as they are because they solve different problems, meet different goals. The point of Web 2.0 is to empower users and third-party vendors, so that the vendor's offering benefits from network effects. The point of SOA/Enterprise SOA is to empower an enterprise to do its work in a more flexible, adaptable fashion through a decentralized/network organization of its software. Different purposes merit different approaches. There's no reason an enterprise couldn't simultaneously use SOA in its software projects and Web 2.0 in its collaboration among employees.

The interesting bit is to think about using Web 2.0 tech to implement an SOA, e.g., a Web 2.0 API is a service, RSS is a messaging/monitoring mechanism, a mashup is a "composite application"... Sort of like how Web 2.0 is messily accomplishing what the Semantic Web was about.

  a [06.06.08 08:19 AM]

I just attended a 1 day conference on SaaS. It is interesting that the successful companies in this space generally mix their business between cloud apps to SOHO and small businesses and enterprise versions and see no difference or conflict between this. However, it should also be noted that those companies are, for the most part, not Web 2.0 companies in the O'Reilly usage, but rather traditional SW companies that have migrated to server delivered, browser run applications architecture that is just repackaging old ideas.

  Edward Vielmetti [06.06.08 03:00 PM]

these are awesome versions.

I'll add Postel's Enterprise Robustness Principle: Be conservative in what you send, run it past legal first.

  Stanium [06.07.08 04:01 AM]

It was fun to read the Enterprise rules :) And for most part I agree with Reedo: Web 2.0 and SOA/Enterprise SOA serve different purposes and pursue different goals.

  gnat [06.08.08 04:32 AM]

@Ed: great addition, thanks!

  Bogon The Magnificent [06.10.08 11:16 AM]

Sorry, mate, but you clearly know nothing about Enterprise IT. Your views seem to have come from Uranus indeed...

  Apurva [11.25.08 10:52 AM]

The Enterprise Laws are really well said. Just like Michael H said, funny and so true. As for the primary context of this post, I would say that your perspective is pretty correct, but not for long. Web 2.0 and enterprise do not Gel well because of the current forms they are in. Web 2.0 applications today are very very user centric, social, fun etc. However that does not mean that the collaborative strengths of these applications can't be made to work within the Command and Control structure of the Enterprise. Like you rightly state, Enterprises cannot agree with software not being behind their firewall, and the size of the network is directly proportional to the risks attached to it, we as an application developer (of an enterprise application: felt these facts affecting our adoption in the enterprise a couple of years back, when we launched 1.0 as a pure 'SaaS' offering. To over come this desperate enterprise urge of wanting things behind their firewall and needing the whole 'ownership of the system', We built 2.0 into a software appliance that contained everything the software required to run, behind the corporate firewall, along with the optional capability to allow our team to remotely access it to provide hands on support, customizations etc. Now about 70% of our customers use the appliance, and the rest (the smaller companies) still prefer SaaS.

The appliance model is just one of the ways to work around the Enterprise - Web 2.0 'compatibility issues' I am sure Web 2.0 application creators will think of more, as its a clear fact that enterprise applications mean way stronger revenue streams than what even the most popular consumer applications can dream of. And where there is revenue, there is bound to be innovation


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