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Suresh Sambandam

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Related Topics: Cloud Computing, SaaS Journal, Cloud Expo on Ulitzer, Platform as a Service, Cloud Application Management

Cloud Computing: Blog Post

Unifying the Enterprise Application Puzzle

How The Enterprise Software Industry Has Evolved Over the Last 20 Years

Fifteen to twenty years ago, enterprise application development, as we know today, wasn’t all that clear. All I can deduce, in a retrospective analysis – digging the internet, is that people knew the different puzzle pieces that were needed, in building an enterprise application. For example,

  • Need for abstracting business rules for modifying rules separately from the rest of the application lead to the creation of the the BRE category with companies like iLog (now with IBM), Selectica (my ex-employer which is no longer in the BRE space – sad!),  Talarian – now with TIBCO (I used Talarian’s RTIE when I was at HP to build Fraud Detection System for Vodafone), and it's interesting to see Tom Laffey of Talarian still at Tibco as EVP of Products & Technology) and the opensource DRools and Jess
  • Need for abstrating Workflow, when Workflow logic became a dominant portion of the application, lead to a whole new category called Workflow, which later modified itself to BPM, resulting in companies like Savvion and jBPM
  • Similarly, Presentation Layer has seen tremendous innovation that lead to AJAX that is being predominately used across the board today
  • When people realized using vanilla -  ODBC / JBDC was making their life complicated (there are friends like Sriram - who will argue the other way) lead to another whole new category leading to companies like TopLink later acquired by Oracle. And, in the opensource world fully dominated by Hibernate . As I write this post, there is another big war on SQL vs NoSQL potentially leading to another innovation in this space

Now, all of this is great, great, great.  Let me make that clear, first. However, over time all these individual puzzle pieces that are required for building enterprise software have become isolated infrastructure stove pipes. While there has been tremendous amount of talk on eliminating application stove pipes very little has been done in the infrastructure space.

Enterprise Software industry has been successful in solving the individual puzzle pieces on a stand alone basis. However, a unified platform that blends (I am purposefully saying blending instead of integrated – e.g. coffee making is a fine art of blending with chicory – not mixing) all of these puzzle pieces is/was elusive. Today, what industry does is a mega-gluing exercise when building an enterprise application. There is still a great deal of unfinished business in this space. And, Cloud brings in the market momentum for finishing that business.

Just to elaborate with one example, unification is not calling an API from your application to the Workflow / BPM Engine to perform a state transition. That approach would mean passing as much context information as required, to the WF engine to perform the state transition. The application is a stranger to the WF / BPM engine is concerned. I see many BPM projects fail miserably just because of this.  Unfair to target BPM alone – this applies to other softwares that are part of the puzzle (like BRE, etc).

Some would argue that not all enterprise applications need all these pieces. Yes, I agree. But a vast majority that falls into ‘enterprise business applications’ need all of these pieces preferably in a ready to consume fashion – with no need to build or glue any infrastructure or plumbing code.

Among other capabilities OrangeScape has solved this piece in a very unique manner (blend???) which I will elaborate on in an another post (this post has become big already)!

More Stories By Suresh Sambandam

After an initial entrepreneurial stint for three years at the age of 19, Suresh Sambandam went on to work at Hewlett-Packard. Later, Suresh joined Selectica and rose to senior position, as Director of e-Insurance product division in a short-span. The e-Insurance division and its products were later acquired by Accenture. Suresh is a technocrat specializing in product engineering with expertise in software architecture for complex enterprise applications, inference engines, configuration engines, rule-based computing and enterprise middleware. He has applied for multiple patents. Suresh is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology startups and spends a significant amount of personal time in the start-up ecosystem in Chennai. Suresh is a member of the National Council for Emerging Companies Forum and also a core committee member of Product Forum at NASSCOM. He also does mentoring for budding entrepreneurs at IIT Bombay, E-Cell. Suresh is a regular speaker at various industry forums & academic institutions.

Suresh is the Founder & CEO of OrangeScape. OrangeScape is a platform (PaaS - Platform as a Service) to develop process oriented business applications that can be deployed "On Cloud" and "On Premise". OrangeScape supports platforms like Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure as cloud deployment option and Microsoft .Net and J2EE as on-premise deployment options. OrangeScape has 50+ customers including global brands like Unilever, Citibank, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Fullterton, etc. OrangeScape in the only Indian company has been featured in the PaaS research reports of Forrester and Gartner. OrangeScape has been featured as 'India's Rising Tech Stars' by Forbes(US) magazine. OrangeScape was showcased as one of the 3 emerging product companies in India by Nasscom and was also awarded 'Top IT Innovations' for 2 consecutive years.