Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Perhaps Enterprise Computing -> Prosumer Computing

Tim is on to something here. Methinks there is indeed something distinctly wrong with enterprise systems/enterprise computing in the same way that "enterprise class coffee" or "enterprise class combustion engine" sound distinctly wrong.

Lets take a potted history of how computing has evolved. Where in the ecosystem have the innovation and growth and new "standard models" come from? From enterprise class down or consumer class up?

The latter in most cases I think. Something cool gets invented for use by the masses (or by academics) and then "professional" users look at it and say "Hey! I can use that in my business."

I think a comparison with digital photography is not without merit. There are entry level cameras, there are good-enough cameras, there are prosumer cameras and ... well, after that it is a fuzzy line. Every year - or so it seems to me, something that that was professional-only the year before becomes prosumer and from there often goes all the way down to consumer.

Databases, hypertext engines, word processors, no-nonsense web services...all being born in the non-enterprise space, all climbing their way steadily into what I think of as a prosumer computing space. The big question - how much "enterprise computing" is gradually morphing into prosumer computing? I.e. how much is increasingly based on essentially the same technological bits the masses use for knocking out database apps and editing docs and creating presentations...?

Will there much of anything left which is truly enterprise only?



webmink said...

I think we all saw the potential for this at the turn of the last decade, in the "small pieces loosely joined by networks" vision. Sadly we allowed it to be corrupted by "enterprise quality" into more of the same monoculture that had entrapped us in the 90s into making enormous, brittle systems.

This time - with open source, REST and a drive to open data as our tools - we need to have the collective courage to speak up against the voices of "enterprise quality" who just want to protect their consulting fees...

jnowl said...

Agreed. Been thinking lately about how the new home pc is 4+ times more powerful than my work pc. Leaving aside that the nxt work upgrade cycle will presumably provide me with a more powerful pc it strikes me that there has ~recently~ been a switch to where consumer devices can be more powerful than 'enterprise' devices, to a degree.

Anonymous said...

Databases such as IMS were created for corporate usage. Word processors were created by companies such as Wang to sell to other corporations. Sabre is an early corporate multi-terminal database for selling airplane seats. But you are correct that most formerly enterprise services can now be used in the home. Scheduled consistently good off-site backup is the only thing missing. Perhaps also missing is someone monitoring services to ensure the services are working.