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Age of Dynamic Business Applications

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Dean Hager from Lawson came on to follow-up on the dynamic business applications story. Dynamic means “continuous change, activity, or progress” and Enterprise Applications “suck at this” to use his words. But this is a problem as the world is changing – people change, events cause change, the business climate changes and more. He asked a series of questions:

  1. Is your business information strategy focused on how many reports you can create or how many you can eliminate?
    He gave an example of a shoe company that found reports were for two purposes – looking for events that needed action and real reporting for analysis. They eliminated the event-hunting reports and replaced them with an event-based dashboard approach
  2. Does your organization’s user workspace drive conformity or productivity?
    All too often conformity is prioritized by IT, legal and finance, for instance. You can now build a workspace that really works – lots of new tools – and this is a good place to start.
  3. Is your workspace strategy focused on creating a work environment for users or exploiting one they already love?
    So, for instance, finance people like Excel while line managers like Outlook, younger employees like Facebook. Find ways to bring application elements to these environments. Mash it up.
  4. Does the need for compliance prevent you from adapting your systems to evolving business needs?
    He used an example of a business-owned business process but all I could see was a hugely complicated process where a simple one – with a decision or two – would have done. Why do people try and use process and workflow to control decisions?
  5. When is the most cost-effective time to make changes on your new development?
    How would your ownership experience change if you could manage your project via a living blueprint forever?
    Clearly hand-coding makes this impossible so design patterns and model-based development can help with this (as can business rules, obviously). Code generation from models (which is what Lawson does) is fundamentally flawed as we all know.

Success may be eliminating reports not creating them. Smart UI design drives productivity not conformity. Mashups let you exploit what your users already love. Workflow process can evolve with integrity and attacking software flexibility requires change at source – move to models and not hand coding.

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