Evolution of Business Practices using technology

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I witnessed a presentation given by a Microsoft engineer on the effects of increasing expectations on Information Infrastructure. The presentation was very insightful and further gives focus to what Microsoft is doing in its mission to connect the information worker. If you think about it there are basically 6 issues that face organizations today in the area of information technology management. These challenges can be found in almost any organization regardless of the vertical industry they are located in. These technology issues include:

  • Securing and Scaling an ever increasing amount of content.
  • Universal system access across a wide band of technology platforms.
  • Interoperability of platforms across a range of technology.
  • Users expect connected communication and collaboration between their peers.
  • Personalized data access no matter what the method of access whether its mobile or the user is in their office environment.
  • Integrated workflow and process management.

Now there may be unique needs in each vertical market, but mostly all information technology systems. Users are increasingly demanding access to this type of information and as IT managers and leaders it is our job to provide these resources. The problem comes in with effectively making all these disparate systems share information in an easy way. The preferred method is using XML technologies since XML is about data and the source of that data is not important as long as you can accurately describe the data.

Most users have problems learning many different user interfaces and ever interface the user uses reduces their productivity. This could be referred to as user pain. Its painful for users to have to switch between these various systems. In order to gain the most ROI on our technology investments we need to provide methods for users to do their work in a variety of systems and pull and push data to these systems. The method for doing this is XML and web services. There are many companies that are doing just this. They connect to Oracle Databases, PeopleSoft, or SAP backends all from the same interface. They companies that have created these types of interfaces receive much better ROI on their technology systems and as a result gain a more competitive advantage over their competitors.

I would suggest that companies who do not start to think in terms of trying to pull these systems together to allow better collaboration between the employees of their companies will have a difficult time competing in the coming years. This is one of the reasons you should be implementing systems that conform to standards for XML and web services. If the systems you are purchasing follow standards then you will have a easier time of integrating it with other systems when the time comes. In fact since the goal is to integrate systems should be your goal you should think in terms of how a particular system will interact in regards to the other systems you already have an investment at the onslaught of the purchasing process. This should not just be considered for shrink wrapped applications but also systems that you develop your self or have custom programmed for your business. These are some of the items you need to consider as you prepare your business for the evolution of business using technology.