The final session of MuleCon2008's second morning is a panel based upon "Are you Smarter that a Fifth Grader", moderated my Michael Coté of Redmonk. The panel consisted of Dave Rosenberg, Larry Augustin, Jason Maynard and Matt Asay.
The first question was what gets these folk excited in the shower in the morning: SaaS, Web2.0 enterprise/consumer Mashups, or other newly hyped trend. SaaS and mashups seem to be joined in the answers as a way for business users to get around IT by buying what they need on a credit card and expensing back this "rogue IT" service. The question evolved into "Is open source a given?". The answer was "yes" and the discussion segued back into how all these things, SaaS, mashups, open source, allow business users to get what they need quickly. Coté then asked if this meant that there was a "work life retooling" going on that was allowing traditional IT departments to work with Rogue IT implementations. While the consensus seems to be that IT departments were indeed going through the work life retooling to allow Rogue IT implementations, such as with WiFi hot spots or open source, I have to disagree. Every IT group with which we've worked has many regulatory, compliance or responsibility issues that preclude them from allowing Rogue IT. However, if a technology shows its value, even if that value can not be quantified in simple cost-benefits analyses, that technology will be brought into the organization under the IT umbrella, one way or another.
The floor was opened to questions from the attendees.
I asked if the panel would discuss MDM being useless without SOA and vice-versa. They pretty much declined, but Jason did discuss some of his own experiences. The bottom line is that the concepts are difficult, and are only starting to be embraced by developers and companies.
Another question asked why there seems to be so little uptake of open source ERP. I would like to ask the same about OSBI, but didnt' need to do so, as Matt brought it up. At this point, open source seems to fill niches within a given enterprise, and one can build a niche OSBI solution more easily than a niche ERP solution. Larry also pointed out that many large organizations in the US have ERP implemented, and they're not going to rip it out to go open source; however, if you look at other markets, where ERP implementations didn't happen [as part of the Y2K fixes], you can find uptake of open source ERP.
Another attendee pointed out the only the oldest dinosaur can question the quality of open source, yet one still must go underground to implement ERP in most organizations. The panel discussed the difficulties of getting through procurement at a large company, and how tactical implementations [back to rogue IT] rather than strategic are often more plausible. It seems to be a matter of market education, and that takes time. Matt also talked about the post-procurement process, and how that is made easier by open source in that the risk is much less.
BPM, SOA, real-time-enterprise… This nirvana, or any other TLA, doesn't really exist in any enterprise, and many of these concepts are hard sells, whether implemented with open source solutions or not.