There is a lot of chatter about the public cloud these days. But, the data tells us that the majority of enterprises are actually investing heavily in “Private Clouds” (see article about Gartner Private Cloud report). They are starting with efficient virtualized infrastructures and moving up the stack to “infrastructure platforms as a service” (IPAAS). The reality is that the new cloud technologies are enabling the enterprise to get the cost benefits they seek on their own without losing control. So, the private cloud trend is accelerating and maturing.
This article talks about the next step in the Private Cloud stack for the enterprise. Now that they are gaining this highly efficient infrastructure platform, what are they doing about the application tier of the enterprise stack. For most, they are still following legacy approaches based upon custom development. 80% of the applications are based upon .Net or Java. Largely these are the “mission critical” apps. Yet, all enterprises have a huge set of applications that are now referred to as “business critical”. These applications are less transactional and more about collaboration and work management processes. These are the apps driving the programs, processes, projects, requests, tasks, analytics, collaborative work that drive the bigger decisions and work in enterprises. This is where CorasWorks plays.
So, if you are an enterprise company, and want to leverage your private cloud to address your business critical application needs – what direction do you go?
Let’s look at the status quo scenario. You invest in your Private Cloud. This provides you with an efficient, scalable, and stable infrastructure. You open it up to your horde of custom development professionals (internal IT and external vendors). They start custom building all of your business critical applications, as well as, porting or building your mission critical applications. Or, you start buying COTS applications from third party vendors and loading them all onto the shared infrastructure and learning to support them. Basically, those organizations following this approach are using the same application delivery paradigm that the enterprise has followed for the last 20 years.
So, you gain infrastructure efficiency, but, your application delivery capacity is the same as it always has been. What if you could gain similar efficiencies up the stack at the application tier? Let’s look at a CorasWorks enhanced alternative…
CorasWorks provides an integrated work management application platform that runs on Microsoft SharePoint. It enables you to buy and build a very broad range of business critical applications. Yet, it enables you to change your approach to drive a new level of effectiveness at the application tier.
Okay, so let’s first talk about the application stack (the what) before we talk about the new value drivers that CorasWorks brings to the enterprise.
- You start with your wonderful Private Cloud infrastructure as above. You get the same efficiency gain – that is good.
- On top of this you deploy SharePoint (say SharePoint 2010 or SharePoint 2013). This gives you the core information worker infrastructure and the base capabilities for content management. But, before you revert to custom development on this platform, let’s keep going.
- Then, you drop in the CorasWorks v11 Application Platform. This contains the enabling work management application software – all of the actual complied code.
- On top of this you start to deploy all of the business critical applications that you need. You buy then from CorasWorks or partners or you build them using the CorasWorks platform.
How does this change things in the application tier?
- The CorasWorks application platform is designed to enable “builders” (our word for the next gen developer using configuration vs. coding) to create applications or customize existing applications without new compiled code – just using the browser. This means that your SharePoint environment and infrastructure remain unusually pure and stable.
- The business critical applications range from simple work management applications, to complex composite applications even integrating with external enterprise systems and public cloud applications, and, broad and deep inter-connected, distributed business systems. So, you have a broad range of supported applications within this one, stable environment.
- The environment is an enterprise, multi-tenant environment. Many apps of different types across the environment based upon a common platform. A couple times a year you upgrade CorasWorks and keep going.
- It is an OpenApp system. Any employee, vendor, or CorasWorks can come in and modify an application (if allowed) or create a new one or enhance and extend an existing one without a) waiting for a change by an application vendor (comparative to COTS apps) or b) being dependent on some custom development professional to modify the code and then get it deployed and supported.
- Business users are empowered to make simple, but important and relevant, process/application changes with proper training vastly reducing ongoing requirements gathering, development, and support costs and accelerating the positive impact of business innovation and continuous improvement.
- The applications and their design patterns are extensively re-usable. Many would think that an HR Staffing Request app, a Manufacturing Materials Storage app or a Legal Organizational Conflict of Interest app are very different applications. In this new app platform world you find out that they are all based upon a common “request management” design pattern and easily repeatable reusing existing generic apps. This has a vast reduction in costs, risks, and increase in stability and supportability.
- All of the applications in this next generation work environment are natively integrated. They are all based upon CorasWorks and running within the SharePoint based work environment. CorasWorks has the unique capability to bridge common structural barriers of SharePoint to enable inter-connection of applications – natively.
- Because the cost of change (new apps, integration, enhanced features, process changes) is so much smaller and easier, your enterprise business becomes more agile and more innovative.
- Based upon the above, you can now standardize your application service delivery operations leveraging re-usable generic app catalogs, application design patterns, portable features, agile delivery processes, self-service and empowerment, and native integration (reducing enterprise duplication).
CorasWorks’ customers have been realizing the benefits of the above for more than 10 years at the application level. The difference over the last few years is that the ramp to Private Clouds has provided a more efficient and scalable operating environment. It has also started driving a common view of the stack – folks are looking to do at the application tier what they are doing at the infrastructure tier. We are now seeing this full stack approach using CorasWorks being implemented in the largest enterprises (100,000+ users) down to small 15 person companies (that yes have a very scalable efficient Private Cloud infrastructure).
In the status quo scenario the enterprise is not getting the benefits at the application level of their private cloud. Their progress gets stuck in the same old paradigm. By adding CorasWorks and SharePoint to the stack they change the outcome. The result is a reduction in the cost and risk of application delivery. It drives a much, much greater degree of re-usability and re-purposability and therefore application delivery efficiency. And, it enables organizations to be far more agile with their business critical applications, which is where the innovation and continuous learning and improvement really makes a difference.
Note that I am not saying that we will address all of your business critical application needs. But, assume that we can address half or just a third of this vast and growing part of your application portfolio within the above model. It makes it the GoTo platform – if the app fits then it is the way to go. What value does that create for your enterprise?