Commoditization of Business Applications

Posted by Hugh Ang at 8/09/2007 12:19:00 PM

I have been quiet here for the last couple of months. The main reason is that I stepped into the position of vice president of app dev department and became heavily involved in organization management as well as project management at a client. I am also busy collaborating with a colleague on a WCF article that we hope to publish soon.

Being in this particular management position has given me a different perspective on application development. I have been involved in a couple of projects where "buy vs. build" decision was made. Dollars and benefits (ROI) always took precedence over anything else. And it seems obvious that the industry trend is going towards the direction where building everything from scratch is less favored and we see needs for product knowledge and configuration management skills. You can see that with the slew of products like BizTalk, MOSS, Commerce Server 2007, Dynamics, etc. coming out of Microsoft assembly line in a pace like never before.

The trade-off for the product knowledge will be fundamentals and technical skills. An unfortunate effect of this will be that for certain technical issues, the root problems don't get resolved but rather awkward workarounds are contrived at the product level, which could result in convoluted business processes for end users.

For developers, this may not be good news as the creativity aspect (the fun part) of application development is being gradually taken away and it is a big challenge to keep on top of the ever growing list of products.