Mr. Lott has been involved in over 70 software development projects in a career that spans 30 years. He has worked in the capacity of internet strategist, software architect, project leader, DBA, programmer. Since 1993 he has been focused on data warehousing and the associated e-business architectures that make the right data available to the right people to support their business decision-making. Steven is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 141 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile
Why is the Bar Set so Low for Enterprise Applications?
It occurs to me that much of "Big IT" creates a well-oiled
organization that makes broken software seem acceptable. The breakage is
wrapped in layers of finely-tuned process.
Consider a typical Enterprise Application. There's a help desk, ticket
tracking, a user support organization that does "ad-hoc" processing, and
a development organization to handle bug fixes and enhancement
requests. All those people doing all that work.
If people need all that support, then the application is -- from a simplistic view -- broken.
The organization, however, has coped with the broken application by
wrapping it in layers of people, process, tools, technology, management
and funding. The end users have a problem, they call the help desk, and
the machine kicks in to resolve their problem.
It is a given -- a going-in assumption -- a normal, standard expectation
that any enterprise software is so broken that a huge organization will
be essential for pressing forward. It is expected that good software
cannot be built.
We're asked to help a client create a sophisticated plan for the New Enterprise
App support organization. Planning this organization feels like
planning for various kinds of known, predicted, expected failures.
Failure is the expectation. Broken is the standard operating mode.
Consider a typical non-Enterprise Application. Let's say, the GNU C
compiler. Or Python. Or Linux. An almost entirely volunteer
organization, no help desk, no trouble tickets, no elaborate support
organization plan. Yet. These products actually work flawlessly.
They're not wrapped in a giant organization.
Why is the bar for acceptability so low for "Enterprise" applications? Why is this tolerated?