For the topic, ‘Enterprise Applications’ is perhaps more common term but there were some disputes over it. Indeed, the word ‘enterprise’ has some special habits or meaning in IT field. In many cases, it is more like a summary of the technical features for some of applications: mass data, multi-users, concurrent operations, distributed computing, load balancing, integration, and so on. I think that sort of technical features are objective phenomenons, there are different points in different situations, not much doubt just about them.
In the essay, however, I will a bit avoid this common sense, as the use ‘for enterprises’ implied: the ‘enterprises’, is referred to as a generalized user, that is, businesses or organizations which could be commercial, nonprofit, government, and so on. And, in comparison, there are the applications for Individuals.
“As a user,” it reflected the primary position I like to stand on: talking about the applications from the using perspective, and then, it would be (naturally) taken into some technical issues/needs and some thing could be out of the common views, such as the model-driven as an essential requirement come from Customers.
In fact, to an application for an enterprise, who is a user, that is a question: the users could be an organic group comprised of different roles, which cooperates with each other, with some scheduled objectives and management.
For example, the multi-users (mass users) is not a unique characteristic to the applications for enterprises. (yet, the mass data, concurrent operations, etc.) An application for individuals can also has huge users (such as an email system) or mass-data, and so forth.
So, what is the characteristics of the applications for enterprises? In to my experience and understanding, there are three basic characteristics:
The first, organizational objectives and strategy: it can be decomposed into a complex structure or organic composition, can include many different levels and interrelated goals. Organizational objectives for the applications are always of the business, rather than software features.
The second, collaboration: It not merely need to support open and dynamic work groups, but also to support individuals, organizations, internal, external, multi-layered, complex collaboration.
The third, the fitness for management: a concept I coined according to Dr. Joseph M. Juran’s concept fitness for use, that is, the quality which satisfy the requirements for managing the applications. For example, from the using planning, the process and outcomes, the authorization and state of operators, the logs of the operations and the traceability, to the configuration, deployment, etc., all of these are required to provide specific functionality to support.
In contrast to these, all of the pure technical features are not the nature of the applications for enterprises, though, of course, some technical features are necessary in most cases, but it may also be needed for some applications for individuals. Based on the user’s and the organizational position but not the IT position, this is the key point for the essay, and it can also bring us new demands and inspiration to our technology.