April 6, 2006

Microsoft underscores its core paradigm

In a recent column called Three Views From the Top of the Software World (I generally don’t pick my titles, but that was as good as any), I opined that the big vendors had three fundamentally different paradigms from which they viewed enterprise software:

In the IBMOracle view, data — a.k.a. information — is king. IT’s job is to manage the data powerfully, reliably and (not always the top priority) cost-effectively. …

Microsoft’s vision, however, is quite different. It’s first and foremost about empowering people, at least to the extent that making them better corporate employees can be regarded as empowerment. …

While IBMOracle talks about information and Microsoft talks about people, SAP talks about business processes. …

Shortly after I wrote that, Microsoft came out with a sterling example of my claim. They told a story about composite apps. At SAP, composite apps are a business process story. At Oracle, they’re probably a business process story too. But at Microsoft? Read for yourself, in Microsoft’s own words:

The core vision behind what we are doing is Roles Based Productivity. To deliver on this vision, you have to start with “People” and really connect them up to their “work” (i.e. process). In the real world most people’s work is split across multiple applications and the “seams” show. Web Services is the foundational infrastructure that helps us get rid of the “seams”.

I don’t want to suggest I see something wrong with this. All three views are valid, and none of the vendors cited is too extreme (any more) about neglecting the other viewpoints. Still, I think this isn’t just semantics, but rather a fundamental difference in worldviews.


11 Responses to “Microsoft underscores its core paradigm”

  1. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » IBM mixes its paradigms — or does it? on April 10th, 2006 5:39 am

    […] I’ve been writing this month about the three different paradigms used by the leading enterprise software vendors: […]

  2. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » Oracle is mixing its paradigms on December 2nd, 2007 8:47 pm

    […] In the past, I’ve drawn a clear distinction between an IBM/Oracle data-centric view of applications and SAP’s long-standing process-centric view. And I pooh-poohed the appearance that IBM was fuzzing things up a bit. […]

  3. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services » Blog Archive » Oracle and SAP outline different market strategies on April 25th, 2008 12:07 am

    […] I’ve written extensively in the past about the differences between Oracle and SAP’s technical paradigms. (In a nutshell, Oracle is first and foremost about data, while SAP is about business process.) Last week, the respective companies’ CEOs outlined very different business strategies as well. Specifically, SAP’s Henning Kagermann called SAP’s new ByDemand SaaS offering “most important announcement I’ve made in my career,” while Oracle’s Larry Ellison outlined a continued high-end strategy as follows (excerpted from Oracle’s September 20 conference call transcript): Our strategy for growth is to find a way to add more value to the same customers we already serve, which are the large end of the mid-market and large companies. What we’re doing here is moving beyond ERP to industry specific software. So in the telecommunications industry that would be billing systems and network provisioning systems and network inventory systems; core applications to run their business, to run telco. Core applications to run a bank. Core applications to run a retail chain of stores. Core applications to run a utility. That’s our focus, and that allows us to leverage the existing relationships that we have because we already sell databases to these companies, we sell middleware to these companies. We sell ERP and CRM to these companies, and now we want to sell this industry-specific software. […]

  4. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services » Blog Archive » How Hyperion will change Oracle on May 24th, 2008 10:03 pm

    […] and “hypothetical” information simply haven’t mixed well. If this diagnosis is correct, Oracle is exactly the right company to finally solve the problem. And the stakes are certainly high enough to get Oracle’s attention — successful […]

  5. Three kinds of software innovation, and whether patents could possibly work for them | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on March 23rd, 2010 4:19 am

    […] Three standpoints from which to view a software product strategy Categories: Analytic technologies, Business intelligence, Cloud computing, Data warehousing, Parallelization, Software as a Service (SaaS), Theory and architecture  Subscribe to our complete feed! […]

  6. The essence of an application | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on June 1st, 2011 9:35 am

    […] Eventually, there came to be three views of the essence of IT: […]

  7. Why Oracle doesn’t “get it” about apps : The Monash Report on October 7th, 2015 2:31 am

    […] Vendor paradigms […]

  8. Enterprise application software — generalities | Software Memories on November 11th, 2015 5:29 am

    […] in 2006 I laid out a kind of data/UI/business process […]

  9. Coordination, the underused “C” word | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on February 28th, 2017 11:34 pm

    […] glory days of enterprise apps really started with SAP’s emphasis on “business process'”. (“Business process reengineering” was also a major buzzword back in the […]

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  11. ItSecurityWire on January 31st, 2023 5:01 am

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