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Updating the real-time enterprise

As Lana Gates and Jack Vaughan point out in their cover story (Status update: The real-time enterprise ), the corporate quest for the so-called real-time enterprise has rambled along for a few decades or so. Throughout these years, executives have ordered IT to produce systems that can provide key data in real time, a loosely defined term that can confuse even the brightest developer.

The Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) rage a few years back, along with other emerging technologies, prompted a June 1999 cover story in these pages about a so-called real-time revolution. At the time, our reporters found several experts who declared that new middleware technologies had the potential to fundamentally change the way large corporations did business. We wrote about the promise of the zero-latency enterprise and the enterprise nervous system.

But a flagging economy and the simultaneous bursting of the EAI bubble stalled efforts to create a real-time enterprise. As this month's authors point out, corporations became reluctant to take on any large project, much less one with some real risk. Nevertheless, some major players, like IBM, SAP and PeopleSoft, are preparing for another wave of real-time activity to emerge in better times. IBM, for example, has boosted its real-time technology with a few acquisitions, including once high-flying EAI tool supplier Crossworlds.

Gates and Vaughan take a look at the latest efforts to renew the real-time enterprise push with new labels like the ''event-driven organization'' or the ''performance-driven enterprise'' to solve a problem that still exists after all these years.

Meanwhile, regular contributor Colleen Frye looks at the emergence of so-called collaborative development as more and more corporate IT development organizations deal with the complex issue of bringing together widely distributed development teams that may cross departmental or even company boundaries. When projects need specific expertise, managers must often look far and wide to find it. Thus, Frye notes, the need for enhanced collaboration and teamwork among corporate developers is becoming paramount.

For this story, Frye talked to IT organizations utilizing tools built to support open-source collaboration that are then extended to allow the use of proprietary technologies, a key requirement for most corporations. Frye found these new tools take a page from open source, both in terms of building community -- one of the strengths of the open- source world -- and in working in distributed teams across the Internet.

Best regards,
Michael W. Bucken

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.

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