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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

March - 2008 - issue > Technology

Driving Enterprise Agility

Ram Menon
Friday, February 29, 2008
Ram Menon
Even as an army of technology innovators led by the likes of Google, Yahoo!, Netflix and MySpace continue to raise the bar for consumer experience with highly interactive services — most makers of enterprise applications are struggling to keep pace with the rate of innovation shown by their Web based cousins. In contrast to the flexibility shown by the Web innovators in pulling and personalizing information at will from a variety of sources, achieving the same in the world of enterprise applications has proven to be a herculean task.

Organizations have tried to solve this problem by Web enabling applications, which involves processing user requests at the server and serving HTML pages accessed through the Web browser. However, while this method is low in cost, it offers limited functionality. The other option is to deploy thick client applications that are rich in functionality, but are expensive due to huge costs of management, installation, deployment and end user support. What is the way out?
The answer lies in AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript in XML), a class of technologies that allows the Web browser to get data without having to refresh the page. Using AJAX, organizations can build Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). A post in Wikipedia defines RIAs as “a cross between Web applications and desktop applications, transferring some of the processing at the client end.” AJAX, along with complementary technologies such as SOA and BPM promise to unleash a breath of fresh air in the stoic world of enterprise computing. This combination has the potential to bring in desired features such as interactivity and usability that is found lacking in many Web enabled enterprise applications. Let us see how these three technologies are leading the march of enterprise software applications on the ladder of productivity.

The Power of Three

With SOA, rigid architectures have given way to loosely coupled architectures where integration between enterprise applications is flexible and cost effective. Similarly, with BPM (Business Process Management) tools, business processes can be modeled and existing business processes can be tweaked to quickly align IT with business needs.

The combination of BPM with SOA has given organizations the foundation to build composite applications. Composite applications are applications, which can be created by combining functionality drawn from multiple systems (legacy and new applications) within service-oriented architecture. This gives organizations the power to leverage and extend existing applications, with the ability to modify processes or applications as the business demands. Now with AJAX, the missing piece in the enterprise jigsaw is complete. What SOA was to the backend, AJAX is to the front-end. AJAX extends the benefits of SOA by giving organizations the ability to quickly access reusable information business processes exposed as services using the ubiquitous Web browser. This approach allows organizations to cost effectively deliver browser-based applications that perform like desktop applications.

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