One company thats setting an innovation example is Salesforce.com: AppExchange, which debuted this year, gives Salesforce.com customers an opportunity to try out other on-demand applications that integrate with Salesforce.coms offerings.
Now, I dont believe that application rental is a viable financial model for the enterprise—not, at least, for what Salesforce.com charges—but AppExchange illustrates that options for buyers improve considerably when you start with a flexible and extensible architecture.
The one thing Salesforce.com has done exceptionally well—and AppExchange proves this point—is to build an application that can be customized by the customer without causing it to break during upgrades.
Salesforce.com and its partners do need to figure out how to unify management. As it stands, users may never know they are accessing two different applications when using the Salesforce. com service and one of its partner applications. However, administrators do know, because they have to manage each application separately.
One of the biggest problems administrators will face going forward is helping users to manage all of the e-mail they now have to retain (for regulatory and other reasons). This IT problem is a huge opportunity for vendors.
Storage vendors would like us to think its OK to have mailboxes of unlimited size. But, sooner or later, users will need to delete some messages, and theyll invariably delete messages they need. Smart companies will search out products that simplify storage management and make it easy to restore content to the mailbox as needed.
Finally, the changes in the database world that started last year with the introduction of Oracle Database 10g continued this year with most major database vendors releasing new versions. Most notably, IBM, MySQL and Microsoft rolled out updates that will have significant impact due to improvements in administration and scalability.
eWEEK Labs Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at email@example.com.
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