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The Balkanization of Acme Corp.

The Internet is a prototype. As a platform it is highly useful -- if I want to research films, I have a plethora of information at my fingertips. If I want to get news, I have thousands of choices. The Web is a clearinghouse composed of thousands of servers and users spanning the globe with sites and systems wholly dedicated to one particular use. Businesses are a microcosm of that architecture with one system running CRM, another for the Website, and still another for e-mail. Financials are closed off from other systems, and the business’ file server may be inaccessible to your corporate extranet, etc., etc.

With so many disparate systems performing their own useful tasks, but doing so isolated from one another, many businesses suffer from a Balkanization of their business processes. Without the integration of these systems, businesses miss out on efficiencies of information integration.

Pejorative Skepticism

Enter Internet Presence Management, the art of bringing a company’s business processes to the Web. One of the little-known (and seldom practiced) arts of Web development is the art of systems integration. While traditional systems integrators are expert in taking existing fully-cooked software and marrying it to other fully-cooked products, Web developers have grown up creating usable applications from scratch. Naturally, there’s not a lot of overlap in traditional Web development and systems integration, and sometimes even some animosity.

Without creating a North-South debate, we can understand that systems engineers, database architects, and software engineers often look at Web development with pejorative skepticism. Web developers may even be seen as spammers and scam artists; no way are systems integrators going to let a Web developer near their applications! These individuals miss out on the fact that Web developers can offer them a shifting, more egalitarian creed for application management. Together, each team can compliment the other.

Shape Changers Rule the World

It happens all the time. An accounting department gets the order from the CEO:

Our best customers don’t have a way of seeing their orders and shipments in real time. They need to know where their orders are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And they need that service at no extra cost.


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