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Bringing enterprise software down to earth

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The term “enterprise” software has generally been used to describe software applications that businesses (often, larger businesses) use to handle in-house operations like accounting, business intelligence, communication, customer relationship management and human resources. These tools were traditionally combined in headquarters-based data centers, often as modular “suites” of software. It also described some vertical, industry-specific software solutions, which were often custom developed in-house and then integrated with existing systems.

More recent developments in enterprise software, spurred by economic challenges, are evolving to accommodate the opportunities (and challenges) offered by cloud computing, the connectivity offered by mobile computing and communication devices, “big data” analytics and social engagement. Businesses increasingly prefer private cloud technology for most workloads. Employees bring their mobile devices to work, greatly expanding system flexibility and functionality but also creating challenges for IT managers in terms of support and data security. As for “ big data,” that’s more fantasy than reality so far, but businesses will be relying less on standard relational databases and more on analytical apps.

To handle business workloads in the future, companies will have a lot of questions to answer about information systems: flexibility, functionality, security, useability, outsourcing, regulatory compliance, and what stays in or out of the company firewall.

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