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Also posted on: The IM Blog
EnterpriseWeb, which is the name of both the company and its product, set out five years go to solve a major integration issue. Needless to say many industry sages told them to go slowly and not try and boil the ocean. This is generally sound advice. Fortunately, the guys at EnterpriseWeb ignored it. What it provides is “a machine for automating interoperability” or, to put it another way, “model-driven connectivity”.
The problem EnterpriseWeb set out to fix is this: in the cloud (or anywhere else for that matter) applications, and the data that supports those applications, essentially exist as silos. Now, how would you like to connect your applications and/or data? In an ideal world you would like to dynamically connect any combination of either in any logical fashion. That, to me, would be a definition of business agility. And that is what EnterpriseWeb offers, instead of the series of tightly coupled scenarios that are, in effect, hard-wired and which is what you get from traditional solutions. Useful but limited and hardly agile.
EnterpriseWeb works by having a resource pool (data and code, where the former includes reference data, log data and so on, and the latter includes rules, analytics, process logic and so forth) at the bottom of its stack. At the top are intelligent software agents (called SmartAlex) that act as smart intermediaries between the user and the EnterpriseWeb environment and in between the agents and the resource pool are abstract models (called Cloudlets) that define the logic for which resources are to be accessed in order to meet any particular user requests.
Under the covers the environment is based on category theory—a branch of mathematics that is effectively set theory for functions (mappings). As an aside, this is a great example of a rebuff to those people who ask what the point of pure maths is: category theory is generally regarded as pure maths but here it has a real-world application.
Anyway, back to the product: there are a number of other features worth mentioning. First, all indexes and tags are updated automatically so the environment is curated for you. Further, there is cross-process governance built-in with universal version control across the environment. Secondly, you can explore the environment using graph-based visualisation (another aside: when I did my maths degree, graph theory was regarded as pure maths) and, because, EnterpriseWeb understands temporal relationships, you can not only drill down into individual resources you can also look at lifetime history. Thirdly, it is worth clarifying that EnterpriseWeb processes are ACID compliant and, finally, that the product is stateless so doesn’t crash.
This is a pretty cool product. The company has been in business for five years and the product available for three. It is self-funded, profitable and has customers on four continents. So, how come you’ve never heard of it (kudos if you have)? The answer is that, as a relatively small outfit, the company has no sales or marketing (is that refreshing or is that refreshing?): all sales have been by word of mouth.
I am deeply impressed. My only worry is that by exposing the company to public view I could be helping EnterpriseWeb to grow too fast too soon, which is always a danger. Fortunately, the company is already starting to work with partners who should be able to take up any slack. These partners, incidentally, are working on commercial implementations of the technology whereas EnterpriseWeb customers to-date have been largely technical (telecommunications and universities).