Day 1 of the BEA user conference in Atlanta, and we start out with a morning of general sessions hosted by Ira Pollack, SVP Sales at BEA; the remainder of the 2-1/2 day conference is all breakout sessions. There’s wifi around but I seem to be missing the conference code necessary to get logged on, so posts will be delayed throughout the conference as I’ll be gathering them up to publish at times when I can get internet access. There’s also not a power source in sight, which could mean that the last parts of this are really delayed as I transcribe them from paper. 🙁
We started out with Mark Carges, EVP of BEA, (who many years ago helped develop the source code for Tuxedo) with a high-level vision of how these technologies can create new types of agile applications, and how BEA is delivering BPM, SOA and enterprise social computing (Enterprise 2.0). He talked about the difference between traditional and situational applications, the top-most point of which is that traditional ones are built for permanance whereas situational ones are built for change: exactly the point that I made last week in my talk at TUCON. He covers other comparative points, such as tightly- versus loosely-coupled, non-collaborative versus collaborative, homogeneous vertical integration in application siles versus heterogeneous horizontal integration, and application-driven versus business process-driven.
He walked us through a few examples of their customers’ portal applications — purely intranet, customer-facing, and public — and one example of BPM in a customer, before moving on to talk about BEA’s strategy and product development, particularly in Enterprise 2.0. He made the point that enterprise applications are having to learn from the consumer-facing Web 2.0 applications by allowing for different types and degrees of user participation. Instead of just listing consumer Web 2.0 applications, however, Carges makes analogies with how the same sort of technology could be used inside an enterprise: Digg-like ranking used for ranking sales tools internally; social bookmarking and implicit connections for internal expert knowledge discovery (much like what IBM is doing with Dogear, which I’m sure that they’ll turn into a commercial product once companies like BEA prove the market for it); mashups for creating a single view of a customer from multiple sources including product, support incidents and account information; and wikis to capture competitive intelligence. This is where their new product suite fits: AquaLogic Pages (to create pages, blogs and wikis), Ensemble (for developers to create mashups) and Pathways (for tagging and bookmarking). All of these mesh with IT governance such as security and versioning, but the content isn’t controlled by IT.
Interesting that the focus of his talk has really been on their new Enterprise 2.0 products rather than portals or BPM; they obviously see this as a strong potential growth area.