Integrate with people

2012-04-18 @ admin

When the Internet bubble burst, it looked as though, at least temporarily, the IT industry had been chastened enough by its experiences to not try to paint every advance in computing technology as the solution to business problems.
Not completely cast aside because they did have real uses, many technologies have spent the last few years quietly making inroads into real applications, and making a difference. For example, users at the recent European Business Rules Conference in Amsterdam reported success in adopting inference engines and other advanced techniques in improving the abilities of applications that employ business rules.
However, there are strong caveats that go with a renewed push into business rules. Users are reporting difficulties with the technologies that often crop up in the IT space, as can be seen in this issue’s Briefing section.
Once again, the problem lies in the interface between people and the technology. At the moment, the vendors are proceeding faster and faster with whizzy new engines and integration with all manner of other tools in the hope of making business rules a fundamental part of that other hangover from the 1990s, business process management.
What the users want is better reporting, better interfaces and stuff to help them put more power in the hands of ordinary users rather than IT specialists. This problem can be seen all over the IT industry right now as vendors have begun to realise that spending is back in fashion.
Technology only gets you so far, and technology without considering the attitude of people often ends up on the scrapheap. Who mourned for Clippy, the Office Assistant? While a half-decent piece of applied artificial intelligence, no amount of programming could overcome the fact that it was just an irritant
Now Microsoft is ripping the guts out of the Internet browser for its Longhorn release of Windows in order to put in a new language that will, the company’s eyes at least, put an end to HTML forms. Yet those changes, at the same time as helping to lock out other vendors, will do almost nothing to improve the way in which web applications are developed or delivered.
People in the financial world, partly because they have lived with IT for so long have come to realise there are limitations to raw computing power. Sometimes that power is just too easy to subvert. And every time a major vendor starts messing about with the underlying technology, it provides new opportunities for security exploits and bugs. The vendors need to take a look at what they are doing and realise what it takes to bring users into the equation or their next boomlet will lead to yet another blowout as users realise they have bought into another batch of partly baked ideas.
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