Monday, December 04, 2006

American Experess and New Enterprise Approach

Dion Hinchcliff over at ZDNet has an update on American Express and their use of Enterprise 2.0. What is interesting to me is that when combined with Paul Greenberg's comments on Reardon Commerce and their supply of "Mashed Services" into the American Express Customer base, what you begin to see is a "Traditional, Conservative Company", really understanding that the dynamics of customer interaction and value creation are changing. The three "buckets" that American Express is currently dividing its Web 2.0 and SOA technologies into: Web 2.0 and SOA Combined: Three Resulting Aspects 1) Improving the Customer Experience ("this is top for us") * Interactive, dynamic compelling user experience * Convenience and reach * Harnessing user generated content in recent promotions they've been doing * Experimenting with rich Internet applications * RSS used on customers sites and partner sites * Looking at RSS technologies, subscribe to the events that are interest to them, and get notified when they want. 2) Community and Collaboration * Experimenting and piloting wiki technologies * "Pretty good uptake" with tools by internal teams to collaborate and generate content * AmexLabs, an online area where select customers come into a site and preview and provide feedback of new interactive capabilities (these customers are individuals, not businesses, cardholders) * Gives us the opportunity to better understand how products are being developed) * Pioneering and piloting widget technologies 3) Simplicity and approachability * How do we make integration a whole lot easier (REST)? * Leveraging the ease of use of the consumer Web Dion goes on to say that "This is a pretty interesting list in and of itself but Bob went on to keep explore how Web 2.0 techniques, when combined with SOA, can help deliver returns that SOA by itself generally hasn't been able to". Notes on Using Web 2.0 to Leverage SOA (Source: Bob Morgan, American Express) * SOA succeeds in making data more readily available in general * Integration and security requirements, combined with Web 2.0 creates brand-new challenges (compounds integration and security challenges) * The power combination: Web 2.0 (mashups and RIAs) can bring the data in a SOA to life * Allows one to take the volumes of data on hand and makes it accessible * Because it's embedded in place, mashups can put corporate data into the right context * But putting so many pieces together creates problem in the environment * Enterprise-specific Challenges * Security - If we can't secure it, we won't use it (hit with as first issue every time) * Protecting privacy and including identity in mashups # Manageability, Performance, and Scalability * Mashups can result in overly complex integration * Unpredictable throughput, capacity, and difficult to monitor * Lots of sensitive customer data, big challenges, and not a lot yet done to address this * When we build these things, there's lots to take into account, how to deploy, monitor, manage end-to-end Also he says that "sites made of mountains of user generated content — are far less constrained by regulation, governance, privacy, and trust issues than business sites are. Thus figuring out how to leverage the positive aspects of the emerging best practices on the Web today, without eliminating the very benefit they provide, is one of the biggest challenges in providing a Web 2.0 "context" in the enterprise". Some Challenges sited by Dion in Applying Web 2.0 in the Enterprise 1) Development Challenges * All of this needs close ties to manageability * The big design tension: Fast and easy vs. well designed and well engineered * Lack of standard development methods with Web 2.0: Need proven tools and enterprise design patterns * We now have tools built to bring applications together very quickly, in contrast with traditional development platforms * And if you build them this way, how can you make them scale to million of customers? * Lots of existing platforms with different tools, how to preserve an organization's huge investment in current skills and technologies? 2) Business Value * Is there broad business value in social networking? * How to do this dealing with a lot of private customer data? * It's not likely you'll want to bring people together to share customer data * Not entirely clear yet how to apply social networking profitably to business models

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