OrangeScape CEO Discusses Citizen Developers & PaaS
Company Focuses on Bringing Enterprise IT & Business Side Together
By: Roger Strukhoff
Sep. 20, 2011 09:01 AM
I wrote earlier about OrangeScape, based in Chennai, India, a company that is taking an aggressive approach to Platform-as-a-Service that it calls Visual aPaaS. It has broken the XaaS continuum into several parts, segmented PaaS as well, and identified Force.com as its chief competitor in its specific space.
Company CEO Suresh Sambandam (pictured below) believes that well-executed aPaaS is the true competitive differentiator in cloud computing, as it empowers companies to develop their own unique solutions to problems, in contrast to the commodization that's found in delivering Software-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
Suresh and his team have also identified a concept that's new to me, that of the "citizen developer," a person on the business side of the enterprise who has a worldview quite different from that of the "professional developers" found in the IT department.
Suresh told me that the folks at Gartner have popularized the term; nevertheless, I wanted to find out how it affects OrangeScape's product and strategy. Here's the discussion I had with him:
So tell us more about what you mean by the term "citizen developer."
At OrangeScape, we call them "white-collar developers." Our CTO Mani Doraisamy coined this term to differentiate this new breed from the widespread stereotype of software developers. These people are typically developers who are developing their own tools to address their business focused problems on routine basis.
They are also referred to as power users; they used to be outside the knowledge of Enterprise IT. Truly speaking IT pretended to be unaware of their existence, mostly because there wasn't much they were able to do about the needs of such developers.
But, in the cloud paradigm, we are seeing a big shift in the thinking process of Enterprise IT leaders. They are starting to recognize that citizen developers are closer to the domain problem and are in the best position to create a solution without what I call transmission loss.
In the past, citizen developers figured out the tools on their own, be it Excel or Access or others. Now, with cloud being all about abstraction this is getting elegantly resolved by Visual Paradigm such as OrangeScape.
What can be done to mitigate the conflicts between the citizen developer on the business side and the "pro" on the IT side? They come from different worlds. Where's the middle ground?
Also, the professional developers would possibly build re-usable core and horizontal services that are consumed by the citizen developers. Citizen developers would essentially build departmental and more verticalized apps by consuming the horizontal services.
The challenge is that in the past there were different platforms and tools for these two worlds. Without a single unified platform that allows both professional developers and citizen developers to co-exist, the middle ground will not be achieved.
I believe that cloud platforms like OrangeScape and obviously Force.com too, make this possible.
We also provide a "test-as-you-develop" capability that eliminates the complex testing process that business users don't have patience for.
At a more fundamental level, OrangeScape is a concurrent collaboration platform allowing IT developers and business look at the solution through the development process. So, speed of development on the OrangeScape Visual aPaaS platform allows for the agile approach of development. The big advantage is that you can do short agile sprints to demonstrate the business requirements iteratively without making it an overhead.
This gave a seamless experience for end users when it came to look-and-feel, single sign-on and more. For IT, the decision is around choosing a homogeneous cloud architecture - very similar to what they would have done in picking their options in past around .NET or Java.
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