The Cloudy World of Disposable IT

A BCS Kingston & Croydon Branch Presentation

Monday 12th October 2009

BCS London Office, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA. Location Map

6.00pm for 6.30pm start. Duration 60 minutes presentation plus 30 minutes Q&A. Followed by tea/ coffee/sandwich networking.


The advent of the cloud and web 2.0 technologies is having a significant impact on the way on the way we buy and build applications. The entire field of application development is changing and it is changing beyond all recognition - and it's happening very quickly.

Consider Apple and the iPhone. The success of the App Store for the iPhone is nothing short of phenomenal. At the time of writing Apple had just reported more than 1 billion downloads in less than a year's operation - there are over 35,000 applications ready and waiting for iPhone users to access. Is this the way forward for applications?

Who will ever write a windows application from scratch again?
What an outrageous thing to say! How could anyone possibly think that? - it would almost spell the end of Microsoft as we know it!!!

But what is the likely impact on the business of this phenomenon? And why is this different from what's gone before? Is it just more IT hyperbole?

As long ago as 1982 James Martin (ex-IBM) published a book called Application Development Without Programmers - that suggested, and indeed promoted, the notion that we were about to see the birth of an applications development approach that would, in some way, eliminate the need for programmers or coding. This was at the time when most computer applications were built on mainframe systems, were batch driven, and still required (in many cases) punched cards for data input.

As the hardware technology got smaller, faster, cheaper, and ubiquitous through the advent of the "standard" IBM Personal Computer, more "business user" tools became easily accessible and readily available. What was missing though was good, reliable development tools - ways of simplifying the task of building applications and putting them into the hands of the business - enter Visual Basic.

Consider what was happening at the time. For example, if you were involved in developing software products and applications for the emerging "client/server" market one key decision had to be - will I use OS/2 or Motif or Windows (or stay with a green screen VT220)?

The answer was determined by the advent of Visual Basic (VB). Almost overnight it became simple to build Windows applications - less experienced developers were in a position to build simple applications that met a simple business requirement, on demand. The business didn't have to wait for IT - they could build simple applications in weeks instead of months or years.

The drive towards user developed applications came to a shuddering halt around 1998 when the world caught Y2K and the emphasis shifted to replacing everything with CRM and ERP solutions - catering for the end user seemed to drop off of the agenda - IT knew best and was at the height of its power - dictating what the business needed and being too busy to respond to "trivial" requests.

But the requirement didn't go away. The business still needed to have available applications that could be used to meet specific business needs - they were and are crying out for what in today's parlance are called, Situational Applications (SAs).

The development of SAs gives the business an improved ability to respond to or anticipate changing business demands and as a bonus, the organization becomes better fitted to exploit future business and computing opportunities, including business process outsourcing (BPO) and Web services.

The downside is that the development is, more often than not, performed in isolation of the corporate needs and may run counter to corporate governance, standards and compliance issues. It therefore can be of limited value in the longer term.

Furthermore, Situational Applications can be very disruptive and lead to anarchy. Think of all those Excel spreadsheets that are used to run most businesses - no control no compliance no ownership. Process enablement of these types of applications will provide ownership, control and auditablity - making them compliant with the corporate demands without stifling innovation and change. This also sets the business free to mix and match existing premised-based processes run on applications like SAP, Oracle, IBM Websphere, MS .Net or even early legacies with processes designed entirely on the Cloud without the need to translate business wishes into a complex requirement specification document. This means that:

  • The applications are available to use right away and on demand
  • The business avoids capital expenditures almost entirely and ensures that any operational expenditures exists only as a result of a revenue stream

So instead of buying expensive software licenses and the requisite supporting infrastructure the eventual end users of the applications will access the processes and services they need when they need them - ensuring cost effective deployment and efficient project roll-out. The ICT departments get what they need, the end users get what they need.

Process enabled Situational Applications quickly become the ideal solution for those departments and organizations that need to develop and provision applications quickly and effectively at the lowest cost possible.

Our Speaker:


Jon is the Chief Strategist for Cordys an international software company. Prior to Cordys Jon founded the Process Factory and befor that he  was the Chief Technology Officer and a main board director of Staffware Plc from August 1992 until was acquired by Tibco in 2004.

He demonstrates an exceptional blend of Business/People Management skills; a Technician with a highly developed sense of where technologies fit and how they should be utilized. Jon is a world recognized industry figure; an exceptional public speaker and a seasoned company executive.
As the CTO and Executive Vice President for Staffware Plc, Jon was responsible for a development team geographically split into two countries (USA and the UK) and four locations. Jon also had overall executive responsibility for the product strategy, positioning, public speaking etc. Finally, as a main board director he was heavily involved in PLC board activities including merges and acquisitions, corporate governance, and board director of several subsidiaries. Jon’s final piece of work for Staffware was to conceive, design and oversee the development of the IProcess Engine.
Jon has over 30 years experience in the field of software engineering and product development. During his career he has worked for a number of software and hardware companies as well as user organizations.

More recently Jon has joined Cordys as Chief Strategy Officer. Cordys was founded by Jan Baan to develop a new type of BPM technology platform - the objectives of which were to deliver on demand BPM technology at a price where every organization - large or small -could benefit.

Jon also acts as a non-executive director for a number of public and private UK based software companies. A Significant amount of Jon's time is spent giving high level presentations to the boards of potential customers (both business and technical) as well as business and technical partners. Jon is recognized as an excellent public speaker.
Jon has written and published a number of articles on the subject of Office Automation, BPM and Workflow Technology. More recently Jon has Co-Authored a book covering both technical and business aspects of BPM. The book is published by Cambridge University Press and is called - Mastering you Organization's Processes.
Jon co-founded and is the Chair of the Workflow Management Coalition.
He is an AiiM Laureate for Workflow - and was awarded the Marvin Manheim award for Excellence in workflow in 2003.

A recent article concluded:

"Jon Pyke, is one of the most influential figures in the Business Process Management (BPM) sector. As CTO of Staffware plc (now Tibco) for over 12 years, he can truly claim to be one of the founders of BPM as a means to implement a process improvement culture in business. He was personally responsible for defining many of the key software metaphors that enable BPM to work, and as Chair of the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC), he has also overseen the development of standards. As one of BPM’s great thinkers, he has written many books and articles on how business can adopt a process strategy."

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