CA gives recipe for extended enterprise

In a keynote address at Internet World Fall 2002 here on Tuesday, Computer Associates International Inc.'s CTO Yogesh Gupta described what he considers to be the critical factors for a successful extended enterprise.

"We have for the last three to five years talked about the Internet changing things. What is really happening is people will do business differently," Gupta said in an interview with InfoWorld at the show. "Yet at the same time, the basic business is still the same, delivering services or whatever."

Gupta continued that his vision for the way that business will change includes integration of a variety of devices, including those that exist today and those that are not yet available.

He pointed to connected automobiles as one example, wherein the car is connected to any computing devices the driver owns and is intelligent enough to know that the driver is on the way to a meeting and likes Starbucks coffee. The car will tell the driver how to get to the meeting, and then tell the driver that there is a Dunkin Donuts on the way or a Starbucks a few blocks off the course. Then, when the driver chooses Starbucks, the car's software can order the coffee and pay for it as well as send out an alert that the driver will be 10 minutes late for the meeting.

Achieving this grand connectedness, however, is neither easy nor immediate. And Gupta said it will take several factors to make this possible: information control, information security, information delivery, reliability, business continuity for the data itself, and a new way of thinking about scalability.

An extended enterprise needs to have control over its data, including ensuring its security and making it available to employees and partners as they need it. In the connected car example, this includes tapping into a variety of devices so that the software has certain intelligence about the driver.

"The technology becomes a companion in that it helps you when you need help," Gupta said.

As the information factors become adopted, companies will need to make their systems more reliable -- and the bar for reliability will be raised as well, Gupta said.

Whereas today it is acceptable to have scheduled downtimes, moving toward a utility computing model, this will no longer be the case.

"People talk about utility computing, but we are a long way from utility computing," he said.

Another key factor concerns the data itself, business continuity, and storage. In addition to the need for availability of data, companies need to be able to reconcile multiple copies of information and replicate that information.

Finally, when all those other factors are aligned, the scalability that will be necessary is going to increase considerably.

"The issue of scalability will be three orders of magnitude than they are today," Gupta added. "The business rules need to be figured out about how we will deal with the large scale of things."

Gupta added that scalability will increase as online business does. For instance, the number of merchants that accept credit cards will continue to grow, as will the number of people that use them in online transactions. Likewise, the number of devices that can be used to conduct such transactions will increase.

Gupta continued that all of the factors he mentioned involve Web services, such as securing Web services.

"Knowing how to deal with these things will make or break an IT department," Gupta said.

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