In any discussion about the future of enterprise applications, I tend to the view that it is the ecosystem platforms that will win. The precedent was set some years back when Apple created the AppStore. Today, there are millions of apps.
In the enterprise, while the notion of partner apps is well established, marketplaces have been slower to take root. We do however see a growing understanding of the importance of ecosystems with the proliferation of applications appearing on the well established Salesforce AppExchange and, to a limited extent, in the SAP Marketplace. Most recently, NetSuite has hinted at something similar.
Late last month, I caught up with Andy Piper, currently working as developer advocate at Twitter. I've known Andy a number of years and have always enjoyed his straight shooting way of approaching this topic. His enterprise credentials speak for themselves: 10+ years as a developer/consultant with IBM, developer evangelist at VMWare, then Pivotal and now at Twitter.
In this discussion, Piper draws the distinction between the consumer world and what he sees among a number of enterprise vendors where provisioning servers and potential legal ramifications represent significant hurdles. He argues that the underlying stack should be free.
This should be viewed against the backdrop of what companies like Intel are doing. The recording was made at an Android developer meetup where Intel attracted more than 350 attendees...on a glorious Saturday morning. When you can do that then you're onto something that benefits everyone.
Oh yes - at a fairly early point in our conversation, Piper makes the case that cloud and mobile are one and the same. That's worth thinking about.
PS - Piper makes it all sound so simple and in many respects that's exactly as it should be. That's what developers expect. Try this instead.
Disclosure: SAP and Salesforce are partners at time of writing