End users developing for end users

Like many vendors of applications for the end user, SAP AG is striving to tailor its products to meet shifting demands. That is, the worker who wants more data and access control, less IT administrator involvement, and the ability to work on a platform or interface that grants consumer-like or Web 2.0 qualities.

A year after stressing this end user focus, SAP followed through, in August, with Xcelcius Present, a data visualization tool that lets users interact with data via Microsoft’s familiar user interface, and shifts the power to generate data reports from the IT admin to the end user.

The company had also expressed, some months ago, a desire to let information workers connect to back-end SAP systems via desktop widgets.

But while vendors like SAP are recognizing and welcoming consumer computing habits to the enterprise, the information worker is not the only group of end users who have shifted needs.

Developers who toil in the background to build these applications for information workers are also end users, albeit of application development platforms.

Sun Microsystems recognized this when it announced, at its JavaOne conference this summer, two technologies in the pipeline that would grant Java developers an environment with requirements similar to that of the information worker: intuitive and compelling.

The first of these technologies, Project Hydrazine, allows developers to find, merge, deploy and share development services, thereby making the platform creative and collaborative. The other, Project Insight, grants developers better access to data about how their users interact with the applications they build.

So, the developers who are building applications have, in turn, the same expectations of functionality as their end user. Moreover, with Project Insight, Sun has made the development process come full circle by allowing end user insight into an end user.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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