Deeply ingrained in our philosophy at Deloitte Platform Engineering is the idea of building solutions by composing services to fit a unique business need. Nothing really new here, people have been talking about "mashups" about "service composition" and "composite applications" for a while and we've seen our customers derive great benefit from this approach. But what is really exciting is the way that cloud and software as a service (SaaS) really kicks this philosophy into high gear. The majority of our projects in the last two years have involved SaaS integration and that demand is accelerating.
One of the thought leaders in this area is News Corp Australia and we're pleased to be an integral part of their cloud-first strategy. We've been working with News Corp using Mule ESB and CloudHub to build out their first pilot APIs and SaaS integrations. Tom Quinn, CIO/CTO of News Corp Australia, talked about this recently when he kicked-off Sydney's CeBit Cloud Conference 2014. Allan Swan of Australian Reseller News published a good overview of Tom's presentation.
Tom says that "ERP systems are dead" because they are not good ecosystems, but more like "gated communities." They won't deliver the rapid innovation needed by businesses today. This also resonates strongly with the way that we approach solution development. Individual applications (which include ERPs) are only the building blocks of any solution. The real competitive advantage for any business is how you compose those building blocks to support your unique value proposition.
Tom describes the composability model as using "existing technologies within an ecosystem, such as Cloud and apps by third parties, to put together a solution, much like building with Lego bricks. You don't have to build each Lego brick component yourself, you just need to manage how they are composed together - you are an assembler of already created tech."
A key new advantage that SaaS brings to this approach is that individual components are fungible—they can be swapped out with minimal fuss if they don't work. Quinn estimates the extra leverage provided by SaaS composition delivers solutions in about 3 months rather than 12 months with old systems. The success of this approach in terms of agility and cost savings now means that News Corp has a "cloud first" approach for all new projects.
Tom points out that the key skill in this new ecosystem is "integration". The ability to select the right components and "glue" them together to provide new functionality. We can only agree and are very pleased to be in there helping Tom and his team on this new and exciting way of delivering business value.