Open Source Strategies

A blog about open source software and business models, enterprise software, and the opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM Suite.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Future of pictures

This is a drawing for my ideas on the future of opentaps, namely:
1. A set of core opentaps ERP + CRM applications for transacting business day throughout the enterprise
2. Bringing in analytics and search tools
to help make better sense of the data
3. Integrating with devices of all stripes, for mobile phones to robots to shop floor machinery, and of course the desktop.
4. Pulling all of these components together into a unified front end.
5. Supporting it with documentation and context sensitive help.

The big unknowns are what that front end will be and how it will be developed. Would the user interface of the future be the desktop, the browser, a mobile phone, or something else entirely different? Or would there simply be more choice of how we interact with our computers in the future, and each of us would use an interface that makes the sense to us?

It's simply too early to say. Nor do we have to. Since we're an open source project, one of our basic goals is to maximize participation--make our product usable by as many people as possible. This means that we don't get to choose the browser over the desktop or framework X over Y. We have to build for all of them.

In the meantime, we know we can do a few things right now to prepare for that future. First, regardless of what the medium of interface will be, the message still has to be the same. That message for us will always be clean, consistent, and easy-to-use interfaces driven by how our users want to work. Second, we can and will have to write user interfaces that are easily abstractable in a well-tiered architecture, so that we will be able to deliver it to our users in whatever medium they choose down the road.

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