Divide and Conquer

Here at Intel, we are actively integrating employee-owned devices—including smartphones, tablets, and PCs—into our enterprise environment. In addition, we now deliver 80 percent of our newly developed business services through our own enterprise private cloud. We plan to increasingly use a mix of private and public cloud-based services, called hybrid cloud, in implementing solutions over the next few years.

In my role as IT Chief Technology Officer, I have observed parallels and interdependencies between our adoption of IT consumerization, which provides employees with a wider range of choices for compute capability, and the advent of cloud computing, which offers businesses additional options for IT services. Intel IT is coordinating our cloud computing efforts with our bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives, to enable us to reap maximum business value from both.

We feel that both cloud computing and BYOD are important enablers for our agility and enterprise velocity. But historically, application development has been a rigid process that can slow agility, especially in the areas of larger enterprise systems such as ERP. To increase our ability to develop applications and deliver services quickly—and to a wide range of devices—we are implementing a pace-layered approach utilizing a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) to help us abstract away our slower-to-evolve applications, such as our ERP system, from our quicker-moving capabilities, such as new supply chains to support new business. By being able to connect existing services faster, it also allows us to implement better capabilities such as transforming our shopping carts into purchase orders.

This pace-layered approach matches the pace the platform needs to evolve with the pace the business needs to move by abstracting the front-end functionality away from the back-end systems. For example, a service may rely on data stored in our ERP system, but to deliver the service to a tablet, we need to develop a new user interface (UI). By abstracting the front end from the back end, we can quickly develop the UI without having to disturb the underlying data structures and associated business rules.

We have also implemented a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), to help us use SOA more efficiently with mobile devices. A MEAP is a comprehensive suite of products and services that can help reduce complexity and connectivity problems associated with deploying an application across multiple devices. In general, a MEAP-based solution consists of two components.

  • The mobile middleware server handles system integration, security, communications, scalability, and cross-platform support.
  • The mobile client application connects to the middleware server and drives both the user interface and the business logic on the device and supports many operating systems and devices.

We believe as more HTML5 and library-enabled code modules are developed in our environment, the need for the MEAP might diminish, although we see it as being absorbed, not eliminated.

For more information about our efforts, read IT@Intel’s recent white paper, “Delivering Cloud-based Services in a Bring-Your-Own Environment.”