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Consumer apps/services continue assault on business IT

The blurring of corporate/consumer computing lines continues.

Any solution provider or integrator working with corporate clients (SMBs to enterprises) knows how there is simply no way to prevent consumer-oriented services (Napster, AOL or Yahoo instant messaging, YouTube, you name it) from penetrating the firewalls. Some of these beasts—Second Life leaps to mind—are even claiming that they have relevance inside the firewall.

Last week, Google took another step, backing what it calls a set of “open” APIs for social networking application development. No skin off Google’s teeth there: It’s really not a huge player in this Facebook/MySpace world. Yet. Why not declare yourself a player while claiming the moral high ground in a battle field where you’re barely a blip? Sounds positively Microsoftian.

Leading into that news, F acebook declared itself to be far more than a voyeuristic social networking site, but a for-real application development environment.

Anyway, solution providers know this poses a challenge—and an opportunity for them to help customers sort through these worlds and keep the customer as secure as possible.

An opportunity because these trends shift faster than Paris Hilton changes poses and a challenge because it may be hard to persuade clients to pay for expertise in this respect.

Barbara Darrow, a Boston area freelancer, can be reached at

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