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Developing Applications? "Just Outsource!"

Outsourcing activities have become a common practice in business. We wouldn't want to own hundreds of transport vehicles and courier workers as well as dozens of offices in designated cities only to meet our needs of transporting goods to specific places around this country or even abroad. Organizations such as Federal Express were established to provide us with such a service.

Many other routine business activities are trusted over to other parties in the same manner. Mention any products that we manufacture, employee training activities, and such. Any form of business activity that we outsource is almost always done for reasons of achieving the efficiency and effectiveness that would not be possible if done internally within a company.

The same is happening now with the development of computer applications and software. Until recently, a software developer needed to develop the entire module or parts of an application in its entirety, or purchase these modules from a third-party vendor with the criteria that the technology was compatible with the one his company was using to develop its applications.

Today, the process of developing applications has become easier, faster and more economical, because a developer is no longer forced to create an entire module or parts of an application in its entirety. Separate parts, such as those that handle user authentication processes, and are almost always required before an application can be used, can be handed over to a third party, which specializes in developing user-authentication processes. It can later be integrated into the application that is currently being developed by a company.


Another example, applications that handle income tax calculation processes, which use a standard formula anywhere as long as the same tax laws apply can benefit from the use of income tax calculating modules already developed by third parties to be integrated into an application being developed. Such programming activities are classified as a service and are offered by service providers since others can make use of them.

Specifically, the process of integrating with a work in progress requires a network that connects our application with the service to be used. In the event that the service provider is in a location nearby, for example in the MIS department, a Local Area Network (LAN) can be used.

But, in the even that the aforementioned service provider is in a separate location, we can use the Internet.

Other options such as a private or internal network do exist, although these networks have a much higher cost than public networks such as the Internet. What about the costs of consuming such a service? The situation opens up a new business module, in which consumers are charged on a basis of on frequency of use, a membership fee, or a license fee where the need of the service is in large amounts and high frequency.

We can imagine the amount of efficiency and effectiveness that will be achieved in developing future computer applications. Many companies have had unpleasant experiences in trying to satisfy their own computer application needs by getting involved in the developing process themselves. Often this leads to working into the late hours and putting a burden on expenses, time and labour.



Now, try positioning yourself not only as a consumer of such services. You could also play the role of the service provider, or take the perspective of someone in not in the software development business, or not part of an IT organization. How does it apply to you?

Take for instance the fact that in Indonesia, we are already capable of developing compensation calculation systems that are part of a complete Human Resource Management system. Assuming that the system is an advanced and comprehensive one, why not try to expose it as a service to the public, while at the same time using it within the company.

Possibly there might be an SDM application developer who would like to integrate that specific application with one they are developing.

There might also be another company interested in using that particular compensation system for their internal purposes. Could this not be an alternative income source for a company?

Such outlets for services are currently being discovered in the IT world. Common theory has it that an application no longer consist of a client and server as we have come to know it, but now comes in the form of: "application=client+server+service". This all has been made possible by the increasing uniformity and standardization of formats known in the IT world that are moving toward a more universal standard.

The need for collaboration and integration between companies is becoming an essential criterion for global business communication. And so has it, that the big players of IT vendor circles are developing technologies that support this concept with every passing day.

If you have been hearing much of the new concept that lately has become the topic of discussion among media experts it is that of XML Web service. This is the technology that supports the concept we've just discussed. It uses XML as the basis of data formats and is shaped in the form of a service running on a network that we know as the Internet. Welcome to the new generation of the Internet.



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