The genesis of Project Genesis

BEA Systems’ chief technology officer Rob Levy said Project Genesis is new by way of the announcement. What’s really new about is the way it gets end users of technology thinking.

Project Genesis is BEA’s dynamic business application platform initiative, which the company hopes will transform software innovation at the application tier. Project Genesis combines service oriented architecture (SOA), business process management (BPM), and social networking technologies such as wikis and blogs that create what Levy calls “mini apps” that can plug into an existing application without changing the core of the program.

“The interesting thing (with Project Genesis) is how do you define the application. This will be a factor. It is not about code any more, but a new business process. It is less an IT view of life and more of a business point of view,” Levy said.

Project Genesis, however, is not a channel play, according to Levy. It’s a principle, he said, which will create an indirect channel approach.

The strategy with deploying dynamic applications will be in an in direct way and built by other people through customers, Levy said. BEA’s go to market plan for Project Genesis is to build an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISV) that support different business models such as software-as-a-service (SAAS).

“There will be two types of partners. Those that build on top (of an existing applications such as a database) and as a SAAS,” he added.

The first tier of partner are those that build applications from components. More than two years ago BEA targeted SOA and recognized its importance for customers and began building standard tools for creating applications from components.

“Not all the smart people are in one place,” Levy said of the direct selling approach and why it is inappropriate for Project Genesis. “There are lots of channel companies that come up with new vertical knowledge and innovation,” he added.

Levy believes the margins are in vertical solutions specifically solutions that can be resold. “That is where the money is.”

The fastest growing markets for Project Genesis are in financial and telecom with manufacturing as an emerging market.

What is critical to note about Project Genesis is that its does not change or alter the IT department’s role. Project Genesis does not change the database, the sales force automation (SFA) program, the CRM system or ERP.

“This is the paradigm shift Project Genesis is looking for. It is not a change, but an extension,” Levy said.

Companies need to go to market in weeks and IT can deliver a new application in months, Levy said. With Project Genesis, for example, an airline can augment its business by offering hotel rooms on its Web site. This can be done using composite versions of applications in a much shorter amount of time. In the past, it would take three-years for a new application to be built to run and support the airline’s new online offering, Levy said.

“Dynamic applications have two main characteristics. There are for short term existence (a Christmas special) and they created by a personal enterprise community,” he said.

For example, a community of people which trust each another and who use an SFA can enter a forecast spreadsheet in an application that is personalized and supports the supervisor of the group’s vision or orders.

This mini application can be defined by IT and be beholden to company governance policies, but built by one or a group of people with a wiki so that the information or new business process can be shared. The mini app can also be confined inside an IT portal. IT still defines what the core systems are in databases, SFA, ERPs and CRM, while users enter a new level of collaboration and make it a live application, Levy said.

“This is the base premise of Project Genesis. It extents the last mile of the application without changing the main application, Levy added.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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