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A Simple Social Web Architecture June 30, 2011

Posted by stewsutton in Architecture, Collaboration, Communications, Information Technology.
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The web business of today has a small number of key components. Each of these components surrounds the unique business offering creating a scaleable structure that can be replicated and managed with integrity. This simple model addresses some of the key components in most web-based businesses of the post 2010 timeframe. While not referenced specifically in this diagram there are other components that can weigh heavy in the design of the business system including the mobility strategy. But for now, lets consider four components that surround the core business offering and enable it to function as a modern web-based business.

Interface — Building an interface that makes sense is a concept that has emerged with the consumerization of information technology. It’s hard to believe that in 1997 the company called Apple computer had a stock value of about $3.50 per share and was on the verge of bankruptcy. In just a few short years a steady march of products would begin to turn the fortunes of that company and introduce to the world the very definition of consumer-friendly information technology. From iPhones to iPods to iPads to the new iCloud, Apple’s innovations in consumer information technology have educated the world and have set the bar on what people expect in their user interfaces (whether on mobile devices or via their computer web browser). Today Apple’s value is over 100 times that of the company that almost did not survive in 1997. The interface of most consumer information technology has been influenced heavily by “iDevices” and this creates expectations in the design of new products and services on the Internet.

eCom — In the early days of Internet eCommerce, some different companies emerged early with differentiated offerings. Having an ability to remain adaptive and agile to customer needs while staying ahead of the competition was the formula for several early offerings like Yahoo Stores. The eCommerce systems of this early stage were custom built solutions that were largely oriented to providing “shopping cart” services to web-based merchants selling online. The eCom solutions of today are much more sophisticated. They allow much more flexibility in integrating transactional processing to take money in many different forms for services rendered.

Social — Social computing is a key part of many business strategies and operational models and it is segment that integrates crowd-sourcing, network effects, and friend relationships into the business model. The social component is how many web business achieve their scale and market capacity. It will become increasingly unique to see web-based businesses that have strong consumer-relationship ties expand to large market shares without a well-planned social strategy.

CMS — Whatever the business, there is unique “content” that must be managed. This content could be pictures, videos, text, audio files or any combination of interesting digital assets. Its the content that is unique to your business that needs to be managed and at a level above the traditional database service. That is where the “CMS” or content management system comes into action. The purpose of a CMS is to make the management of the businesses online digital assets much easier. It addresses the presentation, arrangement, and permissions associated with these assets. As the business grows, keeping the expanding collection of digital assets under control is where the CMS really earns its value.

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