Mike Gualtieri on ‘Horses for Courses’

In his Application Development blog, Forrester’s Mike Gualtieri posted on the phrase ‘horses for courses’ relating to the need of many different software products for CEP and business rules. Here is my response:

“Mike, I too had not heard the phrase before. I am however not in agreement with the comparison. Why? Horses have evolved naturally and did develop certain special abilities based on their environment. While software evolves too it is however not tracing a typical fitness landscape. Rational thought is used to form a product that has certain abilities. Strangely enough, we are right in the middle of the different faiths about natural evolution or intelligent design. Yes, if software was developed for a special use and change was driven by the user demand of that group then it evolves accordingly and you will have ‘horses for courses’. Things take a long time but the solution fits the – usually special – needs well. This is how I believe nature works too.

In difference to nature, we do take the role of the Great Architect of the Software Universe and software can be a good fit for most uses if designed accordingly. Especially if we look at ‘Business Technology’ rather than ‘Information Technology’. Business does not want five different horses that can not even be ridden by the same rider. The business landscape changes much faster than the software can evolve. We have to design software that is so flexible that it can be shaped by the business user on a day to day basis. Isn’t that what CEP and BR is mostly meant for?

Complex Event Processing and Business Rules should be right at the heart of any business technology and thus not be hard coded for special uses. Following my own faith in the above, I am pretty sure that with Papyrus we have designed a horse that can be trained in a few days by the people in the know to perform as good as the limited ‘horses for courses.’ It does that by using CEP and BR.”