Enterprise UI Framework for Cloud Business Operations

Written by James R. Lord

The Enterprise UI Framework is a significant component of the overarching Enterprise Cloud Framework in that it provides a kind of scaffolding upon which many of the other frameworks may be constructed when moving enterprise operations to the cloud.

The enterprise UI framework organizes users into 2 major classes, Internal Resources (employees, etc.) and External Resources (customers, vendors, etc.), while identifying 3 mutually exclusive interfaces. By identifying the general purpose of each interface in terms of how such resources interact and are acquired, the framework provides a normalized foundation for the construction of all other business processes and tools.

Note that the framework does not mention such particulars as shopping carts, blogs, etc. This is because whether those things are included or not depends upon the business model. What the framework is intended for is to highlight what is common for all business models that wish to operate in the cloud. A company building their cloud enterpise interfaces within this framework will find itself operating on a strong, robust and yet highly flexible foundation.

  • 1. Universal Enterprise UI Framework
    • a. Front-End
      • i. Users
        • 1. People who have not yet become Internal or External Resources
      • ii. Purpose
        • 1. Acquire New External Resources
        • 2. Acquire New Internal Resources
    • b. Extranet
      • i. Users
        • 1. External Resources
      • ii. Purpose
        • 1. External Resources Interacting with Corporate Resources
        • 2. External Resources Interacting with External Resources
    • c. Intranet
      • i. Users
        • 1. Internal Resources
      • ii. Purpose
        • 1. Management of Corporate Resources

This framework will also give you insights into the relationships between different cloud concepts.

Take for example, Social Networking: Where in the framework above would the concept of Social Networking reside? Or various parts of it reside?

By recognizing that Social Networking is predominantly [External Resources Interacting with External Resources], that helps you design appropriately with regards to the placement of many of your Social Networking tools and how they tie into other systems. Certain reporting components will be built into the Intranet, and a component will be exposed ot the Front-End for acquiring new members.

All the other parts of your business model should be thought of in the same way – in terms of how they are supported in the various interfaces above.

Use this framework at the outset of your cloud enterprise design; but also whenever you are adding new functionality the first question you should ask is: Where does it go in the Enterprise UI Framework?

TRADESPACE CONSIDERATIONS: When building tradespaces, multiple enterprise UI frameworks collide. The natural knee-jerk reaction is to rely more and more on extranet functionality between companies. This happens as companies try to expose more of their intranet functionality to their business partners via extranet portals. Two significant problems with this are:

  • Intranet security rules have to be reproduced at great expense for selected external relations in the extranet.
  • Over time, these changes to the extranet becomes ungainly and progressively harder to manage (as they cannot be easily abstracted due to the extranet's partitioning at the CRM/Contact level). This also means that the intranet security rules mentioned in the bullet above cannot always be translated as-is into the extranet exposing possible security gaps.

Extranets are partitioned by the CRM/Contact database. In other words, each extranet session correlates to a single contact record in the CRM/Contact database. Exposing the extranet to rules (such as Enterprise Security Management rules) affecting the HR database creates great risk that has to be managed with additional coding to simulate intranet enterprise security management rules within the broader CRM/Contact context of the extranet. In a tradespace management system, the intranet has been extended to consider a certain class of external relations as intranet users and wrap an interpretive form of enterprise security that can be fully abstracted around those users. In QBOS, this is called ISL (Interpretive Security Layer).