So what were the architectural lessons I learnt from the customers? Firstly the back office side of things is still a mess, so much for SOA. In fact some people felt that the back end of things was so far behind that there was not even any point in finishing their implementation of the ERP / CRM / SFA / SOA / ESB system that they had underway until they understood the implications of the changes that the businesses wanted to make. The level of frustration felt by the CIO's about these systems was incredible.
Secondly, as I thought, the main interest in the enterprise is supporting new business rather than the same old internal productivity / Knowledge management stuff. The frustration felt by the business and the CIO at the lack of progress with fixing the back end problems rather spills over onto any IT investment projects.
Thirdly whilst the back end is felt to be a mess it was felt that the IT organization just had to get on and build the new systems that the businesses wanted irrespective. There was a ton of excitement over these new systems.
The main types of new systems the customers seemed to be interested in were:
Rich Media channels (video, phone and media center)
Customer Workflow systems
Attention mining systems
These rather nicely fit onto the columns of the Edge architecture.