Traditional programming skills will not be adequate for companies to succeed with interactive Intranet or Extranet applications. Instead, a 'third skill' combining design and coding skills and adopting a new structural approach must be developed.
This is the conclusion of Forrester Research in its latest 'Software Strategies Report'. It defines the third skill as merging a variety of existing approaches. Artistic, design and programming techniques must be combined to present information in an attractive and accessible manner suitable even for non-technical users in a hurry.
Secondly, the IT department must set up a new organisational structure with set rules governing how users access data, which information they can reach and so on. In the "SQL-free zone" such a structure is essential to avoid chaos, says report author Ted Schadler.
New production processes must also evolve to create these interactive applications, which need to be complex in content but simple for the user. Forrester says some pioneering companies have already converted their programming units to follow a 'Hollywood model' more suitable for interactive software. This model gives each application a creative director, producer and business driver. The producer commits to budgets and timescales, while the directors are the creative forces, says Schadler.
Another idea is to use simultaneous teams that support and balance each other - for instance, teams of writers, developers, artists and so on.
"For corporate IT, the producer/director model should be translated to the business sponsor/technical director titles - and be sure to add a product manager to drive the effort with budget and resource support," said Forrester.
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