Centralized vs. Decentralized

I found this post arguing the various angles of IT centralization vs. decentralization and a couple of things jumped out at me.

"Mash-ups are another phenomenon that promotes decentralization. While still beyond the skill set of the non-technical, mash-ups are proliferating at the departmental level. And, surprisingly, enterprise content management vendors are contributing to the trend with enterprise-oriented products."

Why is it surprising that enterprise CMS vendors are getting in on this? Are mashups not a realization of the original promise of portals? From my perspective, the idea that users can drop bits-and-pieces of content and functionality and integrate them in a manner that is entirely of their choosing is exactly what portals are all about. The fact that they have not worked out that way is a result of vendors trying to lock down the functionality that is available to users… in other words, the impulse to centralize and control portal assets is one reason why they have failed to capture the attention of users.

"Perhaps the strongest force for centralization, however, is SOA, which requires a central repository so developers can find existing services, plus strong central controls to ensure that those services really can work together."

The strongest argument for decentalization is the web itself, which continues to expand dramatically in the absence of centralization of developer resources. Developers don’t require a centralized repository… the do require services like search that help them find what they need when they need it.

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