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The recent rise of grassroots computing among both professional programmers and knowledge workers highlights an alternative approach to software development in the enterprise: Situational applications are created rapidly by teams or individuals who best understand the business need, but without the overhead and formality of traditional information technology (IT) methods. Corporate IT will be increasingly challenged to facilitate the development, integration, and management of both situational and enterprise applications. In this paper, we describe the emerging prevalence of situational application development and the changing role of IT. We also describe the experience at IBM in building, deploying, and managing the IBM Situational Applications Environment that enables employees to take responsibility for some of their own solutions. Finally, we discuss ways in which the situational application development paradigm may evolve in coming years to benefit enterprises, the demands that it will put on IT departments, and possible ways to address these challenges.
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