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The Network is becoming the most critical infrastructure component
as enterprises evolve their applications from client server to fully
distributed architectures. This trend is being driven by changes in the
underlying business processes and the emphasis on IT alignment to support these
processes. Whether we call it BPM (Business Process Management), EPM
(Enterprise Performance Management), or by some other term, the implications of
these trends on network infrastructures are significant.

As a parallel trend, the enterprise software application industry
is taking major strides and bringing to market solutions designed with network
& network components as the fundamental bases for product architecture;
providing platforms for

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This development will enable enterprises to establish seamless
interconnections required to integrate the various ERP, SCM & CRM
applications which are already deployed and to maximize return on these

A close examination of underlying network infrastructure
supporting the applications would reveal that networks in the past have evolved
in response to application needs. Emerging peer-to-peer applications require a
more intelligent network and efficient any-to-any connectivity. Newer
integrated processes and workflows require that enterprises extend efficient
online connectivity to partners & customers. Applications are being built
around Web standards and use Internet technologies as foundations. Networks
today have to be much more application aware to meet the requirements of
collaborative & distributed processes.

The network economy revolution has barely begun. Enterprises of
the future will truly be Networked Virtual Organizations, with business
processes spanning organizational boundaries seamlessly.

This paper:

1. Highlights the shift to networked applications among enterprises
and supply chains

2.  Discusses the business
process changes driving requirements for more efficient networks

3.  Provides proof points
in support of this trend by examining emerging enterprise application software

4.   Identifies the enabling
components accelerating the trend towards distributed peer-to-peer applications

5.   Provides practical examples
of how these processes are orchestrated through the network.

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