The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Is "good enough" a fad or the future

In this month's Wired magazine there is an article titled: The Good Enough Revolution that discusses how new markets are taken over by products that are "good enough" and undercut technically better approaches. The examples discussed are the Flip camera undermining the camcorder market, or MP3 taking on the recording industry and even the Predator drone replacing manned aircraft.


These products grab market share because they make our selection standards shift and what was important before may no longer be a deciding factor in making the decision. Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator's Dilemma talked about this phenomenon (Joe Hill did a blog entry on it a while back). Jerry Pournelle has also been talking about selecting "good enough" products in his Chaos Manor blog for almost as long as I can remember.


A reason this is important to IT organizations today is the whole concept of Cloud techniques, including SaaS. Granted there are many scenarios where an in-house or custom developed solution would be better, but the decision criteria may have shifted so those "better" characteristics are irrelevant. We need to focus on "What does the business want vs. what do they need?" and how do the characteristics of the product or service address them. For example: A cloud provider may not be able to guarantee anything close to 100% uptime from end-to-end for a transaction, although they may be willing to do this within their four walls. Is this guarantee good enough? If not are there alternatives?


I was in a Azure meeting in Dallas the other day and when I brought this issue up, a person in the audience said "No one can guarantee end-to-end!". I totally disagree. We've done it for years, although not in a cloud context.


I'd say organizations need to get used to the "good enough" thought process and be flexible about their critical characteristics. The way they have always measured success may no longer be what is most important to the business. This concept has been around for a very long time and is not a fad but the future.

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