Displaying articles for: 05-06-2012 - 05-12-2012
Like many of you, I get a bit more reading material than I can possibly ever read. Having said that, I did want to bring attention to a new magazine (described as a catalog of ideas) that just arrived out of nowhere simply titled Build. They also have a website titled thebuildnetwork.com. It comes from the creators of Inc.
I am not sure how long they have been around, but I got quite a few interesting thoughts from the issue I received. They describe themselves as:
“The Build Network is the new source of insight and connection dedicated to CEOs and executive teams of midsized businesses—the economy’s hot core. Members of the Build community can connect with the world’s top management thinkers and leading middle market CEOs via:
- · Build/Live events.
- · The Build Network website.
- · Build's pathbreaking print quarterly”
I just wanted to share it here, since you may find it useful as well.
Back in the last decade, there was a great deal of activity around workflow and information flow automation techniques within the business. Although it is clear that those approaches have been applied within the IT organization with the instantiation of cloud computing causing a shift expectations within IT. The focus on the rest of the business seems to have waned within the business itself.
With “Big Data” we see a new focus on time-to-insight, but I think it is time to harvest the experiences learned from cloud and instead focus on time-to-action. This is an area I’ve had thoughts about almost since my first posts on this blog. Now is the time to redefine how value is generated in a truly disruptive fashion, similar to the way that cloud computing has disrupted many organizations thoughts about the consumption of IT resources.
Last week Phil Fersht put out a blog posts titled: The end of Outsourcing as we know it.
He starts off my saying: “it’s not all about outsourcing and it’s not all about shared services; it’s about focusing on how to globalize processes, how to transform finance (and other) functions, and how to govern it all in a global business services context.”
And describing the shift in expectations between the buyer and the service provider. It is clear to me that some of the foundational process will need to change, as well as the systems that support those processes. That only makes sense after all, these information based processes were all designed with a scarcity model rather than the abundance model we live in today.
One issue will be the skills required and how they are applied will need to change (for both the buyer and the seller) – and the mental shift could get uncomfortable for all
Interop is usually thought of as more of a networking event, but this year almost all the keynotes… were cloud focused. The vendor exhibition area was probably 60% networking and 40% cloud focused.
Last night I was at an Interop gathering talking with a number of folks from Canada about cloud deployment. One of them used the computing is turning into a “utility” like the electric company analogy that I now avoid. Some people believe that organizations will stop having data centers and off the cuff say “we don’t generate our own power anymore – we just consume what the utilities provide”.
To this I say “Utilities provide 60Hz and 120 volts (or more, at least in the US) and if that doesn’t meet your needs, it is up to you to convert it into something else, e.g., DC.” That’s not exactly what we expect from computing environments -- at least once you look a bit deeper. There are numerous attributes that have different costs, there are licensing implications as well. Every project, business process or organization has their own unique requirements. Sure some of them can be aggregated together into a virtualized private cloud, but it will be quite a while before we see all the computing needs being met by a standard computing environment.
At the same time as computing is standardizing… the electric power generation is actually decentralizing (to a small extent) with solar panels and windmills. So they may be become more similar, just from two different directions. Power utilities are coming from being highly regulated and centralized and computing from a relatively unregulated and distributed direction.
In our discussions at Interop today we asked the crowd “How many people are looking at a way for cloud to cut costs?” – there were actually few hands that went up. When we asked “How many people are looking for it to increase flexibility?” Significantly more went up. That’s good, since that whole life cycle issue for cloud environments isn’t necessarily focused on cutting costs.
I was at the HP booth at Interop today talking with people about some of their cloud issues and concerns. I normally talk with some fairly sophisticated organizations about cloud issues. This audience was different. What became clear to me after talking to “real people” is that they may not be all that concerned about “dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s”.
Some of them want “good enough” solutions and worrying about perfection is just not in their mental model. Some of them want to get their feet wet, since that is the only way they can internalize the capabilities. Others want to save money. Even though the buzz word has been around for a while, market penetration is still not all that high.
One piece of advice I gave technologists (a long time ago) that seems to be critical in the highly dynamic world of IT and its interaction with the business today is: “Once you get the buy signal, stop talking, since all you can do at that point is ‘dig a hole’.” The buyer (internal or external) probably doesn’t care how hard your job is -- they just want to know how easy it will make their job. I caught myself a few times today starting to go down in the details that the folks I was talking with were just not read for.
In talking with people today about their real issues, most of their requirements are relatively straight-forward. They don’t need all the bells and whistles an enterprise class client may require – and that’s OK. You can’t assume everyone has the most stringent requirements you’ve ever encountered. I beleive that HP actually understands this well. Everyone is different, so they need choices, but they need help as well.
In talking to folks looking at cloud its best to find out what the issues are they are trying to address, not dazzle them with your footwork. Getting started in cloud is really not that hard. After all, almost every startup in the world is doing it.
Another old adage that I’ve used when talking with technical leaders that came to mind was the first law of technical leadership – “Don’t discourage them.”
I am off to Interop this week in Las Vegas. Hopefully, I'll come across a few things that are worth blogging about.
HP has one of the Interop keynotes on Wednesday and you can watch it here. It is titled: Cloud’s Silver Screen Debut: How HP & DreamWorks Animation Brought Cloud Computing to the Red Carpet
It looks like all the keynotes deal with the cloud.