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

Do you think IT decision drivers are changing?

choices.jpgFor a while now there is constant conversation that the traditional drivers are obsolete. Do you think that is true or are we just looking at the problem differently. IT organizations have gotten into the habit of striving for:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Reduced total cost of ownership and predictability
  • Increased Service quality (usually measured by component uptime)

Now business organizations claim they are looking for IT’s effect on:

  • Business growth
  • Flexibility to addressing changing needs
  • Increased service quality (now measured by time-to-market, time to action, security)

These are not totally the opposite, the way they might seem, though the difference can be quite jarring if you can’t adjust your perspective. To me it is like the difference between velocity and acceleration. Without one you can’t have the other.

 

For example: we need our lowest cost, but with business growth that effective IT should enable, the costs (and value) may increase. It is the abundance of capabilities that allowed us to look at the problems differently.

 

Usually within a few moments of starting a discussion with a group you can understand their view of the world. You then need to decide what you can do about it.

This week is National Engineer’s Week.

eweek.pngThis week is National Engineer’s Week.

 

Founded by NSPE in 1951, EWeek (February 22–28, 2015) is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.

 

I mentioned the Raspberry Pi in space effort and will be judging a robotics competition later this week. What engineering related activities will be going on near you?

Diversity of perspective and the strategic value of doubt

Strategy.gifI was in a discussion the other day with some folks espousing the view that urban lifestyles are the answer to a large number of issues faced today. Always being a bit of curmudgeon, I pushed back saying that supply and demand may have something to say about this, since the closer we push people together the more fragile the ecosystem can be, in the area of food logistics, transportation, health care and many other areas. They stated that an urban environment is more creative, like it was a fact.

 

The concept of cities being an engine for innovation may actually be more of a 20th century phenomenon. We now live with virtual communities that are incorporating devices, individuals and even corporations as collaborating entities. We can collaborate more easily and have ad-hoc interactions – bandwidth is really the measurement of distance in many ways.

 

There are also economic factors - as people migrate away from the mid-west, areas of low cost with high connectivity are created. The exodus will likely stabilize or even shift, as the market reacts to the latent value possibilities that exist.

 

I was reading a recently released book Future Smart by James Canton about how we need to open up our world view to what future possibilities may hold and the need to reinvent ourselves. The book definitely has some good ideas and references, but there is an underlying ‘Silicon Valley centric’ view of “we’ve got it right” that distracts and discredits the range of future possibilities.  

 

There are many alternatives as I think about some of the intersections between industries and the possible implications. For example: Some people view the autonomous car as the death knell of the personal vehicles – why own it if it can just be there when you need it. At the same time, the intersection between home energy generation and the storage capabilities of the electric vehicle may make it an essential component of the green home of the future, stabilizing supply and demand for a families energy needs.

 

When organizations get into strategic planning discussions, it is definitely necessary to have a range of diverse perspectives. Everyone is entitled to their option and for this type of planning it is actually the conflicts that point to opportunities. If everyone is thinking the same way, some of you are redundant.

Why do you think the world will be that way? What if it isn’t? What opportunity may exist? As we look at the exponential expansion of capabilities and the underlying shifts in what’s scarce and abundant, trying to reach a consensus will help everyone plan for the future. That process may be what the author meant by being ‘future smart’.

Personal agents and services – we need to expect more

gossip.pngOne area I find exciting is the collaboration between humans and automation that is going to have a significant impact on the future of services. An area that is needed to support this collaboration is Personal agents and there has been substantial interest lately.

 

Bill Gates says he is working on a Personal Agent and you may have seen (included in Windows 10 beta) Cortana -- you know who Cortana is if you play Halo. This is pretty exciting, but I am sure there are some people who remember Clippy and wonder if this will just be a reincarnation. I don’t think so!

 

We have so much more context recognition capability now than we had back then (as well as the computing power to go with it). With all the data around us, there is a need to use agents to help us focus our attention on those areas that need our creativity.

 

I can’t wait to see where the industry takes this, since moving from a generic approach like Cortana to a business specific approach is inevitable. The reassessment and reinvestment in agents is definitely one of the technologies that will shift services in 2015 and later. Industry and even company specific agents will definitely fall out of this work, so we might as well plan to experiment and understand where it will do the most good.

HP Matter: Healthcare

Mobile Healthcare.pngEarlier this month HP released a Healthcare industry specific issue of its HP Matter e-magazine that is created in partnership with FastCompany.

 

This joint activity covers a wide range of design, culture, experience and trending issues. For example:

Just to name a few of the articles. This wide-ranging set of material is taking the previous industry specific material to a whole new level from a range of perspectives. Next month will be focused on the Telecom industry.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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