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

Can the law keep up with technology advances?

digital law.pngWay back in 2005, I wrote a blog post: Law and the Next Big Thing, where I asked the question: “Will Stare Decisis survive the next big thing?” Since the article I linked to in that post is now gone, it made me wonder about articles on the subject today.

 

Now almost 10 years later, there was a post by the World Future Society that is asking similar questions: What Does Moore’s Law Mean For the Rest of Society? The article looks at a number of areas like patents, and policing as well as robotic vehicles. He also looks at technologies effect on jobs and job creation where the author states:

“The new technologies that once created new industries and new jobs are now only creating new productivity without the jobs. Computers, robots, artificial general intelligence, and other technological advances have changed the economic game. From a business point of view, improved productivity is good; but from the point of view of public officials desperate to create jobs for their constituents, not so much. This may be the biggest disruption we face.”

 

I don’t take quite that negative a view, but as we can see from the recent employment numbers, we need to look for new services in order to have new employment.

Half-way through the current wave of technology

I was preparing for HP Discover and it got me thinking about a presentation we pulled together almost 10 years ago (see illustration below - notice it didn't predict the downturn starting in 2008). The presentation did discussed the numerous technological ages in the history of corporate IT, starting with the mainframe, moving to client server, the internet and introduced the concept of a Next Big Thing wave related to computing everywhere. We are now halfway into the latest stage– and it is the second half of a stage where the real value comes to light and the wide-spread deployment takes place.

 

waves of computing.jpg

 

What’s interesting is that this is also the point where the organizations that are not dabbling in the leading edge pop their heads up, look around and wonder how they got there.

 

Everyone is realizing that IT needs to change. Many organizations have a portfolio of solutions that have built up, layer-by-layer from their previous successes, to the point where they're calcified and unable to take on much new. This is usually described as having 80% of the budget locked into keeping the lights on, rather than focused on generating new value for the organization – even though the business may have changed.

 

By now, most organizations have experimented with cloud, big data and automation. We’ve seen the value of automation on IT processes, since that is what enables the kind of productivity improvement we’re experiencing in the cloud computing space. Now it’s time to use those same pattern recognition and analytic techniques on the rest of the business. This is where the abundance of IT capabilities can shine.

 

Unfortunately, it is too easy to think about all this change being relatively new, when it has actually built up over time. We can’t take advantage of it effectively, unless we look at the possibilities in new ways. For example, shifting to view that ‘time to value’ and flexibility as the new measures of performance for IT projects, instead of non-business, commodity measures like system uptime or utilization. That change in perspective is what I'm hoping to discuss in my presentation.

Scarcity, abundance and innovation

 

empty.pngRecently, someone pointed out a video from McKinsey that is talking about how Technological advances can not only improve resource productivity dramatically but also spark the next industrial revolution. I had to laugh a bit since this concept is something that we’ve talked about since the very first blog post (almost 10 years ago) and for our strategy work years before. The abundance of IT can drive innovation in almost any industry.

 

Understanding the interaction between scarcity and abundance is an important part of any enterprise strategy effort. If an innovation can’t be understood from its effects, it probably can’t be used for that particular organization. Just being new, interesting or exciting isn’t enough. Adoption can’t be assumed but needs to be built in the mind of those who should adopt (and adapt).

 

In some situations like the service space that has been traditionally built on access to people and process, the ability to remove people through automation can shake the foundation of how an organization approaches the market. The same could be said about the concept of middle management. Once you shift your view to the default perspective of “Prove that we need them” rather than “We’ve always done it that way”, real chance can happen.

 

I am on my way home from a couple of weeks on the road. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to sit back and think about some of the things that I’ve seen recently and follow my own advice.

 

2013 Survey of topics important to IT

results.pngRecently a survey was taken by the Society for Information Management for the IT trends for 2013.

 

The top 5 IT management concerns in 2013 (page 60) were:

1                     Alignment of IT and/with and/with the business

2                     Business Agility 

3                     Business Productivity 

4                     Business Cost Reduction / Controls 

5                     IT Cost Reduction / Controls

 

But the top 5 issues that were of concern to the person taking the survey (page 63) were:

1                     Alignment of IT and/with and/with the business

2                     Security

3                     Talent/skill shortage

4                     Business continuity / Disaster Recovery

5                     Prioritization process for IT projects

 

I don’t know about you but this difference of perspective between the individual thinking about the priorities of the group and their own priorities is pretty significant. It looks like the management concerns are value and cost, yet the individuals are concerned more about safety.

 

This is an interesting survey that with almost 500 senior IT professionals participating across a diverse cross-section of the economy.

 

I am surprised that IT productivity isn’t pulled out to the same extent that business productivity is for the management concerns. Since that would address some of the talent shortage, cost reduction and controls/quality concerns.

A few things happening before HP Discover

Today (right before HP Discover) the availability of the retail sleeve for the ElitePad was announced. By adding this hardware extension, a tablet that runs the full version of Windows 8 now can have additional features specifically designed for use in a retail setting, allowing them to connect to existing store systems and improve customer service.

 

The extensible nature of the ElitePad is an example the flexibility that needs to be designed into solutions to increase value and the business environment today and in the future. Last month the personal system group within HP announced a whole series of new machines (like the Rove).

 

The new HP Pro and HP Elite series desktop PCs were also announced, including space-saving commercial all-in-ones (AiOs) with rich multimedia and optional touch screens, act as the hub of enterprise productivity. You can see more about these in the press release.

 

This week there should be a number of interest announcements… if you're there have fun it should be a great opportunity to answer questions and learn. I couldn't make it this year.

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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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