It is interesting to me that people will often attribute ongoing issues to new technologies. In Lori MacVittie’s blog post: Never attribute to technology that which is explained by the failure of people, she talks about the issue of improperly designed load balancing and how some people will view this as a cloud computing issue. Clearly it is not and it has been around since the first parallel processing efforts took place.
There are numerous examples of this misattribution today in technology, whether it is:
- Cloud causes greater integration issues than before – which is really the enterprise architecture issues that organizations have been dealing with since at least the advent of client/server.
- The attention crunch of the mobile/social era – this has been discussed since the dark ages.
- Technology adoption - the Luddites are the poster child for this.
- The increased complexity of cloud when added to the existing environment – this is also an architecture issue that we’ve been dealing with for decades.
Technology adoption and vendor management are core skills that teams should have already that will be increasing in importance. With every new technology there are new problems as well as solutions, but it is surprising how many of the problems existed before - we just may need to relearn the solutions.
Peter Kretzman in his post about the death of the CIO says that we have all heard quotes like:
“Users can go out and get their own technology now; they don’t need IT to do it for them. End-users are now IT-savvy, and can fend for themselves. They’ll bring their own devices (BYOD); they don’t need or want IT to provide devices for them. They’ll procure the services they need and want from the various SaaS offerings in the cloud or from outsourced vendors, and they’ll handle it all themselves.”
But just because we’ve heard them doesn’t make it true. When you talk to people about this kind of sentiment, it ultimately gets expressed as the question: “Who needs a CIO anymore?” It can even go further to: “Who needs an IT department at all anymore? “
In Kretzman’s post, he goes on to talk about how, “this frequent linking of cloud and IT consumerization to the looming demise of the CIO and IT is not just misguided, but actually gets it completely backwards.”
There are definitely changes taking place to the underlying technology that fuels IT. I agree that the off-loading of some of this effort (that is no longer valued by the enterprise) should free up the IT organization to focus on what is actually important to the bottom line.
Some of the elements that were viewed as “technical” are not as much of a differentiator as they used to be. Agile CIOs are making adjustments. The fact remains that all the new value generation efforts (social, mobile and analytics) are enabled by technology – that is undeniable.
These enablers require a degree of discipline (security, data integration, 3rd party management…). Even if hardware support and some of the value enabling software disappears into a service, the business is still left with everything else needed to integrate the activities and deliver value. If it is or isn’t called IT or the role is called the CIO; it is irrelevant – skilled personnel that understand what is required will still be needed.
One area I’ve started to have much more interest in lately is the underlying shifts to Information Technology within organizations based on the deployment of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC).UCC is a topic that has been talked about for almost a decade, but because of the downturn in the economy few organizations have actually taken advantage of the breadth of capabilities available.
UCC is likely to have quite an impact in the year ahead for a greater percentage of businesses. It is not about a single product or a single initiative, but more about a different way to interact between the business, its employees and even suppliers and customers. It is more than just deploying VoIP but instead looking at the breadth and capabilities of the devices and interfaces available to pull the organization together to address business needs in a more timely fashion. In the near future, you’ll see much greater use of the computing capabilities available to mine these various interactions (both text based as well as speech and video) and through the use of various context recognition techniques tagged so that it can be more effectively accessed. The security implications of the retention and tagging of this kind of material needs to be better understood within most organizations.
The use of more standardized UCC techniques will increase where the local needs can be met with a veneer of customization and integration, addressing the conflict between standardization and customization. Naturally the whole drive to BYOD will impact deployments and force even more flexibility into organizations IT planning.
There will be some big industry shifts in 2012, so IT organizations will need to keep tabs on what is going on and remain light on their feet, making adjustments along the way. Organizations who do not understand the fundamental nature of the shifts will likely end up with lower satisfaction of both their clients and their employees.
Where I’ll probably be focusing more attention on in the short term though is the benefits and methods for increased adoption.
Last week, I was part of a panel discussing innovation and technical adoption with a number of CEOs in the Dallas Texas area. During the discussion we talked about the opportunities that exist around us and the new type of business models that will be driving organizations forward.
I was asked what kind of research is needed to for organizations today to match the new service opportunities of tomorrow, After the meeting some other folks in the HP Services and Solutions lab went through a few iterations to come up with a short paragraph that captures the essence of our thinking:
“Staying aligned with rapidly evolving business needs will require future enterprises to be agile and dynamic. The ability to identify and link related data, establish the right information flow, connect people and information, and provide insights on information is crucial in enabling decision making from an ever increasing stream of information. Research is needed to reduce the time to action for the enterprise, and streamline the organizational changes necessary to proactively react to the competitive landscape of the firm. In the enterprise of the future, not only employees but also customers influence success, it is important to establish the relationships and foster the collaborative culture among employees, customers, suppliers and the enterprise, and engage this ecosystem in generating value. Enabling this vision will require automated capture of digital information, technologies for connecting people-to-people and people-to-information, platforms for data analysis, response automation, context recognition, dynamic configuration capabilities, innovative collaborative technologies and knowledge enabled decision-making. As business becomes more digital (and social), these advances will be the foundation and measure for the value of IT in the enterprise.”
Tomorrow I’ll have another post about the vision implied by this research.
A while back I posted about HP pod computing and how pods are manufactured. While I was in Montreal last week, I talked with Pete Deacon, who unlike Hal was able to open the pod (bay) door. Pete provided some insight on what others were asking about pods, why they are so flexible and what new types of value they can deliver.
This computing technology allows organizations to move beyond the floor space constraints of their current data center into less contrained facilities or even their parking lot.
When I get to see the pod in Toronto this week, I’ll likely post a bit more.