Change

pablo (2)

Seems to me that lots of change is about to happen in corporate IT. There has been chatter for years about everything moving to the cloud and disk drives are dead or everything must be mobile or the like and most of those brash predictions are just nonsense. They might be true in a corner or in a niche or in some limited applications, but in general, they are nonsense. Few things in IT change overnight or even in a year. Many times is takes decades.

WSJ just posted an article about things we’d like to see die (fax machines) and it is mostly about right. The bulky ERP on the list is right and wrong. Yes, we’d like them to go away and magically be in the cloud, which means someone else’s computer, but it just can’t happen quickly for big organizations. The shift to some of these platforms is really, really, really hard.

However, this time it feels like change is happening. Incrementally. Here are some thoughts:

  1. There is going to be turmoil and turnover in applications used and deployed in the coming years. It is likely that apps installed and put into production last year will be replaced by different applications next year. There are new SaaS solutions appearing weekly and some vendors are integrating lots of functions into a suite (ServiceNow, Salesforce.com, WorkDay, etc.).
  2. Data growth will continue with no real slowdown in sight. Storage is cheap and the engineers want to save everything forever. The data scientist types will want the data saved forever too.
  3. Turmoil will continue with hardware and software vendors. The current wave of M&A activity will continue. Suites gobble up small application companies. Infrastructure companies gobble up other infrastructure companies. Others just won’t make it. The hype cycles will continue.
  4. Security or information protection is getting harder. No easy end in sight.
  5. Lots of stress in IT. Do all of the above, spend little or less, keep everything secure and be faster.

What else?

Getting Better?

I usually don’t pay much attention to IT futurists who like to tell us how IT will look in a few years. I mostly think those articles are written by people who are looking to increase their following or subscribers and are not likely based on real insights. One group I followed years ago wrote about Future IT and while some of the points where great, I thought others were absurd.

But, as I think about IT and where it is going, I think corporate IT is getting smarter and has more options than it has had in the past.

  • We can host applications internally or in public clouds or in a blend.
  • We can use open source solutions for some parts of the stack.
  • We can virtualize services and avoid more and more hardware.
  • We can use SaS solutions in some cases.
  • We can outsource parts of our service in areas where we don’t want to operate.

And we have new IT visibility tools that can give us deeper insights into our own operations than ever before. ServiceNow, Apptio, and xMatters give us more options than ever before.

I’m not sure we are getting smarter and I’m not sure if we are getting more respect from our business partners, but I do think we have more options than ever before.

What do you think?

Hardware Foundation Behind Everything

There is an article on HBR called “Does Hardware Even Matter Anymore?” which discusses product development and how new systems/solutions/apps are all software related. It reminded me of 2013 blog post entitled, “Don’t call it ‘the cloud’. Call it ‘someone else’s computer.‘”

I get the abstraction idea in the first article and firms like Google and Salesforce.com deliver amazing capabilities where the hardware is hidden behind the scenes. However, don’t forget that all these amazing systems/solutions/apps are running on hardware behind the scenes (or in your hand). Companies like Google and Salesforce.com lull you into thinking they are software companies, but don’t forget that they are huge hardware companies with data centers located somewhere. Systems/solutions/apps are running on your smartphone (hardware) and then likely connected to some ‘cloud’ systems running on Amazon’s cloud or another ‘cloud’ somewhere else in the world (more hardware).

Servers, storage, networking and related are the backbone behind all these things.

There is hardware somewhere in the stack.