There seems to be a number of people doing some pretty serious thinking at the moment. On the one side there are CIOs and business managers grappling with some very real challenges and on the other some very good work on identifying the key factors that underlie these challenges. I think the playing field for CIOs was pretty well defined by the phrase; ‘Business Process Management, Service-Oriented Architecture, and Web 2.0; (is this a) Business Transformation or a Train Wreck?’ I suspect you spotted that there was no mention of clouds in this, well that may be because it is actually the title of a free Oracle white paper http://www.itbusinessedge.com/offer.aspx?o=00300099CTOspon&pc=defoffctoedge and Oracle are a little reticent on clouds.
On the other hand there does seem to be a dawning recognition that clouds are merely a collection of technologies, and the change factor is where, and why, you need to deploy these technologies in a particular manner to solve new business requirements. (I have covered various aspects of this in previous blogs such as ‘why are clouds so hard to understand’ http://www.capgemini.com/ctoblog/2010/02/why_are_clouds_so_hard_to_unde.php) . So actually the Oracle focus on three major aspects and their use in solutions, rather than just throwing in the term ‘clouds’ does make sense. But what is the change in focus, where are the CIO issues, or what’s wrong with IT as we currently know it?
Thomas Wailgum really hit the mark in mid March in a widely reproduced blog entitled ‘Why the new normal could kill IT’ http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/031210-why-the-new-normal-could.html. It is really worth reading his detailed breakdown of the issue, but in summary it comes down to external circumstances such as the credit crunch and recession forcing a re-examination of all aspects of business and the unfavourable light it shines on IT. That means IT as we currently know it – a solution for back office automation of relatively stable processes – in comparison with the way that people can find, use and pay for technology services in the age of the web, but most of all what they want to be able to do with technology. Do read it, it’s well worth it!
But what is, or are, the new business imperatives that IT is not supporting? This debate is not new either and usually hinges around Enterprise 2.0 and business models. A lot has been said and written on this already so can there really be something new and valuable to add? Indeed there can, and there is, posted by Hutch Carpenter a few weeks ago based on the concept of using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs http://www.cloudave.com/link/maslow-s-hiera rchy-of-enterprise-2-0-roi.
You only have to glance at his diagram to see that he is absolutely rethinking and adding value to the whole concept of an organisation driven by change, and how that plays out to unite a people-driven interactive culture based on sound business principles.
Hutch has added some other interesting stuff and post regularly on Cloud Ave http://www.cloudave.com/html/About.html which is a site that I regularly like to visit and find interesting. But in this case I would like to give the concluding thoughts to Mike Bergman who reckons that the change forces are ‘Open Source, Open World, Web, and Semantics to Transform the Enterprise’ in his blog that ties blogs from several sources, including one of my own, into a post called ‘Changing IT for Good’ http://www.mkbergman.com/873/changing-it-for-good/. Mike addresses some heavyweight issues of what happens, or needs to happen, to really make the change. Again well worth reading and using to get reference links as well.
Now all these changes look much more like the kind of moves that an agile private sector enterprise could make, not something for heavyweight government. Actually I think it’s a series of changes that society as a whole will be the driving force of change. In the European model the expectation of citizens that egovernment means that they will get individually unique outcomes to their requirements from governments that increasingly talk up expectations will play its part. In the USA it will be the expectations of a more open and liberal government in which democracy means personalisation.
A pretty heavy post with some opinionated points at the end, so I am expecting some interesting posts in reply.