Where IT is Going (Thin is In)

We’ll move into the cloud, reorganize ourselves, and finally use thin clients. It’s time to stop talking.


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We tend to talk a lot about things long before we do them. We talk, and talk and talk. Then we talk some more. We subscribe to professional talkers like Gartner, Forrester, Cutter and IDC, among countless other sources of brilliance. We talked endlessly about eBusiness, supply chain management, business intelligence and digital security – and then did them all. We also write a hell of a lot about all this. Week after week we describe, explain and predict what’s happening. We want all of you to talk about what we write.

OMG, is all this really that complicated?

Can we predict what we’ll do after we’re finished talking? Better still, can be predict what we’ll do without all the talking (and writing)? Yes we can.

So here’s where we’ll all going (whether we like it or not):

We’ll all end up in the cloud.

I realize that we’re going to talk obsessively about when it’s ready, what it can and cannot actually do, how secure it is, how well it scales and on and on and on. But we will all end up in the cloud – to some extent or another.

We’re already there. We’re renting software. Nearly everyone has at least their heads in the cloud. We’re also renting hardware – less so than software – but renting nonetheless. Much fewer of us have subscribed to the “platform-as-a-service” opportunity, but we will. Why am I so sure about this?

Because of the combinatorial effect of multiple decision drivers such as: the need to manage costs, the growing fear CFOs have about big CAPEX technology projects, the need to provision capabilities fast, the inability of many companies to police themselves with practical governance, and the endless search for TCO and ROI.

Also because: the lack of expertise about new architectures and technologies (especially Web 2.0 technologies and service- and event-driven architectures), the need to optimize the centralization/decentralization conundrum, and the need to escape the corporate politics that surrounds every single technology investment – among other simple and complex technology acquisition, deployment and management drivers.

Not to mention the core competency argument. You know, the one that asks over and over again: “are you sure you need to be in the technology business?” Regardless of when you date the inevitability of the cloud, we can now stop talking about it and just fly into it, if only gradually, though purposefully.

We’ll completely ditch computing and communications infrastructure.

Does anyone really care about email? Sure it’s a killer communications app, but it’s also the quintessential commodity.

Why are you paying Microsoft (or some other vendor) huge amounts of money to enable your communications, workflow and collaboration processes? Isn’t there another way to get there?

All of those who predicted the full commoditization of computing and communications infrastructure were right on the money. I love to watch the reaction of people when they learn they have 250GB of storage on gmail for free (versus the standard 50MB or 100MB “allotment” that many IT departments “grant” their users).

We already have multiple partners for our communications infrastructure. All that’s left are the boxes, and they can be rented for pennies a day. Come on, you know it’s only a matter of time. Like a month or two. When will you start the pilot?

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Tags: cloud computing, software, IT, thin client, Storage

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