By Alan Flower
For those of us who have invested most of our working lives in the IT, there is a profound voice of change ringing across the community signaling something has changed. Indeed, even if you have joined the industry only recently you will surely see that a seismic fracture has appeared within the industry that indicates a distinct break from the ‘old way’ of doing IT.
Many of us have become conditioned to ride through cyclical changes in the industry; whether be it the current favorite piece of technology or a preferred approach, it evolves over time and eventually every one of the fads gets replaced by the next big thing. But I think, right now, at this particular point in time we are seeing a truly permanent and irreversible shift in the way we approach IT.
We have all watched the evolution of cloud technologies along with the adoption of the remaining elements of the SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud) revolution. But I think what caught many of us by surprise was the reality of the business and societal forces driving the adoption of these enablers.
I firmly believe we now live in an age of limitless opportunity, an age that also offers pretty much unlimited technology at zero or negligible cost. Coupled with the leveling effects of the internet and widespread low cost mobile connectivity, we find ourselves living in a time of relentless technology-enabled business innovation.
Clearly, in a world rapidly being redefined by 21st Century Enterprises, technology has become the key enabler of differentiation and disruption for businesses both old and new.
Every business leader is today confronted with a rapidly changing landscape, competitors who come and go with alarming speed and alacrity and everyone is using technology to drive business advantage. Whether to enrich the customer experience or make visible previously-hidden insights, all businesses demand appropriate technology to be made available to them to enable rapid launch of products and services which helps them stay several steps in front of the competition.
This new intensity of business has made life in IT somewhat interesting, to say the least. Indeed, the relationship between IT and the business has become tense in recent years as the business’ focus on agility and innovation has collided with the slow, reliable and often cautious approach of enterprise IT departments.
Business leaders increasingly exhibit a level of impatience and urgency that cannot tolerate a less than agile IT estate. New services have to be provisioned in real time, they must offer unlimited scalability and, of course, they will need to be charged on a consumption basis.
The days of long procurement cycles, long term contractual obligations, exhaustive pre-defined specifications and lengthy project schedules are gone. Forever. As Dorothy declared in the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ we are definitely not in Kansas anymore.