The Future of Enterprise I.T.
As we look to the future and what it means for IT, we first have to look back at where we’ve been.
As we look to the future and what it means for IT, we first have to look back at where we’ve been. What has helped us get here, as well as the journey IT departments have taken, says a lot about how we’ll react when trends influence us in the future.
Have you ever stopped to look at how much technology has changed in your day-to-day workplace in just the past five years? We consider today’s Consumerization wave to be similar to how the telephone used to be used in offices. Initially the telephone was reserved for use only as a business tool in the workplace, (e.g., personal calls were often a firing offense), and then over time it became acceptable to use phones for limited personal use as the work/life balance blended. We see similar trends happening in IT today. Just six years ago, smart phones and tablets with multiple functions and capabilities didn’t. Instant messaging was just gaining popularity in the home, and employers tried to prevent employees from using it at work. Trying to get more than three hours of battery life out of a notebook was a dream, and the notebook itself weighed 10 pounds. Wireless was just starting to emerge as a communication standard, and it required big, bulky adapters.
It has definitely been an interesting journey over the past 10 years. Recently, IT departments have seen two major waves, and now a third, push them in directions they may have not planned for. The first was centralization, where many IT shops moved their resources to a main IT Department. The results were platform standardization, lower total cost of ownership (TCO) through bulk purchasing, and a drive toward Service Oriented Architecture. The next wave that hit was mobilization, where IT shops started moving from desktop systems to laptop systems, with the result of increased employee productivity and better work/life balance. This gained significant traction once wireless became pervasive, and now many, if not most, households in the U.S. have wireless and can’t think of a world without it.
The newest wave to hit IT shops is consumerization, which has the potential to change the way we “do IT” more than ever. Four to five years ago, IT was the technology leader: We spent more on technology than end users and tended to adopt it much faster than the general public. But lately end users are spending more on technology than IT is, adopting technologies at a much faster pace than IT is, and embracing consumer technologies at a faster pace in their home environment. More and more, work isn’t just a place you go to; it’s what you do. People work from their office, their home, the road, and many other places. End users are becoming accustomed to using the technologies and trends they have at their disposal, leading to what we call the Blended Computing model – using personal services and technologies on corporate systems, and using corporate services on personal systems. This has led to a surge in other sub-trends such as Bring Your Own (BYO) and cloud technologies. While BYO seemed like a good idea in the beginning, it has really only gained good traction in the Small Form Factor, or smart phone area. This is mainly because the technologies and security are required to support the core services that lend themselves to these devices are the only ones that have matured thus far. Cloud technologies are also emerging because they offer agility and flexibility.The cloud enables interoperability, efficiency, and effectiveness to deliver information across the enterprise. Cloud offers far-reaching functionality and capabilities, which provide the ability to share different computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released effortlessly, and can still send information to any device. What started mainly as a service to provide Web content has now emerged into a full platform that delivers many services. End users with phones and tablets are the biggest consumer (63 percent) of cloud services today. However, when you look at the roadmap for these devices over the past few years, you notice they’ve been getting richer in features and capabilities. In addition, companies are now heavily dependent upon technology to be successful in their business, and rely upon high performance and reliability requirements. Moving from single core processors to multiple core processors, higher end graphics, and many more capabilities including wireless, technology maturity has created a major dependency shift. Some cloud services, such as Netflix, are now consuming as much as 30 percent of Internet bandwidth in the United States.