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A Peek Over the Horizon

January 9, 2013 1 comment

 

2013 is upon us, budgets are locked and people are looking forward, with great anticipation to the rewards 2013 will surely bring. Many look upon a new year as an opportunity, a time to make adjustments, course correct, set goals and focus on the positive. In my house, one is graduating college, he will get a job (that is the plan, anyway). One is graduating high school, he will go to college and the third will be firmly entrenched in middle school (the teenage equivalent to purgatory).

As far as predictions go, if we really want to go out on a limb, we should focus on 2014, 2013 is too easy (it is after all, already here). Why look further out? A lesson learned from my dad when I first learned to drive, “focus a bit further ahead”, he would say,” it makes the experience much smoother for your passengers”. It makes logical sense, make slight course corrections as you go, but generally look as far out as you can. Much of what will happen for the next few months was determined by our actions at the end of last year. I plan to work hard in 2013 and try to keep the right as smooth as possible. From a predictions standpoint, I am going to skip 2013.

Where we will be in 2014:

  • Cloud becomes the default position, then we will all realize it is actually a hybrid model
  • We might stop arguing about definitions, buzzwords that fizzle
  • The FAA and FCC will decide that phones are ‘ok’ on airplanes, we will all complain
  • The CIO and CMO will be best of friends, like a shotgun wedding
  • Customer Centricity will be a reality, not just a Vision
  • Something not yet on our radar, will cause a major disruption

Cloud – Maybe, just maybe, we will realize that cloud computing is really an extension of a concept created in the 1950s, but the time has come. Everyone will realize that Cloud Computing is simply a metaphor for the things I need computers to do. I need storage, to store stuff, I need CPUs to compute stuff and I need to do both of these things a lot. Deciding to extend your enterprise (personal or company) to the cloud is a business decision that frankly comes down to economics, governance and law. Hence, this will be the job description for the CIO; to evaluate the economic and legal benefit of renting compute time versus buying a computer. The default position for IT will be Cloud first, then On-Premise.

Definitions/Buzzwords – Sadly, it will take another year or more before ‘Social’ will no longer be an important prefix to every business and technology term we have been using since the 1950s. This includes, but will not be limited to: business, customer, marketing, monitoring, networks, CRM and media. We will no longer feel the need to append the suffix ‘Cloud’ on: private, personal, hybrid, open, nor elastic. ‘Cloud’ might just going back to being something related to weather. ‘Mobile’, everything will be mobile, so it will lose its luster and appeal as a descriptor. Influencer will take a backseat to real world Friend.

Airplanes – We will fight for the use of mobile phones on airplanes and the wish we didn’t. We will most certainly become very annoyed with the ringtone in the seat next to us, almost as annoyed as with the person trying to have a conversation talking loudly and saying “WHAT” in order to overcome the engine noise. My last bastion of a ‘leave me alone’ place will be lost. This will make us sad, then angry. By 2015 is that certain flights (like New York/Boston or San Francisco/Seattle) will be designated as NO cell phone flights, like the “quiet car” on the commuter rail.

CMO/CIO – Hatfields/McCoys, Yankees/Red Sox, Barcelona/Real Madrid – ok, maybe not that bad, but you get the point. The CMO has a job to do and has enjoyed the freedom of SaaS. Shadow IT is still going strong, but the CIO is doing their best to gain some control, without appearing to be controlling. The CIO has a tough job, as does the CMO. The best path to success is to work together. The key driver here is going to be the sheer volume of data (buzzword avoided) required to gain a competitive advantage. The CMO will not be able to go it alone, they will need help. Yes, the CMO will have a much greater purchasing authority, possibly surpassing the CIO for technology; but they will need some help. Frenemies to the end!

Customer Centric – Companies who do not put the customer front and center, understand their jobs-to-be-done and learn to co-create value with their customers, through value-in-use will not be doing very well. This is what customer centricity is about. We will spend 2013 talking about it more, trying to understand it better and ready to execute in 2014.

Disruption – Something not even on our radar will cause major disruption. It is hard to say exactly what this is, or will be, but it is lurking, waiting to pounce. If I knew exactly what it was, I would be planning for it.

My focus for 2013? Context…

The word for 2013 is ‘Context’. Context will help (me at least) in the transition from what and why, to how. I will be spending a lot of time in 2013 working to understand the proper context of, data, information and timing; mostly to determine relevance.

If you would like some help getting from here to there, feel free to give me a call!

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Some Thoughts on Cloud(s)

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

When business people discuss ‘Cloud’ they think Salesforce and maybe Citrix or Microsoft, while technologists think Amazon, Google and Rackspace. Business owners want and believe that they can swipe the credit card, and ‘the system’ is ready tomorrow. To technologists, it is a bit more complex than that, but they too want simplicity. To the IT organization if there are no physical goods, servers, tapes, power supplies, then it is not real. To the line of business, they are tired or asking IT for permission, giving IT the upper hand in business application decision making. Therefore, what it really comes down to is this: To the business it is about gaining control, the IT department it is about losing control. Do not underestimate the emotional elements that go into the decision making process surrounding ‘Cloud’. I did not bring up the most important person, the CFO who has read the first half of the Op Ex v Cap Ex article talking about how Cloud is cheaper (the second half is not quite written yet, but it will say that depending upon the application the cost lines cross at between 4 and 6 years).

Everything is Perspective

Cloud is an overused term, all started when we were too lazy to draw lots of servers and explain what was outside of our firewall – we drew a picture of a cloud. Which, back in the day, was meant to represent the ‘Internet’ – Yes, the whole thing. Lots of people, including myself at a point in time, used the electricity model to describe cloud. To the uninitiated, this works just fine. To others, the metaphor begins to break down and then everyone starts picking it apart. To those folks, I simply say “relax” it is, after all, a metaphor. The detailed oriented among us start to go on the attack and say “well, no security is required for electrons”. Yes, that is true, you win. The simple idea is that companies need a way to innovate, adapt, move and grow at a much faster pace. Having one less thing to worry about, to many people is a good thing. There are those among us who would suggest that Cloud is one MORE thing to worry about. Then don’t…

You – the CIO or IT department will be (or have been) asked to do more with less, optimize your computing power, deal with more data, have five 9s uptime, spend less on electricity and drive innovation. You are asked to think about things you never considered to be your job, like cooling systems, how much weight the floor can support, the electric bill and so much more. It is starting to feel a lot like a data center. So, there might just be a cloud and/or data center inside your firewall (physically or logically). In the end, it is as simple as balancing resources, time and money and enabling your organization to sell, support, collaborate and innovate. Do you need cloud in order to do that? An unconditional – It depends.

I am looking forward to exploring these topics as well as a few others next week at the CIO Cloud Summit. Maybe I will see you there?

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