Enterprise Software

Six Enterprise mega trends to watch in 2010

As an aid to your decision making, the CTOvision.com site tracks the megatrends they see sweeping across the IT landscape.

Most enterprise technologists should see a continued payoff of the hard work in planning, architecture, documentation, development and configuration work that has been occurring over the last several years.  Enterprise technologists were building Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) long before SOA was over-hyped.  And most enterprise technologists I know were investigating constructs of scalable, elastic Cloud Computing capabilities long before that became the dominate theme in trade journals, conferences, and tech blogging.  With all the hard work and progress seen in enterprises to date we could be in store for some very positive improvements in 2010.

There are other mitigating factors to watch, however.  Some that come immediately to mind are the steady pressures to reduce budgets and the constantly increasing security challenges.  Mission requirements are also continuing to accelerate.

So what will the net assessment be by the end of 2010? There are many variables at play here, but in theory the greatest determinant of technological outcomes are the leaders of the IT enterprise.  What you decide will have a great impact on how well your mission is served.

As an aid to your decision making, the CTOvision.com site tracks the megatrends we see sweeping across the IT landscape.  The following is an update on six we believe to be of significant relevance to the enterprise Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO).  They are:

  1. Convergence and trends towards unified communications and user empowerment
  2. The continued dominance of American IT
  3. Increasing open development of software and hardware
  4. Cloud Computing and massive ingest/parsing of data
  5. Green IT and support to total mission effectiveness
  6. Increasing pace of technology improvement/development

Convergence and trends towards unified communications and user empowerment

Consumerization and its impact on IT development has been a trend for the last five years and it shows no sign of slowing. All IT around the globe is being impacted by this trend, and IT development is focusing increasingly on consumers vice government or enterprises.  The good news here is that enterprise employees are increasingly becoming technology savvy power users that should be fast studies when it comes to learning the power of enterprise IT. The bad news is many enterprise users will have very high, frequently unrealistic expectations of what their enterprise IT will be able to provide for them, since enterprises have special security and regulatory (as well as budgetary) concerns that many home uses do not have.  Another important impact of this trend is that most enterprise users are becoming very used to social media, which can enable enterprises to support mass collaboration on problems.

Consumers are also a big reason the IT industry is fielding increasing location-aware capabilities, and many of these will be of use in enterprise solutions (one I am currently watching closely is SenseNetworks).

Individual enterprise users are also the reason IT departments must focus on information discovery capabilities vice the old style information search tools. Users are demanding this and other productivity advancements.

The continued dominance of American IT

The fact that US stockholders own and US citizens run most all enterprise IT firms is something we should all be proud of.  Our American way of education and competition has generated great firms that dominate, for now, the IT landscape (see the CTOvision.com Tech Titan List). For enterprises with special national security concerns this can be one factor that helps in assessments of threats to IT supply chain attacks.  But also of importance, the leadership of these firms and their corporate headquarters are all very open to interactions from enterprise IT leaders from the federal government, and in every interaction I've ever had with them they are all very appreciative of the missions supported by federal IT leaders.  The availability and proximity of these great firms is something our federal enterprise should take continued advantage of.

Increasing open development of software and hardware

All major IT firms, including the powerhouses that produce proprietary software and hardware, are now embracing the open source movement.  Even Microsoft has an open source strategy that applies to some of their offerings.  The open source community has long benefited from the developer talent in big companies that help produce and further code in Linux (see Red Hat for a supported variety), OpenOffice and many other open source solutions.  We can all expect proprietary software will be the most full featured software (for many market reasons), but even that will be built in a way that works well with open source. The benefit to enterprises is a wider range of choices in solutions, and in many cases an ability to field solutions faster and with more security and lower cost.  We can also expect all federal enterprises will find ways to enhance internal collaboration on software development projects, for example, the Forge.mil collaborative development capability.

Cloud Computing and massive ingest/parsing of data

After years of planning and hard work and design enterprise technologists have finally begun to see benefit from the concept of "private clouds," where the scalable, elastic access to resources leveraged by public clouds can now be used in more secure enterprise infrastructures.  And the cloud computing trends in the IT sector have resulted in a great suite of interoperable capabilities ready to improve private cloud security, reliability and performance.  Private clouds also strongly support continued requirements for large scale ingest and parsing of data to support enterprise missions, and they can do this in a way that makes disaster preparedness and recovery much easier to plan for.

Green IT and support to total mission effectiveness

The movement to Green IT first began as a way to do the right thing, with government and industry realizing the PC's and monitors being fielded should be built in more energy efficient ways. Perhaps the most visible activity in this area is Energy Star, a government-backed program designed to help businesses and individuals save energy.  But many other activities have arose including an executive order requiring all federal IT efforts to support strict new Green IT rules.  The cost of energy has also been a continual driver.  As enterprises look for ways to save power they are also looking at travel budgets and the cost of sending people to distant meetings and this is placing more demand on capabilities that enable collaboration from a distance.  Energy efficiency is also another driver of telecommuting, which will put pressure on IT departments to enable secure access to enterprise clouds from anyplace a worker is.

Increasing pace of technology improvement/development

The CTO's of federal enterprise are a busy bunch.  Not only do they have to articulate standards and guidance for their enterprise, but they must continually track the many changes coming out of IT companies big and small.  There is never enough time to do this, and all indications are that the speed of technology advancement will only increase.  All enterprise technologists should consider the mechanisms they can put in place to learn of and evaluate technologies which may be of interest.  My hope is that one of your resources in doing that is my blog at http://ctovision.com. This site tracks megatrends, including the six in this post. We also list firms big and small that are fielding capabilities which can dramatically enhance mission effectiveness, and do so in order to provide advanced warning for enterprise technologists who must maintain awareness of what is coming.

These trends are relevant to all, and an awareness of them should help your planning process.  They call for an acceleration of green IT, virtualization systems, social media, collaboration tools and new user-focused devices into the enterprise.  They also call for more direct dialog with users since many of these capabilities can transform their way of work.  And they call for enterprise technologists from every agency to continue to scan the horizon to look for what's new.  That need will likely never stop.

16 comments
Bjarne Rasmussen
Bjarne Rasmussen

The external cloud has limited traction with the fortune 500, mostly restricted to niche requirements like CRM (salesforce.com), email (Google Mail),recruitment (Taleo), Expenses (Concur) etc. To the Fortune 500, the much touted Amazon EC2 Infrastructure as a service solution may only be relevant as a ?Cloud Burst? option where temporary capacity is required for none sensitive work such as number crunching. In the SME market place the External Cloud is much more relevant as the ?Trust versus Risk? debate can swing more towards Trust than the Fortune 500 are currently prepared to accept. All this will change ? but not in the short term. This is why all the analysts have recognized the Private Cloud as the dominating Cloud Strategy for the larger enterprises. An areas of concern for external cloud is Service Level Agreement, an areas that need attention in order to advance the use of cloud computing. See http://www.ca.com/us/press/release.aspx?cid=225545

Ken Cameron
Ken Cameron

Bob, an excellent article and certainly thought provoking. My comments are mostly ?twists? to some of your points: Convergence, Unified Communications and User Empowerment: not sure about combining these into the same bullet. I would actually add ?Social Networking? to give the combination of UC and users into a clearer focus. We are rapidly approaching an age where not being connected will be the exception. Mobile devices are empowering the user, and it includes data, voice, and image. What lies in the not so distant future is when EVERYONE is connected to EVERYTHING from EVERYWHERE and AT ALL TIMES. Are we that far from having imbedded chips supplying all the functions of a Blackberry, Droid, iPhone, etc.? There are really only three hurdles to perpetual connectivity: privacy, overload and control (ON/OFF/PAUSE). Dominance of American IT: it is impossible to predict how the American versus foreign debate will play out. As pure debate, it sure didn?t matter much in the car industry or with calculators. When the battle comes down to dollars versus source, dollars appear to win every time. I think that will continue. That being said, I do believe that quality is becoming increasingly important and is becoming part of the ?financial? evaluation in such matters. In other words, companies are beginning to understand that there is an additional cost to off-shoring if you lose customers due to poor English on your 800 number. Recently, we have seen an increase to offshore development requiring an ongoing on-shore presence, which reduces ?some? of the cost advantage of off-shoring. That plus the higher inflation rates will slowly normalize the environment. If we Americans can also take our heads out of the sand and realize that we must focus on our on-shore costs, the off-shoring frenzy should ebb over time. There is another potential (and obtuse) nuance to this American versus foreign dilemma. I can actually visualize the readers of this comment laughing, but I am serious. The nuance is the mainframe. IBM has gradually been pouring investment dollars into the FUTURE mainframe. There are quite a few major enterprises that are catching on to what IBM is really doing, positioning the mainframe as the Cadillac in virtualization hosts (which will morph into Cloud host). In the last several weeks, IBM has announced Linux ONLY versions of the mainframe. An enterprise class z/10 can run hundreds (and even thousands) of Linux instances, and you get all of the inherent benefits of the mainframe hardware: the most reliable, most scalable, most serviceable, most ?green? and most cost effective server on the market. And quietly, IBM has been supporting firms working on z/OpenSolaris and z/Windows. So, leading back to the topic, America absolutely dominates the mainframe skills market. ?OPEN? and Cloud Computing: I believe ?open? and Cloud Computing have to become interlinked. We all know that Cloud Computing is the hottest topic in today?s IT world. Of course, hottest topic? equals ?hype?. Will Cloud Computing eventually lead to a single open technology platform? Linux? This would certainly be controversial when looking at today?s vendor landscape. But, it is something we will have to decide as an industry. Speaking of cloud, I predict the definition of Cloud Computing will stay murky for the foreseeable future. However, I also see the Cloud field taking two distinct paths: 1) Consumers and SMBs 2) Enterprises. 1) will go the external, public cloud route, while 2) will focus attention on internal, private clouds (initially). Interestingly, the current hype mostly involves 1), and is vendor dominated (Google, Amazon, MS, Salesforce, Rackspace, etc.). I believe this list of vendors will be hard-pressed to crack the enterprise marketplace, except for addressing isolated requirements for standalone applications like CRM (Salesforce) and email (Google). Just looking at the 2009 rash of outages has proven that these vendors are not ready for enterprise-class prime time. The recent MS BING outage was caused by a mid-day, mid-week planned change that did not have an adequate backout procedure. That simply does NOT happen in an enterprise-class data center. The single-points-of-failure identified in the various facility outages was embarrassing to put it mildly. These enterprise-class ?WANABE? vendors need to do some soul searching (and talent finding) to make it to the enterprise marketplace. To me, the real benefit of enterprise-class Cloud Computing in government (federal and state) is that it might finally break through the current isolation and cause true consolidation across agencies. I don?t mean to pick on government, because the same problems exist in most enterprises. However, enterprises are gradually adopting Shared Services infrastructures. GREEN: first let me overstate my opinion ? there is NO SUCH THING as ?GREEN IT?! The ONLY reason for any IT group using ?Green? is to get funding for a project (new servers for virtualization), or to increase the perceived credit it should get for cost cutting. PACE of TECHNOLOGY: as I look at the pace of technology today, I believe our main issue is our ability to absorb and adopt to the real capabilities. My idea of 100% connectivity with imbedded chips does NOT involve any new technology, it would just be using existing technology. Many try to paint Cloud Computing as something new, but it isn?t. I could argue that we had Cloud Computing in the 60?s. It was called Time-Sharing or Service-Bureau. What is the difference between running your payroll at ADP and SaaS? VMWare, Hyper-V, and XEN ? not much more than z/VM step children. In summary, my ?primary? list: + Convergence of Unified Communications, User Empowerment, Social Networking, AND Nanotechnology. + Separation of Cloud Computing into two threads: external/Public and internal/Private. + Battle Royal about Open Source and the Cloud + Mainframe resurgence. + Continued focus on cost containment (last, but definitely NOT least).

Sensor Guy
Sensor Guy

Number one should be split into two megatrends. User empowerment, skill is a big deal in itself, especially when the know more than the IT staff. Unless green brings a smile to the CFO for saving money or the brand managers like it and can document how it brings sales, it's DOA as a megatrend

bob
bob

Thanks, great comments. I think you are right and I'll reflect that in future analysis.

Sensor Guy
Sensor Guy

American IT may be instead better described as "American Sponsored IT". This trend shoud be for no more than 5-10 years, unfortunately. At the rate companies like IBM and others are shedding people like old tools and cattle to slaughter and moving work to offshore locations Americans will no longer perform the IT, but will for a short time (5-10 years) lead it. Once the desktop starts its inevitable decline and Microsoft starts fading, so will America's dominance it IT go with it. The future of American IT is visible in companies like Kodak suing Nokia, Apple, etc. where they skim profits off others success with patent infringement. That's why IBM, HP and Micorsoft are so big on patents. Easy revenue and no complexities. The big IT leaders will (maybe have) become essentially financial hedge funds for offshore "resources". The big unknowns are what happens with all the client privacy and non-IT intellectual property the offshore resources get their hands on and what happens when the US Dollar collapses and the current becomes financially viable to go the other way. Will countries like India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Eastern Europe be willing to give up the work being done by their people and hand it back to the US?

pivert
pivert

Cloud computing: will vaporise into other services and green-it? nice evolution, like cars doing more kilometers/liter but "mega trend"? Dominance of American IT. Hmmm, if you look at more it-firms than the popular ones, you'll notice an increased presence of Indian and Chinese managers. In 5-10 years you'll see an "occasional" move of their HQ when these expats return home. Or did anyone miss the call-center evolution?

kpfitzgerald
kpfitzgerald

Low technical skills, broken english, and script reading is not a substitute for good professional IT work. From my perspective, memorization of benchmark testing and certification tests has been a failsafe in the previous decades for "foreign" IT workers. Not to mention the governments that are extremely corrupted, requiring lots of green to get the red tape lifted off of your off-shore branch... no thanks, i have not and will not work for any company that off shores, to save money in lieu of providing good work or products. Saving a buck now will cost you plenty in the end, I have seen some rediculous and painful experiences from off shoring and that 7 digit savings projection has now cost the company at least 6 digits with little to no ROI.

dba88
dba88

The offshoring has got to stop, but... it won't! That's that! It will fall on deaf ears. I disagree with #2. When you make a comment like that, have you had your head in the sand?!

bob
bob

OK these are very very good points and we have to track these elements too. Thanks for highlighting.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

just what is 'good' for my company - trendy or not.

bob
bob

I get it and understand. Many firms, however, need to project a little into the future and track the trends so they can make better assessments on what the right decisions today are. I guess that is A point I should have captured and clarified in the piece and I will do that better in future ones. Cheers, Bob G

vonrosenchild
vonrosenchild

This article really helped me make some important business decisions. As I am in the process of launching my company, "ProsumerSoft" I can better plot the path as to where to focus my company?s objectives, in addition to reaffirming my tactical and strategic plans. Von'Victor Valentino Rosenchild Founder & CEO ProsumerSoft

bob
bob

Thanks for the post. I noticed from your site you are looking to spread the goodness of the cloud. Good luck in your pursuits.

martink
martink

American way of education and competition has generated great firms that dominate, for now, the IT landscape Yeah... Like American Health Sector

Migration Expert Zone
Migration Expert Zone

I suspect that in 2010, enterprises will start abandoning Windows XP once and for all and finally make the move to Vista or, more likely, Windows 7. At the very least, they should consider ditching Internet Explorer 6 for IE8.

bob
bob

I'm with you on that. Looks like some enterprises will actually be moving to Vista instead of Windows 7 but the ones I've run into doing that are only going that path for specific reasons... like the fact that they have already started the move to Vista and find it hard to change in stream. From what I've seen it would be much better if enterprises would jump to Win 7.