Life complexifies. Perhaps it is a fundamental law of information that the complexity of information increases. In the world of biology, over time organisms become more complex, with new genetic permutations appearing alongside of old genetic pieces. In the hyperastronomical space in the animal genome, nature constantly produces new combinations. In human knowledge and scientific discovery, the same is true. New insights are built on top of old ones. Breakthroughs in insight usually have higher levels of complexity and hence require higher levels of abstraction and difficult codification to accommodate the widening domain covered. We all know E=MC2 but how many of us really know what it means? In the world of medicine, treatments are Read more
Guidance for optimizing your IT investments, avoiding IT strategies that fail to support your business objectives, and leveraging IT for competitive advantage.
“Commodity” is a bad word among technologists. It implies standardized, unchanging, noninnovative, boring, and cheap. Commodities are misunderstood. This post seeks to dispel some of the myths around the commoditization of IT services (i.e., the cloud). 1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Is Not a Commodity Like Oil Yes, according to the technical definition of “commodity,” IaaS is not one. But then nor is oil, or gas, or coal, or pork bellies. None of these so-called commodities is perfectly fungible (i.e., so close to identical that a buyer is indifferent as to what is delivered), and being fungible is a prerequisite for any true commodity. When we refer to oil as a commodity, for instance, Read more
The 21st Century was introduced by the tumultuous climax of the dot-com boom on March 20, 2000 when the NASDAQ peaked at 5,132. Since then modern corporations marched on to become the majority of the 100 largest organizations in the world (in terms of revenue/budgets and employed people) surpassing the size of many sovereign national governmental organizations. And this phenomenon happened fast. In 1954, the Boeing Corporations became just the 23rd corporation to exceed $1 billion dollars in annual revenue. By the end of the 20th century, hundreds of corporations exceeded multi-billion dollars in annual revenue. I rejoined the University of Washington faculty in 2003 to research one of the hotbeds of corporate foundings and Read more
The uncertain future of cloud computing and the plethora of frowny CIO faces of a couple years ago are rapidly giving way to the acceptance — if not embracing — of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), at least among IT leaders. The good news is that this shift is without the typical knee-jerk and shallow skepticism or naive Panglossian enthusiasm for the next new thing. This mental shift is tempered, real, and comes with more “buy” questions than “hold” or “sell” ones. In short, buyers and sellers are rolling up their sleeves and making plans. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are in what looks to be an all-out race to zero as they take oxygen out Read more
We’ve been rounding up Dennises lately: Dennis Adams and Dennis Hogarth have joined our team of expert consultants. But along with the Dennises, we welcome Nancy Williams, Murray Cantor and Don MacIntyre. Dennis Adams is a long time Cutter contributor. He’s frequently presented the academic viewpoint for Cutter Benchmark Review. (If you’re not familiar with CBR, it partners academics and practitioners who co-write a survey, analyze the data, and then write opinion pieces — influenced by their academic/practitioner perspective — that are based on the findings. Looking at an issue or technology from both an academic and practical perspective gives CBR readers the 360 view they won’t otherwise see.) Now Dennis will add his expertise Read more
There are very few more pressing issues in management today than cyber security. Notice that I didn’t say IT management; I said management. When the hacking of a major US retailer (Target) leads to the loss of billions of dollars in stock value and sales and the removal of not only the CSO, but the CIO and ultimately the CEO as well, stockholders, investors, and customers take notice. Organizations worldwide depend increasingly on information and communications technology to operate and manage 24/7/365, and wireless devices, BYOD, social media, and the like all combine to make the jobs of those responsible for cyber security exponentially more difficult. Like the Dutch boy and the dike, security people worldwide have Read more
In the Kansas City Star recently, an educator posted an editorial that suggested all students graduating from college these should days should be “job ready.” The educator argued that the current college curriculum was defined for the “gentlemen” of the 19th and 20th centuries, but this is the 21st century, and the cost of higher education has skyrocketed and what with the pace of technological change, the shrinking of our job markets, and the new educational options (online courses, etc.), our colleges, universities, and institutes have to radically reduce their costs and produce “job-ready” graduates. Now, I have to admit that institutions of higher education in the US have many problems. They are beset with much more competition for Read more