Restructuring the IT Department and its Skills

As the internet became established as a tool of commerce and industry over the past 15 years or so, IT departments fit new titles of web developer, user experience designer, and network security engineer into their existing department structure along with the many programmers, systems analysts, and technical gurus needed to keep systems running and serve the enterprise. Now along comes the cloud and IT departments are beginning to realize they may not need so much of these skills, but are going to need more of the skills associated with contract, vendor, and customer relationship management.  While this won’t be news to IT departments that were stricken with the outsourcing bug a few years ago, …

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Agility, the Personal Cloud, and Complex Analytics on the Horizon

Predictions are always difficult in interesting times, because tomorrow’s concepts depend upon activity which has not yet occurred. We expected flying cars; we are getting autonomous cars.  In the 1950s, the computer revolution, robotics, GPS, and today’s traffic patterns would have been difficult to envision.  Today, we are seeing rapid evolution across Information and Communications Technology, affecting every component and every meme. But we can see the direction that some areas of recent concentration are likely to take. Concepts of Agility will continue to evolve, moving beyond specific processes such as Scrum toward more comprehensive programs capable of incorporating a wider variety of projects, under more conditions and supporting greater integration with governance. This can …

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Dec 142012
 
Cloud Standards and SLAs

Until now, cloud service providers have essentially proposed to their users the equivalent of those click-through terms of service that people accept because they don’t have a choice. As for the standards that would make it less risky to adopt a cloud service, by making it easier to integrate with or to migrate to a different provider, they have been vendor-driven and highly technical; these standards are necessary but not sufficient. In 2013, look forward to more user involvement in prioritizing the standards development effort, and to the emergence of practical advice to negotiate more balance SLAs and User Agreements. In the area of performance and reliability, providers will have to stop hiding behind the …

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Development Paradigm Shift over Zombie Apocalypse

Due to the uncertainty of our times, I’m going to make two predictions. First, the world will come to an end on December 21st, exactly as the Mayans DID NOT predict hundreds of years ago. Granted, the Mayan calendar runs out on the 21st but to be quite frank my calendar runs out every year on December 31st and the world has still gone on despite of that dire prediction. The Mayan calendar myth dates back to the mid-1970s, a time when we were seeing Sasquatches in every forest, aliens eviscerating cows in every farm field, and chariots of the gods in the skies of South America. At that time we were also doing prodigious …

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The Rise of the Collaborative Frankenstein?

Just as the monster Frankenstein was put together from pieces and parts of many people, so are some of the enterprise collaboration vendors. For example, Jive just acquired Meetings.io, and Producteev to add videoconferencing and task management. Salesforce.com is another vendor that is building a collaborative Frankenstein, as is VMware, and others. The idea is that as these vendors acquire smaller companies and fold them into their framework, they begin to add more and more collaborative functionality: IM, activity streams, integration with social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), audio/video/data conferencing, online meetings (permanent or temporary). As each piece is added to the framework, unfortunately, the tools and the overall suites tend to become more complex, and require …

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2013: More Turbulence and, Sadly, More “Back to the Future”

Last year I wrote about the effect of turbulence on us IT folks and, more importantly, to the business/government users of IT. So has “turbulence” and its cousin “uncertainty” been reduced as we peer into 2013? Let’s see: political direction (in the US: more or less taxes; more or less government regulation; health care; less gridlock; sequestration; Europe; regulations’; the imminent beginning of the 2014/2016 campaigns)?  Huh. Don’t see anything much resolved here. Let’s see:  economy (Europe again; individual European states e.g., France, Greece; impact of US energy independence; consumer spending? taxes again)?  Oh, maybe a little more direction can be seen –- but not much. Let’s see:  technology (products/services; Cloud, et al; all the …

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Cutter Consortium recently (Q4 2012) conducted a survey that polled 69 end-user organizations about their mobile technology practices and adoption plans, including the use of smartphones and tablets and issues associated with the development, deployment, and support of mobile devices and end users. The survey revealed that the main domains and applications in which organizations are using or plan to use tablets (in order of popularity/importance) include: Executive/management — to facilitate mobile communications and to support dashboards and other tools for measuring and managing product/company performance and the like. Sales, service, and support (i.e., CRM) — these are the main customer-facing domains and they tend to be very time sensitive, thus demanding rapid responses to …

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Large Enterprises Will Not Push Microsoft Windows 8 Adoption in 2013

Regardless of Microsoft’s massive 2012 marketing and rollout campaign for Windows 8, we will find that large enterprises, most of which are comfortably stable and satisfied with Window 7.0 or other non-Vista Microsoft operating system options on the standard corporate desktop and notebook will not actively evaluate or consider Windows 8.0 in the enterprise until after 2013. Let’s face it: Windows 7.0 (and to some extent Windows XP)  is considered by many to be the most stable and feature-rich operating system in Microsoft’s history. Enterprises now have the knowledge and resources to drive productivity through this operating system. But as enterprises shift even more of their computing capacity to mobile devices that require more integration than is …

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The End of Work Creeps a Bit Closer

My prediction for 2013 concerns the end of work for most of us — which may not necessarily be a good thing. Back in 1995, social activist and economist Jeremy Rifkin wrote a controversial book called The End of Work in which he argued that both blue and white collar jobs across the globe were increasingly becoming the private preserve of information technology intensive systems. Rifkin claimed that “software surrogates” were leading to a steady and permanent decline in the number and types of jobs that humans could do better. The inevitable question society soon had to face, he argued, was what actions were urgently needed to deal with the end of work as we understood it.  …

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2013: Lean Concepts Such as Strategic Value, Operational Kanban Will Begin to Transform Enterprises

Last year I predicted that enterprises would take an increasingly holistic systems view. I said “they will take an increasingly strategic view of improvement, coordinating change across divisions and functions to achieve a higher overall level of performance. This trend is reversing [of] short-term, every-division-for-itself fractionalization…[so that] the Enterprise, at the end of 2012, will look more like an effective, coordinated whole and less like a collection of disparate…parts.” This happened as predicted. One of the best indicators of it is the rapid acceleration since that time of “reverse offshoring” or “inshoring.” Reverse offshoring is the return of business from lower labor-cost nations where it had been transferred in previous years. Offshoring is a useful …

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