1165RA CES Underscores Maturity of Cloud+Mobility, Spotlights Changing Roles for IT
What is Happening? One result of the continual consumerization of IT, including Mobility, BYOD, and Cloud, is that the Annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas often is an indicator of significant change or improvement in IT.
Last year, we examined how core CES trends, especially as regards usage of technologies, are a leading indicator of enterprise IT and business change (1008RA, Live From CES: Four Usage Trends Shaping Enterprise IT Right Now, 12Jan2012).
This year, the majority of announcements and demonstrations that we see at CES are what could be considered “marginal” or “incremental,” rather than game-changing or even game-influencing. The most significant trend we see is that of consolidation, maturation, and stabilization of technologies, devices, and services. And that’s mostly good news for enterprise IT and the providers serving enterprise IT groups and users.
The “mostly good” part is that a lack of significant technological changes in consumer electronics indicates a plateau, or perhaps more accurately a breathing period, for enterprise IT and for the providers supporting and enabling significant change drivers like Mobility and Social IT. Such a breathing period will be very helpful in helping to learn, and improve their ability to manage, the amazingly disparate swath of user-led IT devices, services, and other innovations that has proliferated in enterprise IT over the past few years.
The perhaps not-quite-good news, especially for enterprise IT groups and leaders, is that the lack of news doesn’t mean that the user/consumer-led revolution is over. It’s just catching its collective breath. So IT leaders and providers have to work fast over the next 12 to 24 months to organize, coordinate, learn, and especially to optimize the business value of what’s already been unleashed.
Why is it Happening? The current respite in user/consumer-led IT change is a natural, brief détente in an unending cycle of innovation and change, both driven and enabled by Cloud (918MKT, When Innovation is the Norm, Adaptation – Not Speed – Must be the Standard, 15July2012). It takes time for even the fastest-changing technologies and providers to catch up with themselves – i.e., to go from early stages into maturity.
But following every technological breakthrough come a series of innovations in how and when the technologies are applied and used. And the consumerized IT trend has been one of the most influential catalysts in this innovation trend. It’s individually cheap, it tends to be easy to use, it’s widely available, and it helps to accomplish some very notable, yet typically isolated, business improvements.
So we have a tremendous amount of growth in not only devices, but in the enabling and supporting technologies (e.g., applications, user interfaces, data formats, networks, network interfaces) and in new and innovative ways of using the for business benefit.
The limited current respite/détente is simply a symptom of markets catching up to themselves, and finding/building/fostering more innovation, standardization, and consolidation before resuming rampant, rapid growth.
Market Impact: Enterprise IT groups, and the providers that serve them, are facing an environment that empowers workers and simultaneously challenges IT support groups and providers. It is a very, very different type of environment, in which few IT groups are equipped to succeed.
By the end of 2013, for example, it is expected that sales of tablets will outpace sales of traditional notebook and desktop PCs combined. But tablets are seldom replacements for existing PCs; instead, they tend to be used as complementary devices, as are smartphones. Meanwhile, Saugatuck’s research indicates that the majority of acquisition and use cases for Cloud-based software and compute services, at least through 2016, continue to focus on the extension and enhancement of existing IT, rather than their replacement.
This is very different from traditional IT environments, wherein new IT often, if not typically, replaced old IT. Enterprise IT groups were able to manage such environments, and control significant portions of the technology being used on behalf of the business.
Obviously, in a Cloud+Mobile+Social environment, that can’t be done. Battles have to picked; control has to give way to coordination. Questions are many, but the key ones include the following: What services will need to be supported? What devices; which applications; what data types? How will this be done – do we develop and manage services, do we offer an “app store” approach? In short, how do we complete the trick of compiling a multiplicity of services to run on as many devices as possible, all while delivering business value?
As part of our continuing look at the changing roles of enterprise IT and providers in the Boundary-free Enterprise™, Saugatuck will publish for its research clients a series of Strategic Perspectives that examine the most compelling IT management challenges and value propositions that enterprise leaders will face over the next 12 to 24 months. We will provide guidance for both camps regarding best practices and effective approaches.
Net guidance for Enterprise Business and IT leaders: Instead of dictating or enforcing, IT groups have to learn – pretty quickly – to “lead, follow, and get out of the way” (1011STR Lead, Follow, and Get Out of the Way: A Review and Redux of Critical Management Guidance for Social, Cloud, Mobile and Big Data, 20Jan2012).
And the roles of IT groups and leaders are changing as a result. We’ve profiled the need for, and benefits of, such change in previous research published for Saugatuck CRS clients (1080CLS, Change, and Change Again: The Shape of IT Orgs to Come, 8June2012). The future for most enterprise IT organizations is one as a service management organization, not as a technology-centric source of expertise.
Saugatuck sees enterprise IT leaders pursuing a small number of very effective approaches to accomplishing this, from “wrapping” applications to work similarly across multiple device types, to delivering and managing IT as a service via an enterprise services bus (ESB). We know of some enterprise IT leaders looking at enterprise social networks (ESNs) and messaging networks/providers (e.g. RIM’s BlackBerry) as a means of delivering and managing the range of services, applications and data types required.
But the development/programming that enables these capabilities will be split between enterprise on-premises and Cloud-based PaaS platforms, yielding yet another set of resources to be coordinated and managed as services. For example: despite efforts to provide consistent look and feel of corporate applications across device types, the underlying user interfaces of those device types will likely necessitate expansion of help desk staffs. The planned series of Strategic Perspectives for our clients noted above will include examinations of these alternatives, and how to apply them successfully.
Net guidance for Vendors/Providers: Providers working with Saugatuck have seen this coming for some time. As we noted in 2007:
“The focus of SaaS shifts over time from cost-effective delivery of stand-alone application services (Wave I), to integrated business solutions enabled by web services APIs and ESBs (Wave II), to workflow- and collaboration-enabled business transformation (Wave III).”
- 337MKT, SaaS’ Third Wave: On The Road To Personalized Workflows, 18April2007
It takes an integrative, holistic approach to satisfy the increasing demand for this integrative type of enterprise value. No single provider is likely to be able to deliver and manage the capabilities required. A few, such as IBM (including its IBM Cast Iron subsidiary) will be able to provide most required the services, but may struggle with their coordination in more complex situations.
The opportunities for Cloud-based providers will be built mostly from a service bus+middleware approach that enables providers to deliver a wide range of capabilities across devices, OSes, etc. Influential providers to watch include IBM Cast Iron, Dell Boomi, MuleSoft, and a range of providers of DB+BI+data integration-as-a-service like SAP, Informatica, Oracle, Pentaho, Jitterbit, Actuate, and Connx, among others.
Bruce Guptill was the lead author on this Research Alert, with Charlie Burns a contributing author.