On Clouds, Data, and Technology Maturity

October 12, 2011
65 Views

I recently had the pleasure of speaking on a panel about information management at DataFlux IDEAS with some of the most prominent experts in the field. Among the participants was my friend David Loshin, one of the most astute observers out there.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking on a panel about information management at DataFlux IDEAS with some of the most prominent experts in the field. Among the participants was my friend David Loshin, one of the most astute observers out there.

David made the point that many of the information management technologies available to organizations today have been for quite some time. Only now are many getting around to actually using them–and reaping their benefits. Case in point: cloud computing. Now that it’s become more acceptable, commonplace, and (arguably most important) cheaper, clouds are taking off.

Loshin correctly pointed out that many “new” solutions are, in fact, merely rebranded versions or products introduced years ago. Marketers typically don’t sell technology products and services with claims that they are the same as they were five or ten years ago–hence the need to try and spruce up mature offerings with fancier names. (Of course, some company’s products truly are new, such as Microsoft’s Azure. Steve Ballmer’s company wasn’t exactly quick to embrace the cloud.)

The implications of cloud computing for data management are profound. For instance, organizations will be able to get out of the hosting business and run most of their operations over third-party data centers. In Total Recall, a book that I’m currently reading, co-authors Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell predict that, by 2020, very few organizations will actually handle their own data and applications.

Crossing the People Chasm

So, the technology has been ready for years, yet few relatively few large organizations have made the jump. The obvious question is why? In my forthcoming book, The Age of the Platform, I quote cloud computing expert Amy Wohl:

It’s the change in attitude that goes with the change in architecture that requires a new mind-set.  That’s where established firms need to take time to see whether they are simply going to consider clouds as an additional offering or whether they are going to substantially remake their businesses to more closely model what the web-centric companies are doing.

In other words, it’s all about the people making the decisions about the technology. It’s only indirectly about the technology itself.

Simon Says

As companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (aka, The Gang of Four)lead the way, doing simply astonishing things with their data, other companies will be forced to look at how. Why can Amazon effectively cross-sell to its customers while so many organizations struggle to figure out a master list of their own? As the gap between progressive and reactive organizations grows, the latter will be forced to adopt newer technologies–or perish for not doing so.

The days of complacency, inefficiency, and guaranteed results are coming to an end. What are you doing about it?

Feedback

What say you?