…but developer productivity and commercial flexibility are bigger This post goes into technology a little more than usual so the TL;DR version for busy CIO’s is: Please make sure some of your teams are experimenting with serverless technology from Amazon or other providers. The rest of this post explains why Amazon is leading the transformation of software development with an obscure bit of technology from Google.
I recently noticed that I have been using @CIOPortfolio for 5 years now and that got me thinking about what has changed for CIOs over that time. Although digital technology is renowned for its frenetic pace of innovation (here we go again!) you could argue that not much has changed. Surprisingly, that is a terrifically useful insight for CIOs.
The recent Cloud World Forum in London provided plenty of food for thought. I have already talked about some of the challenges for customer and organisations. The industry transformation being wrought by cloud computing also creates some interesting career choices for programers and other IT specialists.
This is the second post about some insights I gathered from attending the Cloud World Forum in London in June. The first post covered some uncomfortable choices for cloud customers. This post explores the equally unpleasant choices for suppliers.
I managed to get along to the Cloud World Forum in London this week. It was a busy, fast and noisy event (sometimes very noisy) which provided a way to sample a lot of views in a short space of time. The fundamentals of cloud computing are well established so there were no paradigm shaking revelations (and this wasn’t the kind of premier global event where such things might get announced anyway). I did pick up some subtle signals which might be of interest to organisations wanting to move to the cloud, suppliers competing for cloud business and engineers working with cloud technologies. This first post focuses on the customer perspective.
Guest post by Daniel Smithson Don’t incur technical debt with the cloud – employ a cloud abstraction product The arrival of cloud technologies has led to a gold rush of adoption. Cloud technologies appear to offer organisations the nirvana of rapid, on-demand elastic compute provision, be that through public, private or hybrid deployments. Having embraced the benefits of self-service infrastructure, organisations are now embarking on developing cloud-centric applications that harness the ability of the cloud to expand and contract infrastructure capacity based on application demand. However, to do so applications need to be coded to exploit the API of the chosen cloud platform. And this may have a sting in the tail - technical debt.
Have you stopped to think about how the leading cloud computing providers are able to provide enormous quantities of computing resources at the click of a button? Clearly, they have massive data centres around the world filled with racks of high performance IT. If you were their only customer that might be the end of the story but, of course, they serve huge numbers of customers, many with enormously volatile workloads, and are taking on more every minute. Now and again you might get a little reminder that this does not all come about through magic (have you noticed the occasional “our servers are busy” message when trying to use Twitter?). So how does it all work and what risks does this pose to your business? How confident can you be that your next ad-hoc request for a virtual machine will be satisfied? Even worse, how do you know that your existing cloud based services will not be constrained by your cloud provider’s next wave of new customers?
It might seem odd, given I make my living helping organisations with their IT, that I am what marketing types call a “late adopter”. I was just about the last person I know to get a DVD player and even my mother got a high definition TV at home before me. I skipped the first 3 iPhones and I am only a month into my first tablet. But being a late adopter doesn’t mean being ignorant about the latest developments. I may be a late adopter but I am also an early monitor; trying to keep up with new ideas so that I can, hopefully, help others. Adopting new ways of working or technologies should be a well informed decision not a reflex. Here are a variety of areas that I am monitoring, as they may develop into useful tools in the future, together with some research topics which I think deserve more attention than they are currently receiving.
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 5: IT is either internal or provided from the public cloud Binary Thinking: An organisation’s internal IT department is never involved if an organisation uses public cloud services and this makes sense as public cloud is completely self-service, self-managing and requires no commercial commitment. CIOs should make plans to move to all IT services to the public cloud and then resign. Oh, except when there are some security issues in which case no IT services should be moved to the public cloud and everything should be kept in-house.
The app store concept has become an accepted feature of consumer electronics remarkably quickly. When Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams were writing about producer/consumers in Wikinomics in 2006 major corporations like Apple and Sony were trying to block their customers efforts to open up their devices and add new functions. It was another two years before Apple added their app store into their ecosystem and yet now it is hard to remember not having access to thousands of applications on your smart phone. The app store user experience quickly caught the imagination of other sectors. When I wrote about the UK public sector IT strategy in 2011 (link to article on PA Consulting site) Apple’s success had already made a big impact and, perhaps, the concept is now poised to disrupt corporate IT in the same way. Or maybe not!
Every few months the IT press is swept by talk of the “next big thing” and how it will totally transform the IT market, change how IT users work, shake organisations, batter IT departments and threaten CIOs. In reaction many commentators will post a wave of comments explaining that the “next big thing” is not new at all and has been a core part of IT for years. There are always a few that point out that IBM Mainframes were doing the same thing decades ago. The current wave of press hype seems to be focused on the combination of Social Networking, Cloud computing and Mobile devices and trends built upon these components such as “Consumerisation of IT” and “Bring Your Own Device”. In this case I think there is some substance to the arguments made by both camps but both seem to be neglecting what could be a slower acting and more profound shift - a shift in the application of technology rather than the technology itself.