Friday, August 21, 2009

The TOP-3 impactful IT trends -- or is it really just ONE?

Over the weekend I had to make up my mind which 3 IT trends are most impactful to prepare for a short editorial in a german magazine. The reason I say impactful is that this industry is usually so full of hyped up trends that it sometimes becomes difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Impactful means what is really making a dent in the way companies purchase and deploy IT products, as opposed to what are they all talking about. .

So, trying to avoid bias, and instead of wrecking my own brain, I decided to ask the crowd on twitter for some ideas, and within 24h I had a few responses, which are visible inthe comment section below. Although there are only 4 responses (admittedly not exactly a statistically significant sample), the one trend all seem to mention is cloud computing.

Notably absent is the trend around social computing, which I think is as significant as cloud computing.

The combination of these two key waves of change is significant because they have a common underlying cause. The sea change in IT away from scarcity (little of everything: memory, disk, users, locations) to abundance (masses of everything: memory, disk, users, locations). Of course not everything changes from scarcity to abundance. IT resources are continuing to shrink in terms of IT staffing and budget. This, in my personal opinion, is forcing the third mega trend: Simplification

So, what do we have now:

(1) Cloud computing (incl. virtualization, anything-as-a-service, on demand, etc.)
(2) Social computing (incl. social media, web and enterprise 2.0, collaboration, mobile, etc.)
(3) Simple computing (incl. any data everywhere all the time, better user interfaces, etc.)

If one had to combine these 3 trends into a single term one might chose CROWD COMPUTING,
defined as an approach that leverages the abundance of memory, disk, users and locations while keeping cost and compexity to a minimum to make this approach truly sustainable for the masses.

Can one make a prediction based on this? Probably not. But, if you have read Taleb's "Black Swan" you probably agree that our ability to predict things is invesely proportional to our desire to do so. So I will refrain from any predictions and keep with Yogi Berra who said:

"Predictions are hard, especially when they are about the future"
"The future ain't what it used to be"

So, while I am not trying to make any predictions, I think one can safely assume that the speed of change will continue to increase and it will be ever more impossible to accurately predict what will happen in the world of IT. However, one thing seems to be clear. If the trends of Cloud, Social and Simple computing truly converge into a sea change around CROWD COMPUTING, any enterprise software that is not quickly moving in this direction right now is faced with a severe challenge.

What do you think about CROWD COMPUTING?