- October 2010 (1)
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William Shatner is both James T. Kirk, the iconic space explorer, and, more recently, the front man for a cost cutting travel Web site – you know the one. Who better to serve as NASA’s guide as we boldly predict the future of Federal IT? Our mission here is to find rips in the space-time continuum that afford light-speed innovation potential, while at the same time mapping hard-nosed savings opportunities – Price Line Negotiator, sorry I could not resist.
Okay, now buckle up. Ignition, five, four, three, two, one. Let’s explore the new frontier trends that will change your enterprise. Nine trends that will shape your IT tomorrow:
Beam Me Up Scottie – Any Time, Any Place, Any Where…
Before we get outside the capsule, it’s important to observe that the capsule no longer exists. You see, the old rules of people, time, and proximity no longer apply. Today, we work with anybody, from any location, using any data, running on any device. The fact that conventional enterprise “gravity” is fading drives both opportunities and challenges. This will cause several rifts in the space-time continuum. Allow me to explain.
1. What Do You Think Bones? – Extreme Collaboration Made Easy
“We’ve never seen a condition like this before. It’s changing the very way we conceive IT, Jim.” Yep, the definition of IT is changing. It’s no longer information technology, but innovate together. The value is not in the circuits and wires, but between the ears of the users – high-value application ideas will no longer come from the IT shop. As software becomes more intuitive and platforms become ubiquitous and interchangeable, business leaders will set the pace for development and new, good ideas. It only stands to reason that the best ideas will come from the people that know the business. The most successful IT organizations will be those that most effectively tap into and empower their IT consumers’ ingenuity.
2. It’s Logical – The Pervasive Cloud
Cloud computing is here to stay. IT shops that do not embrace cloud will see business owners go direct – making commercial cloud offerings a competitor for enterprise IT shops. Considering when and how to jump to the cloud, as well as how to stay afloat, agencies need new tools. Take a look at new frameworks, including: Cloud Applications Suitability Models (CASM), Cloud Readiness Levels (CRLs), Cloud Oriented Architecture (COA), and the Federal Cloud Savings Calculator. Considering the extreme collaboration reality, agencies will share new tools and frameworks that make the cloud transition easier – so don’t be bashful, share.
3. The Dilithium Crystals – Eco Races
Like Scottie, agencies are increasingly concerned about power consumption. Green is not just for aliens anymore. Eco friendly will move from a nice-to-have capability to a have-to-have differentiator. Agencies will set up eco tsars and eco footprint will carry ever greater weight in contract award evaluations. Contractors gotta get green to get the green.
4. Better Shields – Security Shakeup
Agencies face more sophisticated attackers than yesterday’s Klingons. It’s a new world in security. We need to embrace the facts: less control, increased regulation and oversight, more attacks. Security will go from being an afterthought to becoming integral to design. That said, “the security of no” is over – IT shops can’t simply shut new developments down. Considering the new beam-me-up reality, business owners will simply find a way to accomplish their goals around IT if we take too long – and that’ll drive greater vulnerability. As Captain of the ship I say of security: “the buck starts here.”
5. Kirk to Enterprise – Consumer Driven IT
The balance of power between consumer and enterprise IT is shifting – the iPhone has shown us the value of the flexible “handheld personal communicator.” IT end users will determine the value of devices and traditional IT will focus on governance structure and long-term strategies. We’ll see BYOD – bring your own device – to work as the new norm. Help desks will move from break-fix to helping users develop apps. It’s all changing – are you receiving me Enterprise?
6. Warp Speed Mr. Sulu – You’ve Got Apps
The speed and flexibility of application development will change radically. The future for long, complex, and massive application build is a supernova. Enterprises will adopt the iPhone model for app development – you’ll quickly download and trial apps recommended by a friend or co-alien. Apps will be smaller and designed to be mashed up. We’ll move from today’s “Swiss Army Knife” of mediocre apps to small, specialized apps with a far shorter, but more effective half life. Enterprise development will focus around the mobile device and the cloud. The Star Trek Communicator is here to stay.
7. It’s Life Jim, But Not as We Know IT – Big Data
Computing as we know it is changing. We’re drowning in data and wrestling to leverage the largess to better intelligence. We’ll need to merge existing capabilities – MPP/high-performance computing; data warehousing; new large data processing such as MapReduce, Hadoop, and Pig; in memory processing, and the like. A word of warning to IT vendors, be prepared for battle as customers will force you into new partnerships to solve new and difficult problems created by the big-data explosion.
8. 3D Chess – Immersive Visualization and Interaction
Big data will drive the need to visualize information in order to better comprehend its meaning. It’s not going to be about clicking a mouse or even touching a screen any more. We’ll see multi-touch, 3D, augmented reality, and in-space data visualization and manipulation. Watch for increasingly intuitive National User Interfaces (NUI) – they’re closer than you think. Check out Pranav Mistry to better understand the future.
9. Loosening the Vulcan Death Grip – Changing Human Behavior
All these developments in computing are fundamentally changing the behaviors of the most important information processing units – we humans. The death grip that IT had on us is loosening – and we’re being liberated to live our lives increasingly under our own rules. No need to lug that laptop around with you and log into the network. The dongle is dead. Today, you live through your smart phone or iPad. And tomorrow’s freedoms will empower new human emancipation. Between new devices, clouds, social networks, on-demand apps, we will search for anything from anywhere, including concepts and relationships, and the computer “somewhere” will figure out what we need. It’ll do that based on linked data and context – see Wolfram Alpha search engine for an early example. The semantic Web and linked data will change people-machine and people-people interactions.
These trends will empower the type of enhanced productivity that the U.S. and global economy desperately needs to address the complex socioeconomic challenges splashed across the headlines every day. Surely, these changes will drive some conflict between conventional enterprise IT and an empowered, creative, and sometimes naïve business-focused community that’s moving at warp speed. Let’s hope that all parties set their phasers to stun – there is a huge opportunity to emerge stronger, faster, more productive, and more fulfilled from the tectonic factors reshaping our computing universe. As we boldly go forward, the opportunity to reinvent IT to mean innovating together is surely ours and will make us live long and prosper.