Big-Think on the Future of IT


Three recent stories on the state of enterprise technology caught my eye.

Tom Siebel says IT's glory days are over. No new technological advances, he believes, would impel I.T. customers to replace the computer technology they already had: "I would suggest to you that most of what's going on today is not very exciting." To whatever extent that's true, it doesn't address the need to use technology more efficiently within the enterprise, which is the point of the other two articles.

SAP says it's sticking with its software strategy: "I have never, ever heard a customer expressing the faintest wish for having everything delivered out of one hand," [CEO Leo] Apotheker said in an interview. "Someone is probably trying to imagine wishes that they would like to hear."

And Microsoft has a new not-so-secret weapon:

"SharePoint is saving Microsoft's Office business even as it paves the way for a new era of Microsoft lock-in," said Matt Asay, an executive at Alfresco, which makes an open-source content management system. "It is simultaneously the most interesting and dangerous Microsoft technology, and has largely caught its competitors napping."
Along these lines, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive, has talked about SharePoint as the company's next big operating system.


2 Comments for "Big-Think on the Future of IT"

  • Bill Sherman September 23, 2009 9:55 am

    Ed Cone, you make an excellent point, whether or not enterprise software is going anywhere or whether companies are going to just stay with the systems they have, the one factor that remains the same is: the software is only as good as the wetware that's using it. If companies don't invest in training, then the system(s) will never be utilized to their fullest capabilities, and ROI is reduced. Whether replacing with new enterprise software or enhancing or upgrading existing systems, the investment is risky if the end-users don't buy-in. And, if training is taking place and users aren't making behavioral changes, then it's up to the CIO to find out why. It may not be the training - it might be corporate culture misalignments, cognitive loads, or other factors. If it's a good system, and a good training program, then the CIO must find, and fix, the disconnect.

  • Phil Murphy August 11, 2009 8:56 am

    I would phrase it differently - "Technology Change for ITs" sake is dead. The days when IT folk told business people that they "must" fund the next technology advancement - online vs batch, PCs, LANs and Wans, AI, BI, CRM, DBMS, ERP, Internet, Web 2.0 etc) ... the days when business folks simply gritted their teeth and eventually acquiesced because they were ignorant of technology ... are indeed behind us. That mode of technology acquisition wrought the heterogeneous mess most large IT organizations now live with, and strive to streamline. But - at a time when our technical environments need housecleaning the worst, our business peers are wiser about technology, and not as accepting of the "just trust me" arguments from IT. Technically-driven change - if that is the core of IT Glory Days - is over. IT execs must learn to explain technology change in a way that makes sense to the business. Explain it in a way that makes them care about (instead of fear) what IT is saying. Stop the wreckless spend on technology for the sake of having the newest (as opposed to most suitable) technology, and let the business reclaim investment decisions that benefit the whole business. IT Glory days gone? Good riddance.

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