I observed an interesting debate on Twitter a couple weeks ago between an advocate of "enterprise" computing and an Amazon Web Services champion. After it went back and forth I bit, I offered my contribution: Somebody is using a ton of AWS, and it's growing like crazy.
Listening to this debate reminds me of the Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus discussion about how two people can discuss something and still fail to understand the other person's basic perspective. In the case of this Twitter debate, the discussion failed to address a key question: What are the requirements of the applications running in those environments?
The crucial fact is that those who defend enterprise computing fail to grasp the fact that legacy IT infrastructure and operations don't address the requirements of new application types that I label the "three M's"-mobile, media and marketing. These apps are flocking to public cloud computing because they're not well served by traditional infrastructure and are much more aligned with what cloud computing brings to the table.
It's critical to understand the characteristics of these applications to understand why demand for cloud computing is in its early growth phase-and why we're about to see its already rapid adoption accelerate even further.
Legacy enterprise applications could be tuned to a couple operating systems and a few browsers. They also had very predictable user populations and use patterns. The emphasis for these kinds of applications vis-à-vis infrastructure is to implement a static environment and make it difficult to modify.
Mobile applications, on the other hand, are a very different. They run on a bunch of different devices, which increases the combination of interfaces that applications need to be able to support. Moreover, companies often provide API interfaces to their applications to enable independent developers to create applications outside the purview of the company's own IT organization-the company won't even know what devices are going to be in the user population.
The growth of APIs is one of the real underreported stories of the past couple years, but it's huge and very much driven by a mobile application world. (The upshot of this is that mobile applications pose significant challenges to the design and operation of legacy applications.)
Public cloud computing environments, by contrast, are well-suited for the demands of mobile applications. High-load variability is easily handled by their very large infrastructures.
It's something of a misnomer these days to talk about a media company, since every company is becoming a media company. Video is becoming the sine qua non of how companies communicate with important stakeholders. And it's huge. Every year Cisco Systems comes out with five-year projections of Internet traffic, and every year the company ups them. The reason? Video.
Every company is leveraging video in one of the following ways-and this list is certainly not exhaustive:
· Marketing campaigns, particularly those with a clever or snarky twist, like the Will It Blend? series from Blend-Tec that has racked up 221 million views. Every company's fervent wish is that its marketing video will go viral and drive heightened consumer interest in its products.
· Partner, user or employee training. There's no faster way to demonstrate how to use a product than with a video. Plus, video is much more engaging than written documentation.
· Announcements. Video is a good way to make a company's announcements stand out from the blizzard of written press releases spewed onto the Internet every day.
Video is a huge consumer of bandwidth, and it's very sensitive to latency disruptions. The average company's internal network is insufficient to support the kind of traffic video requires, and the network capacity that is available is tuned to support legacy transactional application needs. When you marry mobile and video, it's obvious that legacy infrastructures are inadequate to support the requirements of these applications.
Now that marketing and advertising have shifted decisively to the Internet, their nature is changing as well. Because ad delivery used to be so difficult, marketing and advertising campaigns remained static. Rolling out a new TV ad across the U.S. required getting new tapes to multiple TV stations and cable/satellite providers. The process-especially making sure everyone had the right version of the ad-was so time-consuming that changes were relatively infrequent.
Today, by contrast, online marketing and advertising campaigns are served up centrally. This reduces the change overhead by more than 90 percent.
But guess what? Reduced friction encourages more change. In turn, that requires changes to both infrastructure and application code. In other words, it means a radically reduced application lifecycle-and that runs smack into legacy infrastructure managed to reduce change, with management controls such as ITIL imposing manual processes to control infrequent change.
The expectations of the next generation of marketing and advertising is that campaigns can be rolled out quickly, modified rapidly and terminated immediately. If you read my last post on cloud computing budgets, you know this kind of application is projected to be a majority of IT spend in 2017.
Consequently, the expectations of the majority of IT spending are going to confront the legacy practices and processes for enterprise infrastructure and applications. It's not going to be pretty. While many in the IT community have an unspoken wish that things will settle down and we'll go back to the old ways of doing things, that wish can pretty much be written off. These expectations aren't going to go away.
If anything, one can predict they will be even more strongly pushed as the possibilities of what can be done with online marketing become more embedded in the discipline. In five years, the everyday expectation will be marketing campaigns tuned daily-or even hourly-in according to real-time analytics performed on tracking data.
I expect the discussion to be over in five years. The definition of enterprise will have expanded to incorporate the requirements of the three M's, and the practices and processes of legacy IT will have been discarded as inadequate for the needs of the three M's. Mobile, media, and marketing will force as much change into IT as the PC did-and, as the change plays out, with just as much disruption.
The BYOD train has well and truly left the station and is in full motion in today’s world of business. Whether it’s to make yourself more efficient, a fashion statement or you simply have a mild technology fetish (unfortunately I fit into the latter category) we are all bringing more devices into our work place.
The thing about BYOD that interests me is how fickle we are as human beings and how rapidly the world of mobile can change. Just two/ three years ago the office I work in were all Blackberry mad and in such a short time we are now collectively scoffing down whatever Apple throws at us! RIM has experienced a bit of a recovery recently but what went so drastically wrong that we all decided to one day change our allegiance?
Now, I’m not particularly pro Apple, or pro any manufacturer for that matter. I buy Apple products because they work well, are easy to navigate and do everything I need them to. I have bought my mother an iPad because I know after the initial lesson of how to get around it, use the app store and download content I won’t be spending my evenings as her personal tech support guru.
This leads me nicely onto a set of predictions in the Mobile market over the next 12 months. CSS Insight has released a set of predictions for the next year that will likely ruffle a few feathers! They have predicted that iPhones market share will peak in 2014 and as the devices become more commonplace they will start to appeal less to trend setters. They also reckon the most innovative mobile phone experiences will come from new platforms like Blackberry OS 10 and the new boys Firefox OS and Tizen. Other companies to shake up the market are expected to be Amazon, Facebook and Google.
The iPhone may be the flagship device in the market right now but things can change...quickly. As a consumer i’ll be buying whatever I deem to work best for me at the time of purchase. Apple or otherwise. If you have a prediction for the next 12 months in the Mobile market I would like to hear from you.
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