Will 2010 be revolutionary or evolutionary for CIO’s and IT?

I ran across a press release from Progress Software, that I though worth sharing with my regular The New CIO series readers. Below, you’ll find an excerpt from the press release along with my commentary on these predictions.  You gotta love December…always some “Top 10 list for…” or “Predictions for…” to read.

Progress Software’s CTO Dr John Bates predicts that 2010 will see the following “revolutionary” changes in the IT space:

1. Real-time insight and business control will become a must-have, as organizations can ill-afford to lose money and customer through being slow to notice problems in delivery.

2. Event-driven computing will accelerate, driven by business needs, and impacting both the way applications are built and how they are deployed in the enterprise.

3. Cloud computing will become mainstream, with storage-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and compute-as-a-service, becoming widely sold and used.

4. Mobile computing will continue to be the biggest driver of innovation, extending the move from the desktop to the PDA to internet-enabled in-car systems, and even the fabled ‘internet fridges.’

5. CIOs will be forced to justify IT investments, because the recession has killed off the notion of ‘IT for IT’s sake,’ CIOs must demonstrate rapid return on investment, business relevance and the strategic importance of IT to innovate to release funding for projects.

Some interesting predictions.  Let’s take a brief look at each prediction and see if it makes sense.

Prediction #1 – Real-time insight and business control will be a must have.

I can see this. This type of data is a must-have regardless of whether the year is 2000, 2010 or 2050.  Why is real-time data so important though?

Is it needed to create more efficient processes?  Is it needed to create better plans?   Perhaps.  But I’d argue that real-time data is only important if you use it to get closer to your customers.

According to Progress Software:

In 2009, our research found that 67% of businesses only become aware of problems when customers report them. 80% of companies already have critical business events they need to monitor in real time

Why do you think Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are such a hit today with organizations?  It isn’t necessarily because organizations are social…it’s because it gets the brand closer to the customer and in near-real-time.

Is real-time data a revolution or an evolution? I say revolution when it comes to IT but its an evolutionary for other parts of the business due to the avaolability of near-real-time data over the last year.

Prediction #2 – Event-driven computing will accelerate and impact the way applications are built and deployed.

Event-driven computing.  Huh.  That sounds like something that’s been around a while.  While it has been around a while, I’m not sure it’s been used to its fullest extent.

What is event-driven computing? Well..in a few words: event-driven computing is a way of building applications and architectures to be able to respond quickly to any event. If you’d like to read more on the subject, go take a look at Event-Driven Computing: An Introduction for more details.

So what can event-driven computing provide to IT?  Real-time behavior of users and systems. Observation for alerts. Predictive Processing.  Some really interesting stuff here.

Is event-driven computing a revolution or an evolution? I say revolution because, if it were to happen in 2010, it would require a completely new way of building applications.

Prediction #3 – Cloud computing will become more mainstream.

There are a lot of people that would argue for and against this point.  To get one side of the argument, go read the latest BusinessWeek article titled “Forecast for 2010: The coming Cloud Catastrophe“. See another side to the argument in David Linthicum’s article on InfoWorld titled “Top 5 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2010“.

Will Cloud computing become more mainstream: Yes.  Is it revolutionary?  Not yet.

Prediction #4 – Mobile computing will continue to drive innovation

Yep.  I agree.  The mobile space is hot and will continue to be hot.  This will mean a new approach to data and security for IT groups around the globe.

Mobile computing has been around a while.  The Blackberry (granted – not really a mobile computing platform) was the first real game-changer for IT and the iPhone has changed things forever in the mobile computing space.  Add to that the netbooks and forthcoming generation of tablet computers, some rumored to run the iPhone OS and Google Android OS, and you’ve got a fully-connected, fully functional mobile platform.

But is it mobile computing going to be revolutionary? I’m not sure I’d call it that. Evolutionary is the word here. IT groups have been dealing with mobile computing for a long while and the processes and procedures are in place (for the most part).

Prediction #5 – CIO’s will have to justify IT investments with strategic plans and show rapid ROI for each project

Agreed but I’m not sure this is revolutionary. This is something that most CIO’s and organizations have been looking at for a few years now.   In years past, the CIO had to justify spending and with the economy in shambles, the Chief Information Officer‘s of today have had to provide even more justification for IT projects.  This justification is even more reason for The New CIO to be able to move into the strategic discussion with other leadership team members to help further align IT and the Business.

So…is this Revolutionary? Not at all.  We’ve been seeing this evolve for years.

Will 2010 be Revolutionary or Evolutionary for IT?

So…out of the 5 ‘revolutions’ for 2010 for the IT space listed by Dr Bates, I see only 2 that might be revolutionary while the rest are really more of an evolution for the majority of organizations and consumers.

Will 2010 be revolutionary for IT? I think it can be.  I think if more CIO’s take the approach that I’ve been arguing for in my New CIO series’, we’d see an awesome revolution in IT across many organizations. Think about how much more efficient your team could be if they spent less time on ensuring your employees weren’t surfing Facebook and more time on driving innovation through technology.

Focus on building revenue and driving innovation with technology and you’ll see a revolution. Focus on the same things you’ve always focused on, and you’ll be luck to see anything at all.

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  • mark kenneth

    Good discussion Eric – I think the only way it will be revolutionary is if there is sufficient uptick in profits that will allow CIOs the opportunity to try revolutionary items here. The early adopters of course will have already budgeted in many of these items and can expect progress to continue, but for those who are considering trying now may face an uphill struggle to convince Boards and other C levels holding the purse strings to try. I think we will see the resurrection of the ROI / IRRanalysis in great force this year as these technology revolutions promise much, but will need to deliver rapidly.

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  • http://ericbrown.com ericbrown

    Hi Mark – Thanks for stopping by. Great insight and spot on as you usually are :)

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  • http://www.joenewbert.com/ Joe Newbert

    With the annual prediction tradition I get excited to see the revolutionary or, given the silly season, the downright left-field and I am always a little sad when the forecast is evolutionary (read: safe bets).

    That said, given the current climate and plight of many perhaps some consolidation is what is required, certainly some balance – after all it was relaxing the fundamentals that has brought us back to basics.

    Given points 1,2, and 5 it looks like 2010 will continue the rise of the business analyst.

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  • http://ericbrown.com ericbrown

    Hi Joe – It's always fun to see the lists of predictions at the end of each year.

  • http://ericbrown.com ericbrown

    Hi Joe – It's always fun to see the lists of predictions at the end of each year.

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