Monday, May 14, 2012

The Tablet is To Print as The Cloud is To IT Services: The Death of I.T.

 I.T. Services"...that's a wrap..."

When filming a scene in a movie, once the director has what he needs on set, and the filming is complete, somebody will announce, "That's a wrap!" indicating the end of the scene, show, or movie.

Then they celebrate the completion and bash-out at the "Wrap Party".

While sitting in the first day of presentations at an industry symposium, Lyra 2012 - I had an epiphany.

The days of IT departments, IT VARs and CIOs are numbered.  The ending scene is being played out before us.

Off camera, an anxious Director is about to announce, "That'a a Wrap, people..."

That's right.  Wrap it up.

Like Elvis, The Glass Room is leaving the building and heading to the clouds.

We will not require IT departments, IT Directors, in-house technicians, software "guru's" or printer guys.  No network, telephony, mobility departments or know-it-all's.

Everything will be monitored and serviced remotely - if at all - and quite possibly, monitored by other devices.  Devices monitoring Devices.

How can I make such a bold and audacious prediction?  Two reasons:
  1. The Cloud(duh) and 
  2. The Consumerization of IT.
When I first entered the technology niche, 1988, there were such things as "dumb terminals".

Simple text displays that presented letters in either green, yellow or orange, phosphorous dots.  They were considered 'dumb' because there was no processing or program execution taking place on the unit - the 'big iron' in some back-room somewhere(the beginnings of IT Departments) processed everything and sent characters to the dumb screen for the end user.

Back then 'big iron' referred to mainframes, mid-range and mini-computers.  These devices  where complicated and mysterious and managed by people considered brainiacs - often they were.

Though the mainframes possessed robust computing power, they where fragile things, housed inside temperature controlled enclosures - glass rooms and protected by "keepers of the keypunch".

Like the days of the Oracle, end users knelt and submitted requests.  C-level and cube rat alike were at the botom of the information food chain, receiving reports weeks after requested - and happy for them.

If direct contact was necessary, end users would communicate with the wizards by phone or through a slot in the glass wall.

Sounds...stupid, doesn't it?  It was the best process at the time.

Fast forward about 20 years.

Our ability to access data, convert it into information and utilize as actionable intelligence is easier than ever before in history.  We all have a direct conduit to the cloud, to the data that historically belonged to the 'oracles' or guardians of knowledge.  No Oracles, Magi, Monks, Templars or Popes.  No vaulted professors, committees of wise-people, publishers, editors, marketing departments, sales managers, CEx, or Information Technology directors.

No more.

We are the cloud, the cloud is Us.

Today's shapeless data-cloud is different.  It's bigger, continuously growing and no longer held behind the glass wall.  We don't require high-priests, soothsayers or gate keepers; from the palm of our hand, we can touch any piece of data, vision or fact.  Fifteen seconds or 2,000 years old, Time does not hold us in check.

Geography imprisons us no longer.  Somebody in Tokyo will pose an idea improved upon by a person in New York City and copied by another in Moscow.  Thousands of miles, in a matter of minutes...with nary a whisper from IT.

Ticket to the cloud fit in the palm of our hands.  On a device we acquired without corporate advice, recommendation or requirements, and so easy to use, our 11 year old kids show us how to use it - not the mysterious "IT Department".

We don't need to pull down seven figures to afford access.  Not yet and hopefully not ever.

Ease of access is only half of the issue - soon, everybody on the planet will be able to actively contribute to the cloud. 

The estimated, 2011, world population was about 6.9 billion. The same year, there was an estimated 2.2 billion internet users - a 37% penetration rate and a 528% growth rate from 2000 to 2011.  Everybody is doing it.

Out here in North Carolina, Apple has a 500,000 square foot data center, let's call it a 'glass house'.  This glass house will have possibly the largest, privately owned solar array and is rumored to support iTunes, iCloud and MobileMe users on over 200 million devices.

Supporting 200 million devices. It employs 50 IT specialists - calculate THAT support to device ratio.

"...That's a wrap, people...pop the champagne..."






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