Inflection Points

inflectionAlthough the arti­cles on rep­re­sent my per­sonal views on the inter­sec­tion of tech­nol­ogy, pol­icy and eco­nom­ics I rarely write about the per­sonal impact of these issues on me. That will be unavoid­able with this post­ing. We sit at the inflec­tion point between two eras of com­put­ing: The dis­trib­uted machine and appli­ca­tion focused model of today and the data dri­ven com­pos­able ser­vice model of the ‘Metaform’ that is now emerg­ing. The pro­found impli­ca­tions of this tech­ni­cal inflec­tion have cre­ated a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional inflec­tion point. It’s time to embark on a new jour­ney… Con­tinue Reading

The ‘Metaform’ — The Platform of Everything

PrintWe are wit­ness­ing a period of unpar­al­leled dig­i­tal ser­vice inno­va­tion where new ser­vices are increas­ingly built by wiring together the busi­ness capa­bil­i­ties of mul­ti­ple other firms exposed through open cloud based ser­vice interfaces.

Wel­come to the era of the ‘Metaform’ — The Plat­form of Everything.

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Cloud Computing’s Free Lunch

iStock_000033532448LargeOne of my mother’s favor­tite say­ings is “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” Gen­er­ally that’s a pretty good rule to live buy. If it looks like your being offered some­thing for noth­ing then take a sec­ond look. You’ll almost always end up pay­ing some­where down the line. How­ever, when it comes to cloud com­put­ing a ‘Free Lunch’ may become a very real possibility.

Ama­zon, Microsoft and Google are engaged in a bat­tle for mar­ket share and cus­tomer loy­alty which has seen the price of basic com­put­ing resources decline pre­cip­tously over recent years. Therein lies the free lunch. How­ever, each of them expects to mon­e­tize this grow­ing cus­tomers base buy charg­ing for higher level ser­vices. There’s the rub. Max­i­miz­ing the free lunch opor­tu­nity will require smart cus­tomers to fig­ure out how to dine inex­pen­sively while lim­it­ing con­sump­tion of that expen­sive bot­tle of wine.

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Technology’s Triple Threat


Cross-posted from the Innovia Ven­tures Blog by Jonathan Mur­ray & Desiree van Welsum

Technology's Triple ThreatWhat impact will the increas­ingly wide­spread use of dig­i­tal tools and infor­ma­tion have on our soci­ety and econ­omy and how will we deal with the dis­rup­tive forces brought to life and ampli­fied by these technologies?

Under­stand­ing the nature of this emerg­ing trans­for­ma­tion and iden­ti­fy­ing appro­pri­ate responses to ensure we suc­cess­fully nav­i­gate the chal­lenges is crit­i­cal. With­out this we risk a level of social and eco­nomic dis­lo­ca­tion unseen since our tran­si­tion to an indus­trial econ­omy in the 17th and 18th cen­turies. But whereas the tran­si­tion from an agri­cul­tural to an indus­trial econ­omy took over one hun­dred years, the tran­si­tion from indus­trial to a cyber-economy will likely take a few decades at most — a rate of change our polit­i­cal and social sys­tems are ill-prepared to deal with.

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Is there a ‘can’ in your future?

iStock_000007298729LargeIn the eco­nom­ics of com­put­ing the most expen­sive resource is still the net­work. In sce­nar­ios where large data-sets are being processed it is almost always cheaper to move com­pu­ta­tion to the data than the other way round. My friend and for­mer col­league Dave McCrory nicely cap­tured this real­ity in his con­cept of Data Grav­ity.Today’s cloud based com­put­ing archi­tec­tures assume that all data will flow to the cen­ter to be processed. Unfor­tu­nately, this cen­tral­ized data-processing model is not likely to be eco­nom­i­cally viable as we look for­ward to a tsunami of data being gen­er­ated by tril­lions of con­nected devices and sensors.

In the brave new world of the ‘Inter­net of Things’ — IoT — mov­ing every bit of gen­er­ated data from edge devices to the cen­ter for pro­cess­ing will likely make lit­tle eco­nomic sense. A new dis­trib­uted data pro­cess­ing archi­tec­ture is going to be required.

Con­tent Dis­tri­b­u­tion Net­works (CDNs) are a com­mon way of effi­ciently mov­ing data from the cen­ter to the edge of the net­work but a new gen­er­a­tion of Con­tent Aggre­ga­tion Net­works (CANs) may be required to make the pro­cess­ing of IoT data eco­nom­i­cally viable — is there a ‘CAN’ in your future?

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The Service Dilemma [eBook]

I’m delighted to make avail­able our new pub­li­ca­tion “The Ser­vices Dilemma” as a free eBook down­load.


The Ser­vices Trans­for­ma­tion and the algo­rith­mic revolution

A fun­da­men­tal, multi-tiered trans­for­ma­tion of ser­vices is under­way. It is so per­va­sive and of such scope that it entails a trans­for­ma­tion of global com­pet­i­tive eco­nom­ics. First of all, it is part of a dynamic in the global econ­omy, which not only adds to the rel­a­tive growth of ser­vices, but leads to most busi­nesses inte­grat­ing a ser­vices com­po­nent into their busi­ness model. Sec­ondly, the very nature of ser­vices is being trans­formed, dri­ven by devel­op­ments in Infor­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) tools, the uses to which they are being put, and the net­works on which they run. Finally, there is an emerg­ing strate­gic chal­lenge for ser­vices com­pa­nies that are using ICT to ad– dress the clas­si­cal pro­duc­tiv­ity chal­lenge in ser­vices, con­cern­ing the need to avoid commoditization.

The con­se­quences of this fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of ser­vices impact the nature and the dis­tri­b­u­tion of jobs glob­ally; they change the strate­gic require­ments for suc­cess in all kinds of busi­nesses and they pose sig­nif­i­cant new chal­lenges for eco­nomic policy.

In this white book, we will map the entirety of the ser­vices trans­for­ma­tion and its impli­ca­tion for ser­vices inno­va­tion. We will be dis­cussing the strate­gic busi­ness choices that are being posed—in some core sec­tions and case stud­ies with a par­tic­u­lar focus on smaller ser­vices companies—as well as some key pub­lic pol­icy challenges.


Cloud Computing and Complexity

Complex Underground PipesThe busi­ness of Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IT) has a com­plex­ity problem.

As a domain IT requires deeply spe­cial­ized skills, the lan­guage of IT is arcane and busi­ness needs require mul­ti­ple lev­els of trans­la­tion and inter­pre­ta­tion before being imple­mented as sys­tems. This con­cep­tual com­plex­ity cre­ates a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier between busi­ness and IT lead­er­ship. But there’s a big­ger prob­lem: The most com­plex issue fac­ing IT today is tech­nol­ogy itself.

The IT infra­struc­ture of most rea­son­ably sized busi­nesses is a hor­ren­dous cats cra­dle of inter­con­nec­tion and infor­ma­tion flow between mul­ti­ple aging sys­tems that were never designed to work together and yet the emer­gence of hor­i­zon­tally inte­grated — and increas­ingly glob­ally dis­trib­uted - busi­ness processes demands and depends on the fric­tion free flow of information.

Time-to-Value  is per­haps the most impor­tant met­ric in today’s dynamic, com­pet­i­tive service-led econ­omy but against this mea­sure most cor­po­rate IT orga­ni­za­tions fail mis­er­ably. The require­ment for IT to keep pace with the speed of busi­ness has never been greater but the ugly real­ity for most CIOs is that the com­plex­ity of their IT infra­struc­tures is over­whelm­ing and an increas­ing per­cent­age of IT bud­gets is now spent on main­tain­ing and inte­grat­ing aging legacy sys­tems rather than deliv­er­ing new value to the business.

No won­der most CEOs are skep­ti­cal about the strate­gic value of IT. Con­tinue Reading

Why There’s No Future in Cloud Futures

An inter­est­ing debate took place at last week’s Cloud2020 gath­er­ing regard­ing the via­bil­ity of futures mar­kets for cloud com­put­ing capac­ity. I’m firmly at the skep­ti­cal end of the spec­trum as the title of this post will attest. How­ever, I had not given enough thought as to the rea­sons for my skep­ti­cism. Hav­ing reflected on it a lit­tle I’m more con­vinced than ever that any attempt to cre­ate either pri­mary or sec­ondary mar­kets in cloud com­modi­ties is doomed. In short the lack of fric­tion and a lack of volatil­ity in match­ing cloud com­put­ing sup­ply and demand means there is likely no win­dow for 3rd party mar­ket mak­ers to insert them­selves into this value net­work. Con­tinue Reading

The Composable Enterprise™

iStock_000016759536LargeWe have wit­nessed a major shift over recent decades towards a dig­i­tal ser­vices based econ­omy[1]. Expo­nen­tial growth in the power of infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy enhanced by Inter­net dri­ven net­work effects mean that even the most mun­dane man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts are seen as just one com­po­nent of a broader dig­i­tal ser­vices based value chain.

The shift to dig­i­tal ser­vices has trans­formed the global com­pet­i­tive land­scape. Main­tain­ing com­pet­i­tive dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion requires con­tin­u­ous inno­va­tion – and life­cy­cles are con­tract­ing. In other words change is a constant.

The dynam­ics of a hyper-competitive global mar­ket mean that sta­tic and long-lived mod­els of com­pany struc­ture, oper­a­tions and infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy ser­vices are no longer fit for pur­pose. We need a new oper­at­ing model for the enterprise.

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