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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

No Big Bang, Just a Passing in the Night

In this ever changing world of technology we are seeing a very interesting trend. Previously I wrote about the Next Big bang which I thought would involve the merging of IT and Communication Providers; it would seem however that it was more a passing in the night of two large forces than an actual collision to create a new wave of services.
In today’s market we have Hardware vendors now being driven to sell software in order to sell more hardware and software providers now selling more hardware in order to sell more software – still with me? I had expected or rather hoped that the Big Bang theory would create new partnerships between Hardware and Software vendors to leverage the shared strengths of both as opposed to vendors trying to over extend. We talk about the need for Businesses to adapt to the market around them to survive this could not be more relevant to technology companies but that shouldn’t mean these technology companies try to manage beyond their core strengths.
Okay that might sound vague but we only have to look at the wonderful new world of cloud computing to see how Hardware Vendors and Software Providers are trying to gain new market share or for many of those providers already in the hosting space trying to protect their existing business. It is this attempt to try and conquer all which is creating a new market dynamic. Cloud Computing is on the verge of significant divergence with so many different models offered by a vast array of providers both hardware and software alike.
The implications of these differing Cloud Computing models are that technologies moving into the cloud are increasingly becoming tied into specific cloud platforms. That is to say instead of being able to choose your own combination of a cloud computing platform and then your choice of Communications and IT services, business will now need to identify which services work with which platforms without the need for customization.  I am worried that although cloud computing was supposed to mean less customization and greater ease of use we are going end up with the exact opposite. The result being extensive ongoing customization and complex systems requiring intensive resource support diverting crucial resources away from businesses focus because of the increased hands on requirement.
This is because Hardware Vendors and Software providers alike feel the need to fulfil each other’s role rather than look at partnerships. This to me is a missed opportunity and one which businesses will end up having to managing. There is hope however I have seen a new wave of communications and IT service technology businesses that are working to remove the complexity of customization by taking on the integration requirements themselves embedded within their service offerings. This is intriguing to me as I had predicted these new providers/innovators to come about through the seamless integration of Hardware and Software, but it has been the gap which has developed between Software and Hardware vendors instead which has created an opportunity.
I am excited to see these new providers offering hope to businesses to leverage the benefits of new technologies whilst avoiding the worry of managing change. Augmentation helps businesses avoid rip and replace, and let’s face it in the current market environment no one wants to replace their existing systems. At the same time though businesses realise it is important to continue to drive towards sustainable growth leveraging the ongoing evolution of technology albeit based on the outcomes of their business goals rather than technology limiting those goals. Did you get all of that?
Best of Breed should always be about the choice of the customer, I am hopeful that these new technology companies will keep alive that opportunity for businesses to look at the blending of cloud computing with Communication and IT services as an opportunity to reduce customization and improve ease of use. So I would ask Hardware and Software providers to take a look in the mirror, stay true to their business focus and leverage these new providers in maximizing their own strengths and ultimately retaining their focus in meeting the needs of their customers.