50 years ago, Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, observed that the number of transistors on integrated circuits had doubled each year since the integrated circuit had been invented. His prediction that this would continue into the foreseeable future has been proven to be more or less right. Experts predict that this is going to continue for at least another two decades.
For businesses, this continuous and incremental evolution of technology presents opportunities and risk. Whilst each improvement makes new processes possible, increasing viability, speed and convenience of service offering and reduces costs, the flip side is that hardware becomes redundant, unable to sustain the demands put on it.
In practical terms this can mean that systems like payment processing can be accelerated and made more convenient for customers, stock control can become leaner, mobile devices can process and access increasingly complex information at faster speeds. Software is built to new standards and organisations find competitive advantages through the enhanced capability that technology makes possible.
As I write this on the day of “Mobilegeddon”, the algorithm update from Google, which will factor a site’s mobile capabilities into search rankings to a greater extent. This is directly connected to the trend that Moore’s Law has predicted as the capability of mobility reaches new heights.
With this constant evolution, the case for capital investment in technology becomes weaker for businesses that do not want to have to refresh every 18 months. The exponential rate of acceleration means that a server purchased just 24 months ago now had roughly four times less capability as one bought today. Of course, not all data within a business needs to be run on the same standards as reflected by rise of the popularity of hybrid cloud hosting. My own predictions for the future, call the Owen’s Law if you like are that:
1. Outsourcing Of Technology Will Increase
As the capabilities of microprocessors continue to scale, so does the rate of change in technologies that utilise them. This has resulted in rapid acceleration of new technologies being available to solve problems, many of which were not even feasible a few years ago. Take for example big data as a space.
The torrential pace of data management techniques and technologies requires full time attention just to keep up with what’s new. The reality for businesses wanting to embrace these new technologies is that they will need more and more help understanding how to utilise these technologies, as well as actually getting them up and running. This drives more outsourcing, both in terms of the volume of services consumed, as well as the breadth of technologies that can and should be utilised to improve business operations and results.
2. Technology Will Be ‘Just In Time’ Rather Than ‘Just In Case’
As more technology moves outside of the four walls of central IT, this allows consumers of these technology services (IT practitioners, CMOs, etc.) to simultaneously embrace new consumption models for these technologies. The advent of utility billing for services provided in the cloud are a great example of what this means. Servers can now be deployed in minutes, instead of weeks or months that were typical even just a few years ago. The same goes for Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. And as consumers of these services become accustomed to just in time delivery, they will demand this consumption model for every technology they consume going forward.
3. Emphasis On Flexible, Agile Contracts With Service Providers
Just in time provisioning of technology has also brought forth a new financial model for IT consumption – utility billing. As more services begin to be consumed in the cloud, so also goes the payments for these services – pay as you go represents tremendous financial agility for organisations today in cloud provisioned services, whether that be IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. The days of annual budgeting for large capital investments in technology, hardware, data centres and the like are quickly waning, as more and more organisations realise the benefits that utility billing can provide. That in turn drives demand for more and more agility in the contracts and relationships organisations form with outsourcing providers to realise the potential benefits of these new financial models.
4. Absolute Compatibility Regardless Of The Device
Largely driven by the rapid evolution of consumer technologies, and their inevitable application in the enterprise, tech users everywhere are coming to expect the same ease of use, ubiquity, and mobility they experience on their personal devices to be available with the enterprise technologies they use at work as well. And why not? This creates a new bar for the user experience for enterprise apps, to be easy to use, to be usable on any end-device, and available from the office as well as the home office and on the road. Cloud-based technologies and mobile adoption have converged to set the stage for this eventuality. Now it’s up to the enterprise software application providers to rise to the challenge!