80% Businesses Confident About Their Security Behaviour: PwC
Six Best Practices For Moving To A Culture Of Extreme Collaboration: Gartner

Biztech Dec 6, 2012

Reimagining Future Of IT

By D D Mishra

Today’s imagination is tomorrow’s reality. As IT leaders, one of the tasks we have at hand is to imagine the future and give it shape to become reality to derive value. CIOs are mostly enablers of destinies but I would like to take that one step further and say that in the future, IT leaders, with the right vision, will be creators of destinies. Imagination is a prerogative of not only product vendors and consultants, but also CIOs and IT leaders. They are better placed for practical imagination.

I have tried to capture some of the weird thoughts which come to me quite often and maybe they are reality in some part of the world or being considered as options. I have tried to re-imagine what can come up - keeping in view the present, with a belief that future is extrapolation of present and past. The reason I am putting it here to understand the views and diverse opinions our community may have on these and enrich the thought process for a better tomorrow.

Cloud Over Cloud

We have seen emergence of cloud in various forms – private, public, hybrid, etc. I am sure this will continue to evolve and a few years down the line, adoption will be more than we can imagine. But when I first heard about it, I viewed public cloud with a lot of skepticism - which still continues - but with lesser intensity as we see more innovative ways of utilisation of the same.

But I now think the best way to make this popular is through the concept of “cloud over cloud”. This is not an attempt to make it more ‘cloudy’ but to further empower the end users. Today vendor lock-in in public cloud is one of the deterrents. Cloud brokers can gather capacity from variety of available clouds and provide services by de-risking the phenomenon that the customer does not depend on one provider. The way it can work is that there is a cloud broker who buys capability from cloud providers and acts as a grid of capabilities. You can borrow the capabilities. Also, organisations that have excess capacities can provide the same to the grid and later borrow or charge back. Complete transparency, affordable pricing, standardised SLAs and guaranteed ROI are just some of the benefits that can come out of this. Can this create more value or is it a figment of impractical imagination with impractical thoughts - this is left to further discussion of community.

Social Connectors

Today no one can deny the power of social media. An organisation is more of a community and business an ecosystem. In my weird thought of future, I see boundaries between organisations dismantling. Today organisations face a dilemma of driving social media and some have their own corporate social media as well. Can we connect the social media using secured connectors? The connectors can act as links between social media and corporate network to help organisations leverage the employees’ connections. The way I envisage this is that organisations ask employees to provide their social identities and connect it to connectors where organisations can post the messages through corporate social networks which not only reaches the employees but also reaches the network around them. Organisations can reward employees for more number of shares; reaches, etc (call it impact). The concept of Big Data can also be integrated wisely to capture the text and derive meaningful information. This way we prevent social media directly but can leverage the value of the network. This will encourage employees to provide and create a good network around them and help send right messages to the world to make business thrive. The opportunities it can further generate could be unlimited.

This can be used to create a larger ecosystem of organisations getting connected over social platforms using connectors and built as a larger business community. As technology is brining business together, we will see emergence of such connectors between organisations that create a ecosystem.

Device Transparency

BYOD is a buzz word and more and more organisations plan to adopt it over a period of time. While the world is struggling with its challenges and many of these getting resolved with variety of solutions, empowerment to end users to use any device seamlessly can transform BYOD to BAD (Bring Any Device). What IT can bring in is a unique experience to enable users in changing, losing or using either of them without any problems where the devices remain in-sync and end users can use either of them.

The concept takes the differential capabilities of devices and gives an option to use those capabilities remotely as well as long as it can be connected. We can call it as “Device-as-a-Service” which could be different from many such services proposed by vendors. It actually enables end users to use power of various devices through any device and makes empowers end users. I strongly believe the next generation of technology will revolve around empowerment and enablement of end users.

Security And Compliance

Security and compliance will be very different from the traditional approach and it will come embedded in the devices. The chips will come with security and protection; SIM cards of phones will be multi-functional with installed security to protect businesses. Cloud-based security and digital authentication, etc will make a paradigm shift to compliance. eGovernance would demand connectivity and authentication in many parts of the world. There will be larger investment in Security Operations Centres (SOC) on the same lines as NOC to monitor and control vulnerability and ensure all compliances are done or SOC could also be on cloud to help SMEs.

Use of Big Data and analytics for security will see a big rise and MIS / DWH solutions that can predict will attract investments. Though concept is not new, but the way it is architected today may need review because the way we secure our devices in future will be different. The laws and IT policy will need a drastic review to accommodate the changes. The changes in governance policies towards data protection will undergo a massive change. A dialogue between government and CIO community is absolutely necessary for policy formations.

Network And Internet

Devices that make Internet usage more convenient and cheaper will fuel growth and penetration in many countries. The fusion of communication devices, convergent billing will trigger large changes in billing system for telecom companies. The convergence will not be restricted to telecom and as devices converge, we have to relook end users support and practices, SLAs and practices in a very different ways. The convergence of enterprise business into mainstream business might happen and the most online will emerge as the most preferred channel. This will mean CIOs will push more and more business online. The transformation of network infrastructure especially to enable video communications will make it more convenient will drive organisations towards success. Economic success will be triggered through the endeavours of communities (organisations) towards penetration of networks in the untapped areas.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing the way we do today will definitely change as the larger value realisation may not be happening and expectations are increasing. There is an argument that there will be insourcing wave but I humble agree to disagree. Outsourcing will see many changes. The one change I see is towards multisourcing (or agile sourcing) which is a new concept of sourcing (does not mean multi-vendor). The next thing I envisage is global delivery centres where shared infrastructure is created to support the large corporates by big system integrators. This will bring the cost down by consolidating the delivery and make the business more cost effective. This will require bringing in confidence and technology to protect the individual business interests. For example, a system integrator can support all banks or telcos through a common delivery centre, giving them a cost advantage. With little innovation to the concept, larger values can be derived. Needless to say that consumerisation and commoditisation will have different sourcing concepts.

Project, Programme and Portfolio

This is not new but this concept will be talked about. The existing frameworks will require to be drastically changed. Traditional SDLC, Waterfall, Agile, RUP, etc will have to support agility and flexibility. Businesses would like to realise benefits faster but each framework has its own pros and cons. A combination of all these frameworks will mark an emergence of best practices suited for a particular business. Portfolio management will be more prominent where they are at nascent stages and earned value concept will definitely be widespread. There are many markets that have not adopted frameworks and standards as practice but as we see organisations become hollow by commoditisation and consumerisation, they will require these skills and drastic transformation from the traditional approach.

Competency And Employability

Changes will be faster than we envisage. As these changes happen, new ways of managing relationships, new skill sets will be required. The existing curriculum in colleges will have to change to accommodate the emerging concepts. Employability will shift from corporates towards system integrators and the world will require different skill sets for corporate IT teams like contract management, outsourcing management, demand management, negotiations, strategy formations, etc. Service providers will require more cloud, SLA, open source, SOA, governance, supply chain skills. I can see a growth of training institutions that will try to fill the void of new IT environment. The job roles will come increasingly under pressure and we have to be ready to find future employability. I can see contracting and consulting opportunities increasing over a period of time as many CIOs and IT leaders will be available for this. The convergence of ecosystem to make it happen and will create a new order.
Strategy And Architecture

The traditional strategy and architecture will change to both “inside-out” and “outside-in” approach. CIOs will have to look at consumer behaviour - how it is changing and how the business is going to happen in new world and the device strategy to accommodate the same. CIOs will create imagination for future and create a roadmap for business based on analysis. This would mean imagination is necessary and CIO as an order-taker will become a matter of history in most organisations.

Convergence Of CIO And CMO

Technology will always remain important and if the above predictions come true, can we conclude CEOs will be dependent on CIOs for business and CIOs will have to transform from technology stewards to business leaders? I see arguments that CIOs are yet to be considered at par with C-level peers but I see a future where business leaders of today will envy the role of CIOs. With the online channel gaining strength, maybe today’s CIOs are tomorrow’s CMOs or COOs (with dual responsibilities). Can we conclude convergence of the roles at C-level for CIOs?

Imagination has no limit and if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Purposeful action would be the key to success. I believe that the more we are ready for the future, we control destiny that much better. It is an equal responsibility on the hands of CIOs to create a future destiny and roadmap on how IT will emerge in future and work with ecosystem. In my opinion, CIOs and IT leaders should have vision, mission and beliefs for their own selves as well to make it happen.

by D D Mishra

Related Stories.