By Dave Lounsbury, The Open Group
The Open Group is looking toward the future – what will happen in the next five to ten years?
Those who know us think of The Open Group as being all about consensus, creating standards that are useful to the buy and supply side by creating a stable representation of industry experience – and they would be right. But in order to form this consensus, we must keep an eye on the horizon to see if there are areas that we should be talking about now. The Open Group needs to keep eyes on the future in order to keep pace with businesses looking to gain business advantage by incorporating emerging technologies. According to the McKinsey Global institute, “leaders need to plan for a range of scenarios, abandoning assumptions about where competition and risk could come from and not to be afraid to look beyond long-established models.”
To make sure we have this perspective, The Open Group has started a series of Future Technologies workshops. We initiated this at The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia with the goal of identifying emerging business and technical trends that change the shape of enterprise IT. What are the potential disruptors? How should we be preparing?
As always at The Open Group, we look to our membership to guide us. We assembled a fantastic panel of experts on the topic who offered up insights into the future:
- Dr. William Lafontaine, VP High Performance Computing, Analytics & Cognitive Markets at IBM Research: Global technology Outlook 2013.
- Mike Walker, Strategy and Enterprise Architecture Advisor at HP: An Enterprise Architecture’s Journey to 2020.
If you were not able to join us in Philadelphia, you can view the Livestream session on-demand.
Dr. William Lafontaine shared aspects of the company’s Global Technology Outlook 2013, naming the top trends that the company is keeping top of mind, starting with a confluence of social, mobile analytics and cloud.
According to Lafontaine and his colleagues, businesses must prepare for not “mobile also” but “mobile first.” In fact, there will be companies that will exist in a mobile-only environment.
- Growing scale/lower barrier of entry – More data created, but also more people able to create ways of taking advantage of this data, such as companies that excel at personal interface. Multimedia analytics will become a growing concern for businesses that will be receiving swells of information video and images.
- Increasing complexity – the Confluence of Social, Mobile, Cloud and Big Data / Analytics will result in masses of data coming from newer, more “complex” places, such as scanners, mobile devices and other “Internet of Things”. Yet, these complex and varied streams of data are more consumable and will have an end-product which is more easily delivered to clients or user. Smaller businesses are also moving closer toward enterprise complexity. For example, when you swipe your credit card, you will also be shown additional purchasing opportunities based on your past spending habits. These can include alerts to nearby coffee shops that serve your favorite tea to local bookstores that sell mysteries or your favorite genre.
- Fast pace – According to Lafontaine, ideas will be coming to market faster than ever. He introduced the concept of the Minimum Buyable Product, which means take an idea (sometimes barely formed) to inventors to test its capabilities and to evaluate as quickly as possible. Processes that once took months or years can now take weeks. Lafontaine used the MOOC innovator Coursera as an example: Eighteen months ago, it had no clients and existed in zero countries. Now it’s serving over 4 million students around the world in over 29 countries. Deployment of open APIs will become a strategic tool for creation of value.
- Contextual overload – Businesses have more data than they know what to do with: our likes and dislikes, how we like to engage with our mobile devices, our ages, our locations, along with traditional data of record. The next five years, businesses will be attempting to make sense of it.
- Machine learning – Cognitive systems will form the “third era” of computing. We will see businesses using machines capable of complex reasoning and interaction to extend human cognition. Examples are a “medical sieve” for medical imaging diagnosis, used by legal firms in suggesting defense / prosecution arguments and in next generation call centers.
- IT shops need to be run as a business – Mike Walker spoke about how the business of IT is fundamentally changing and that end-consumers are driving corporate behaviors. Expectations have changed and the bar has been raised. The tolerance for failure is low and getting lower. It is no longer acceptable to tell end-consumers that they will be receiving the latest product in a year. Because customers want their products faster, EAs and businesses will have to react in creative ways.
- Build a BRIC house: According to Forrester, $2.1 trillion will be spent on IT in 2013 with “apps and the US leading the charge.” Walker emphasized the importance of building information systems, products and services that support the BRIC areas of the world (Brazil, Russia, India and China) since they comprise nearly a third of the global GDP. Hewlett-Packard is banking big on “The New Style of IT”: Cloud, risk management and security and information management. This is the future of business and IT, says Meg Whitman, CEO and president of HP. All of the company’s products and services presently pivot around these three concepts.
- IT is the business: Gartner found that 67% of all EA organizations are either starting (39%), restarting (7%) or renewing (21%). There’s a shift from legacy EA, with 80% of organizations focused on how they can leverage EA to either align business and IT standards (25%), deliver strategic business and IT value (39%) or enable major business transformation (16%).
Good as these views are, they only represent two data points on a line that The Open Group wants to draw out toward the end of the decade. So we will be continuing these Future Technologies sessions to gather additional views, with the next session being held at The Open Group London Conference in October. Please join us there! We’d also like to get your input on this blog. Please post your thoughts on:
- Perspectives on what business and technology trends will impact IT and EA in the next 5-10 years
- Points of potential disruption – what will change the way we do business?
- What actions should we be taking now to prepare for this future?
 McKinsey Global Institute, Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy. May 2013