This is a very interesting slide deck on Internet Trends. Specifically when you dissect digital media into audio, photo, video and audio you see we are just at the beginning of a huge growth in demand for Cloud Services to support our digital lifestyle. When you combine what we want digitally with how we use it and socialize using it, the volume of digital content will grow at an unbelievable rate through 2035. internettrends052913final-130529094939-phpapp02
The information age has brought about the rise of a new type of technology company. These are companies where the products or services they produce/provide are intrinsically connected to the IT infrastructure required to sustain the enterprise’s day to day operations. Unlike a food processor where the consumer product is supported by technology but disconnected once it is consumed. In these enterprises, the consumer buys a product/service that links them back into the enterprise’s IT infrastructure and the company monetizes this connection in order to perpetuate business and seduce the consumer down the path to purchasing more and more offerings to leverage the established link.
Even giants like Microsoft are going this way by eliminating free Hotmail and replacing it with free online Outlook and SkyDrive space in the cloud. Companies who identify their current reliance on IT as a part of their business value proposition will be able to take advantage of this fact to create strategic inflection points. They will use adjunct offerings that take the enterprise to a new level of revenue and profitability. “Quick” tactical offerings with IT infrastructure “come-along” benefits will seed the prime rose path leading the consumer to partake in future offerings built upon a baseline infrastructure. Emergence of these new Technology Giants will be driven by executive leadership recognizing that IT isn’t just a necessary evil but rather an important platform allowing the launch of never before revenue models and opportunities.
The IaaS and PaaS cloud models allow architects to decouple components of an application or enterprise system into the lowest functional components and design for failure how these pieces can be utilized as “independent black boxes” to form an application. This allows for provisioning elasticity and resiliency of individual components and their states in the inevitable event of hardware or software failure.
One of the least understood impacts of this approach is that the message queues used by components can become the most important elements in assuring availability, scalability and ultimate reliability. In essence the messaging infrastructure components become the most critical parts of an applications infrastructure designed to exploit elasticity. If you envision these Enterprise Apps as complex organisms, then the message queues and their reliability become mission critical organs of the living, agile enterprise architecture. Components such as controller apps, databases and such should be isolated allowing buffering of request along with replies making the network of components more durable and state independent facilitating failover and scalability.
As enterprises come to grips with Cloud Computing demands (both internal and external) the IT groups will soon realize that the Hybrid model is the “best fit” for the new Enterprise IT organization. This will also force a closer alignment with various business units and provoke a rethink of the costing models for IT. can IT really stay a coast center given the inevitable variable demand curve of Cloud Services? Enterprise IT shops will consider various vendors (E.G., Azure, HP, VMware, Amazon & others) in light of the matrix created by matching customers service type needs to flexibility of leveraging a vendors Cloud Service offerings to suit the enterprise’s complex business needs. the ease of entrance and exit will be the driving forces behind vendor selection not just cost but ease of achieving true operational excellence.
Finance, Corporate Strategy, Biz Units and IT will collaborate to determine which “flavor” of Cloud Services are needed. For example the SaaS, IaaS or PaaS models may all be needed in the view of the business objectives. The decision of what kind of service offerings to implement will drive IT’s customers to do a functional decomposition of existing applications and distil what services are used today. This will lead to an “applicability analysis” of which type of Cloud implementation makes good business sense. Some may choose from Cloud Platform as a Service, Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Cloud as a Software Service model. These may also include convent “off ramp & on ramp” strategies to allow customers to switch as circumstances dictate. An example of the choices is illustrated below:
As we look at today’s complex product, business and end-user requirements, some key ideas must be addressed to achieve profit margin goals. Almost all electronic products today utilize software, hardware and multiple suppliers/vendors to complete product functionality. The chart below is meant to trigger thinking about key items that must be included in the today’s electronic product engineering process.
An example of leveraging Cloud Services is to deploy an application that services the healthcare industry by ultilizing the Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS) model E.G., Azure:
- To deploy a Cloud-based Azure Platform meeting HIPAA regulations, all application code segments must be designed using a web-services model where database elements and application code running in the cloud publish secure streams
- Windows Azure allows an organization to create virtual machines (VMs) that run in Microsoft datacenters. Suppose the organization wants to use those VMs to run enterprise applications or other software that will be used by customers. We can create a SharePoint farm in the cloud, for example, or run HIIPA data management enterprise HITECH applications. To make life as easy as possible for our users, these applications would be accessible just as if they were running in an cost intensive local datacenter.
- The Enterprise offering the Cloud Services must follow these five rules in order to stay comliant with HIIPA:
- Transaction & Code Set
- Unique Identifiers (Admin Simplification)
If an enterprise needs to establish a strategic vision that maps out a clear path to an end state vision, then specific action items can be set around well defined targets in:
- Strategy Targets that help expand the footprint of a technology or products
- Process Targets the sheppard teams to accomplish goals and deciplined cycles of activity
- People Targets that help increase productivity and creativity
- Business Targets that set fiscal milestones and performance meterics
- Ecosystem Targets that help stimulate the health and growth of ecosystem partners and fellow travelers.
Below is an example of process targets that help:
Strategic Technology Planning Process
- Review existing technical plans and strategic direction
- Develop a Technology Mission Statement
- Analyze Current raw Data
- Establish Goals and Objectives
- Develop and Implement Project Plans and Timelines (Roadmaps)
- Disseminate, Monitor, Evaluate, Renovate the Technology Plan.