Today it is possible to process large amounts of information and produce results in real-time. Modern organisations will embrace this new reality and will adapt their processes and organisations, in many cases causing them to rethink and re-invent themselves around these new capabilities, Organisations that remain locked into the old ways, old processes and old architectures will be left behind in a surprisingly short timeframe.
Processing power continues to increase and memory prices continue to fall. Solid State Disk technology provides a magnitude increase in data rates and the costs are now equal to what spindle disks were a few years ago. Distributed processing technology allows computational loads and data to be spread over multiple servers and increasingly across data centres. In prior times applications were basically centred around a big database. The applications provided some specific functionality but the core theme was always around the big database. This resulted in a large focus on database servers and database fault tolerance technology.
With modern technology in many cases the database can be removed, and the distributed nature of the implementation provides both scale and the fault tolerance required for business continuity. A recurring theme that I continue to hear is that in the near future all operational data will be in-memory, and database will be used for archival. Putting all of the data in-memory provides significantly faster access-times which contributes to the shift to real-time processing and interactive system responses.
Instead of big monolithic applications which dictate the processes and capabilities to the business, CIOs are now focusing on flexible and open platforms that allow them to rapidly create or modify business critical functionality. Given the rapid rate of change in the business landscape, CIO's acknowledge that they and their business cannot predict the future needs. Therefore the successful organisations focus on deploying a flexible platform which allows them to respond and adapt to changing business requirements.
Previously CIO's were directly responsible for all systems required for internal and business operations needed by their organisations. With the development of Cloud, Software as a Service and Platform as a Service capabilities, CIOs are re-thinking and refocusing which items remain within their direct control and which can be pushed to the other options which are becoming available. CIOs will no longer need to expend a significant portion of their resources and energy on non-differentiating systems.
Any system that does not provide specific business advantage (e.g. HR, Finance, ERP) will shift to being commodity offerings provided by cloud-based solutions. This will allow the CIOs to focus on the items which are unique or differentiating for their business. In situations where the systems managed by the IT organisation does not provide any business differentiating capabilities, then that IT functionality is a candidate for being shifting entirely to a cloud based offering.
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