What is Happening? As we move through the harvest season toward the traditional North American celebration of bounty at Thanksgiving, we at Saugatuck are reflecting on the amazing growth of fruitful new ventures and opportunities in the high technology space. We marvel at the rapid evolution of social business technologies, mobile devices including smartphones and tablet computers, analytic computing with enormous volumes of business data in the Cloud, public and private Cloud infrastructure and the platforms that make it all possible. And what all of this makes possible is a new era of Cloud business solutions, global, innovative and rapidly evolving – transformed by these technologies and at the same time transforming how we do business.

Why is it Happening? This new wave of Cloud IT and Cloud Business draws its power from the computer chip and its progressive and accelerating rate of miniaturization and specialization. The Internet provides the medium in which computing innovation is nurtured, yet each of these disruptive technologies ultimately derives from the computer chip with layer upon layer of innovation compounding its value.

In “A Brief History of Time,” Stephen Hawking tells a story that has been told in one way or another for over a hundred years and maybe much longer. His version goes like this:

“A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy.
At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: ‘What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.’
The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ‘What is the tortoise standing on?’
‘You're very clever, young man, very clever,’ said the old lady. ‘But it's turtles all the way down!’”

The Cloud, as we know it, is built on a similar tower of turtles, open source and proprietary technologies that power the disruption of business as usual. Social business technologies link knowledge workers and computer-savvy users together for collaboration, creative sharing and problem solving in a medium that knows no boundaries, using mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers, as they move throughout their lives consuming and creating increasing amounts of data. That data feeds Clouds of analytic computing tools designed to digest and combine those enormous volumes of business data that may be managed on public or private Cloud infrastructure running the platforms that make it possible to produce the information that now powers today’s businesses. Thus today’s businesses are increasingly running on Clouds that are standing on turtles all the way down:

  • Social business technologies – Social business technologies are often now embedded as part the decision process in and across enterprises. What was once a set of discrete stand-alone collaborative capabilities is now woven into the very fabric of important business workflows.
  • Mobile devices including smartphones and tablet computers – Adding compute power to mobility makes decisions based on information potentially more immediate and boundless.
  • Analytic computing with enormous volumes of business data in the Cloud – What was once an unmanageable “data glut” is now an information resource of enormous value (if leveraged properly), with predictive capabilities only dreamed about less than a handful of years ago.
  • Public and private Cloud infrastructure – To rent or to buy, that is the question … and whether public or private – or more likely hybrid – there is a clear value proposition. The platforms that make it all possible – Once there was Microsoft Windows, and now there are alternatives from Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP – and many others that we don’t have room for (including a host of open source alternatives) or we have yet to learn the names of.

The combinations of these disruptive technologies may be almost limitless in driving innovative Cloud business solutions that span geographies, time zones and national boundaries. Nevertheless, in assessing the market impact of these technologies and the solutions they enable, we can make some statements about where all this is headed.

Market Impact  

What started out as a tactical move to the Cloud driven by cost-effective, stand-alone and often narrowly targeted “point” software-as-a-service (SaaS) business solutions, now spans a full ecostack of robust and strategic technologies that is rapidly redrawing enterprise architectures and strategies.

As a thank you to our readers for their support over this important Thanksgiving holiday season, find below several Strategic Planning Positions (SPPs) to help stimulate the mind and soul.

  • While there are a wide range of social business technologies that are useful to the enterprise, through 2016, imbedding collaborative decision making capabilities directly in business workflows will be among the highest value – and adopted by more than 75 percent of large enterprises.
  • By 2016, the combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and voice-driven interfaces will make thin-client mobile devices leveraging the Cloud more powerful and effective in business use than today’s PC.
  • By 2016, the use of parallelization, sophisticated simulation modeling and predictive analytics in the Cloud will make the use of high volume business data not only practical but profitable for virtually all large enterprises.
  • By 2016, the public Cloud will be sufficiently secure, robust and regulated, that it will be equivalent in appeal yet superior in economics to private Cloud.

Through 2016, a proliferation of Cloud business platforms will emerge – none of which will reach the dominance of Microsoft Windows in the client/server era – suggesting that most enterprises will create and manage their solutions in a composite architecture spanning multiple Cloud platforms.
This blog originally appeared at Saugatuck Lens360.