Enterprise IT: Here comes that deer in the headlights look again

Enterprise IT: Here comes that deer in the headlights look again

Summary: If everyone could re-imagine IT and blow up old systems to simplify and delight customers, there would be no losers in the corporate world. Good luck with that.

TOPICS: CXO, IT Priorities

Enterprise technology spending will rise 3.9 percent in 2012 and keep that rate through 2016, according to Gartner, which assumes that a recession is a foregone conclusion. Amid that budget backdrop IT departments will have to creatively blow up systems they've spent 20 years to build.

Meet your CIO and IT department. Credit: Larry Dignan

Meet your CIO and IT department. Credit: Larry Dignan

Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president of research at Gartner, laid out the research firm's views of the years to come. It's a world where chief marketing officers will have a larger IT budget than CIOs. It's a world where traditional vendors---HP, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP and Cisco---will pull end runs around the IT department to gain sales. It's also a world where enterprise architectures are useless amid mobile, social and cloud computing trends.

Welcome to the annual therapy session that is Gartner's Symposium. Every year there's some flavor of reinventing IT. "Architectures of the last 20 years will be obsolete," said Sondergaard, who urged tech execs to create "post-modern businesses."

Sondergaard sounded a good bit like NYU professor Clay Shirky, who also had an argument that consumerization was changing everything. While Gartner is urging creative destruction, I can't help but be skeptical. If everyone could re-imagine IT and blow up old systems to delight customers, there would be no losers in the corporate world. As we know, there are plenty of losers and there will be thousands of companies that flop at people-centric system design.

Among the more notable points from Sondergaard and his merry band of Gartner analysts:

  • The strategies of IBM, HP, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco---old standbys for enterprise tech buyers---should be viewed as "long-term risky," said Sondergaard. Going forward, these vendors should be judged on how they embrace mobile, social and cloud. Apple and Google will be disruptive enterprise vendors. You'll buy from all of them.

My take: If tech giants are judged on mobile, social and cloud there will be some spectacular failures. If these key vendors convince IT buyers to buy more gear in the name of private clouds they can stick around. If not, look out below.

  • CIOs will lose 25 percent of their IT spending control by 2014 to business units.

My take: This prediction is a no brainer. Salesforce.com and other SaaS vendors have traditionally sold to non-CIOs. All of the big guns see that sales trend. Expect IBM, HP, Oracle and others to sell to everyone but the CIO.

  • Cloud brokers will be necessary to integrate public cloud services. IT departments will spend more than they wanted on cloud services without brokers.

My take: Cloud brokers are a logical step. Today, public cloud services are only 3 percent of IT spending, according to Gartner. That tally will only balloon.

  • Social and enterprise systems will become intertwined. Sondergaard said social networking means there will be "mass employee involvement" with enterprise systems. "You must immediately incorporate social throughout your enterprise systems," said Sondergaard.

My take: Obviously Gartner has watched a bunch of keynotes from Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. I think CIOs get the social thing, but color me skeptical that they will all develop social enterprise systems starting next week. If anything they will buy a bunch of social malarkey from vendors they'll regret later.

  • Companies need to rethink systems for simplicity. The so-called postmodern business will develop systems that put customers first by simplifying. Less is more.

My take: Unless you blow up companies and countries and start from scratch this simplicity movement is pipe dream. There's a whole generation of enterprise IT that has been raised to complicate systems. The customization curse will live on.

Topics: CXO, IT Priorities

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  • RE: Enterprise IT: Here comes that deer in the headlights look again

    I am also sceptical that all-out social and mobile will do the trick for enterprises. While they will be defining technologies for the IT future, they will need to be integrated into a strategic process management landscape as otherwise there won't be much that keeps the business on track. I do however fully agree on the necessity of createive destruction in enterprise IT.

    More on this here: http://isismjpucher.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/from-vertical-to-horizontal-integration/
  • RE: Enterprise IT: Here comes that deer in the headlights look again

    Enterprise IT generates more arguments between IT and business than in the past. Cloud or not cloud, social or not social, neither of them will help IT to gain prominence unless you can align IT with business development.

    Before companies dive into IT re-invention, I believe they should check their IT effectiveness from perspectives of business and IT process. http://www.4tegroup.com/blog/2011/10/it-staffing/staffing-strategies/5-signs-you-should-rethink-about-your-it-effectiveness/
  • RE: Enterprise IT: Here comes that deer in the headlights look again

    So I have been in IT almost 20 years now. NOTHING moves fast. Scope creep is so common in almost every project...and it slows down stuff.

    With all of the constant change and more and more need of IT systems to process business, many things change today only when they are so old they are about to fail.

    All this talk about cloud this and cloud that, or the "consumerization of IT" is so much hype to drive new revenue streams.

    IT systems get old and will need to be replaced and some of them will be out sourced....think cloud.

    Letting users bring their PC to work to connect to your coporate network....is just plain stupid and a time bomb waiting to happen.
    • Next

      @JeveSobs I think most people in IT agree with you. I also think this mindset and approach are exactly why the business will take its business elsewhere.

      I don't need your network, I have the Internet. I don't need your apps, I found some that work better. I don't need your phone or your computer, I like mine better.

      I'm not a user, I'm a person. Last time I checked IT works for the business, not the other way around.

      IT teams able to transition from servicing servers to serving people will gain more influence in their organizations than ever before because they'll be enabling more services than ever before. The teams that don't adapt will be less relevant everyday.

      ???It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.???
      • RE: Enterprise IT: Here comes that deer in the headlights look again

        that last line is obviously a quote from Darwin ... it pulled my quotes off when I hit submit.
  • Simplicity is harder than complexity

    You have to think a lot and that hurts.

    If you ask Java or C# programmers to think they will ask you "is there a design pattern for that?"

    If you ask a manager to think they will ask "that's difficult, can't we outsource it?"