Cloud? SOA? BPM? Call it part of the era of 'transparent computing'

"We like to self-medicate in IT. We have these chronic problems that we seem to be continuously trying to solve.

"We like to self-medicate in IT. We have these chronic problems that we seem to be continuously trying to solve. They're the same problems: getting systems to talk to each other, to extract information, and to make it all work. We try one drug after the other and they provide these short-term fixes. Then, there's the inevitable crash afterward, and we just never seem to solve the underlying problem."

- Ron Schmelzer

I recently had the opportunity to join Ron, along with Dana Gardner and his merry band of analysts, in another thought-provoking discussion -- this time, attempting to put our fingers on what, exactly, is driving the next wave in IT. (Read a full transcript of the discussion. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com.)

The IT world is rampant with themes, from cloud computing to Web 2.0 to BPM. "We all get worn out by these themes, trying to jam too much into them," Jim Kobelius pointed out. "Half the time I'm thinking we need to move to a post-theme era in IT and have a themeless architecture."

Brad Shimmins even has a name for all this. He calls the new wave "transparent computing."  He explained it this way:

"IT resources and business solutions are becoming more visible to us. We're able to better measure them. We're able to better assess their cost-to-value ratio. At the same time, the physicality of those resources and the things that we call a business are becoming much more transparent to us and much more ethereal, in terms of being sucked into Amazon EC2, for example."

Brad also adds that "application programming interfaces (APIs) have made things much more transparent than they were."

I opined that perhaps computing has become so ubiquitous that it's beyond naming, just as we no longer call this the "telephone era," or even the "Space Age."

Readers, what do you think we should call the next era? Drop a line in TalkBack and let us know what your ideas!