Customerization of IT is among us.

Forget about cost savings, opex vs. capex and reducing the amount of tin in your data centre.

Forget about cost savings, opex vs. capex and reducing the amount of tin in your data centre. Forget about the consumerization of IT being disruptive. The next big technology trend is among us...

Yes that's right, you heard it here folks, the next big thing in technology is not the cloud, it is not BYOD, it is not the awesome world that Corning envisage in "A day made of glass". thinker

No, it is actually a fairly simple concept and something that is coming more and more to the fore.

"Universal Interoperability"

I spent yesterday in a prospect and partner cloud awareness day hosted by Mimecast, Microsoft and Binary Tree and was part of a panel answering questions about cloud services, migration planning and the future. During a talk about the symbiotic relationship between Binary Tree, Microsoft and Mimecast, Fabrice Barbier, Partner Alliances Manager at Binary Tree, triggered an interesting thought in my head… "The future of technology vendors is not going to be based on the breadth of their products, but rather on their ability to partner and interoperate with other vendors."

As technologists, we are all probably already aware at some level that this is going to be the case, but I don't see anyone really preparing for it. Cloud vendors are writing API's so that other people can connect to their services in the way that they want them to while traditional software vendors are doing the same. This is a very “me” centric approach to the world that is not going to fly for very much longer.

Much like consumerization of IT is making CIO's rethink their internal service and security models, the "Customerization of IT" (do you like my new term? :) ) is going to force software and service vendors to work in ways they have hitherto avoided at all costs.

So what exactly is “Customerization of IT”?

It is something that will occur once customers have come to the understanding that it is not who delivers or where a service is delivered from that makes it acceptable to use, but the value that it adds to the users who have to use it.

Once customers become comfortable with using cloud-based services, to the same degree that many have become accustomed to using managed data centres, co-location services or managed services, they will start to focus on the business process more and less on the technology.

What this in turn will do is enable a new generation of service acquisition that is based on solving core business process requirements coupled with a disposable service attitude.

Customers will buy services that solve a particular need and will drop that service when they find a better way to do things elsewhere.

This is already being played out to a large degree in the consumer side of things and that attitude will become more prevalent at an organizational level as cloud vendor services mature and their breadth of offering increases.

Traditionally cloud vendors have delivered fairly niche feature services because of their relative immaturity and speed to market while traditional enterprise software vendors have been recognized as being more mature with customers not really wanting to pay for feature bloat that comes with maturity.

Customers are going to buy what they need from vendors indiscriminately, on-prem or cloud, and they are going to expect to have a minimum level of interoperability between their services.

Where one vendor leaves gaps, another vendor will be asked to fill those and they will be expected to be able to work together. If they can’t, customers will look for more complete solutions elsewhere. They will either look to replace either of the services they were using, or both.

This fluidity of service acquisition will also be further complicated by different groups within organizations having requirements that are best met by different tools with different interoperability requirements.

Remember, the important thing to remember here is NOT THAT CIO’s HAVE TO MANAGE THIS COMPLEXITY, but rather that vendors will have to make this all seem truly simple.

I mean let’s face it, we are already a long way down the path of telling CIO’s, IT Managers, Financial Managers and even consumers that the cloud is a trustworthy place that reduces complexity where services can be consumed as utilities.

We, the cloud vendors, have created this self-fulfilling prophecy and now we need to make sure that we can deliver on the expectations we have been shaping in the minds of those we talk to.

Please let me know what you think of this, I would like to engage and explore this thought further.

Remember – you heard it here first!

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