Make way for the loosely coupled business, run on loosley coupled services.
That's one of the messages coming out of Teradata's annual Partners user meeting, taking place this week in Orlando, an event attended by some of the heaviest hitters in the data management arena.
One of several compelling sessions was presented by Mohan Sawhney, professor at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, on the nature of the successful organization of the near future. Essentially, the best-run companies may not be producers themselves, but networks of producers, orchestrated by a front-end broker of services.
Sawhney quipped that some mobile phone companies provide a good example of this orchestrator role, in that "they don't do anything themselves, they just collect the money." Even Cisco comes close to this orchestrator model: "85 percent of Cisco's products are never touched by a Cisco employee," he pointed out.
Just as businesses are evolving into loosely coupled components, so to are the systems that support them. "Five years from now, the concept of an application will be obsolete," Sawhney said. "They will all be services, combined, mixed, matched and reused as needed."
Over the years, there has been a great deal of angst about the viability of the "hollow" corporation, which links processes and services to customers, but produces nothing itself. Thanks to new technologies, what was a linear supply chain is now close to being a synchronous network, affording better visibility and control over processes.