The IT asset pool of the typical enterprise was built up one system at a time.
It’s generally application-centric, not service-centric.
The infrastructure that was used to support is is likewise composed of monolithic blocks.
We’ve changed mainframes for servers for virtualized servers, and we’ve changed terminals for PCs, but “one size still fits all”.
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement — and its corresponding use of public assets as services — suggests an architectural moment of destiny.
Stop thinking packages. Think only of services.
Stop thinking monolithic delivery systems. Think only of how to get the service running.
With that kind of thinking, how would you renovate your asset portfolio?
What would the roadmap be to being the supplier of information anywhere, anytime, anyway you can get it?
In the early days, a lot of this will probably be done with remote logins, remote desktops and the like.
Then apps may front end the back end for a while. Dynamic dashboards might expose information stores.
There’d be a sense that the enterprise is “coming together”. It’s no longer this system over here and that system over there and communications separate from all of them.
They start to blend — and without having to put all your eggs in one vendor’s basket.
Sure, this is a decade-long change. You’ve got depreciation to work off, mods in packages to undo, conversion efforts galore.
There’s all sorts of practices in the enterprise to change, too. Business areas won’t “own” applications any longer. They won’t control upgrade cycles the way they do now.
So you’ll have governance practices to build that run investments for the good of the whole but transparently and openly.
Along the way, Information Technology starts to put more and more emphasis on the first word — Information. Making it available, organized, easy to use, useful in everyday work.
The back end will be a mashup of “x as a service”, platforms, bridging code, some packages (although you may choose only to use some pieces from them and ignore the rest of their functionality), all kept current and integrated.
Up front, this presents itself in a sea of access apps on devices. For people with routine desk jobs, those devices may still be PCs. For most of the rest, they’ll be fit for purpose — and often duplicated (my phone will do what my pad will do what my ultralight laptop will do). “Use what makes sense now.”
There’s a lot of potential in this for IT. A lot of fear, too.
Still, doesn’t your organization deserve the best from this brave new world?