IT Differentiation

By eweek  |  Posted 2004-02-23 Print this article Print

eWEEK: A Harvard Business School report asked if IT can still help companies differentiate themselves from competitors. In the context of the consolidation of IT software and hardware vendors is that a valid issue? Phillips: Some of that article we agree with, that the infrastructure shouldnt be required at the level of investment at some companies, that there are simpler ways to do things, that complexity is generally a bad thing. In some cases the right thing is to a take a dramatic step towards simplicity and collapse consolidation and automate and try to standardize on commodity components to lower cost, to try to simplify the whole process. I think there are a lot of companies that can move to standard applications and standard platforms and not lose anything - get creative and add all of the customizations to make it look like the old systems thats in place. I think a lot of systems could be used as designs these days because theyve gotten highly functional. If all thats correct and people migrate to the commodity platforms that were suggesting, actually costs will go down, even though theyll be getting more technology and more bene-fits... more customization, less integration. So if things work as we think there probably wont be a lot of spending growth in IT but the pie will shift in terms of things people are spending and people will get a lot more bang for the buck out of their infrastructure so they can free up some dollars and focus on new things.
eWEEK: Concerning Oracles grid vision, as far as the availability, scalability, computing resources benefits, what are the priorities youre hearing most of from customers?
Phillips: They like the lower cost, the fact that grid takes advantage of these commodity platforms. But they also like the flexibility to have applications that are deployed across a grid platform and those applications can tap into any excess compute power on that grid and load balance. So youre not configuring each application with its own server its configured for the high water mark so you have all this excess capacity that you arent using. They also like the fact its pay as you go computing, you can add a small amount of resources incrementally, when you add it you get current processor technology as of the date youre adding it. Youre not buying it a year later and turning processors on over a year or two. So I think its an approach that makes imminent sense, its less capital up front, flexibility and you dont have these excess of servers that arent being useful most hours of the day. eWEEK: What are the challenges IT will face over the next year? Phillips: These things go in cycle and philosophies change. Right now people are recognizing that collapsing down and de-fragmenting data and consolidating that stuff is good. When the economy is good, the mindset is just the opposite. Time to market, centralize, when youre creating fragmented systems to aggressively go to market. Now you can get the best of both worlds. You can consolidate but still have the small systems associated with distributed systems as the base platform and get cost advantages associated with that but still manage them centrally.


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